10. The Mill and the Cross
9. Margin Call
Hanna is a visually arresting fairy-tale about a young girl who lives alone in the woods with her father. She's been trained her whole life to be a ruthlessly efficient killing machine for reasons she doesn't yet fully understand. Then, one day, when her training is complete, she's released into the world, tasked with hunting down CIA agent Marissa Wiegler. Truthfully, the story here is hardly the important thing as this film's strongest aspect is Joe Wright's engaging visual style and perfect sense of pacing. Also the electronic score by The Chemical Brothers has to be among the best of this millennium. Listen to my favorite track here. Great performances by the three principals bury the lead for this counting among my favorites of the year.
5. The Kid with a Bike
Stunt-driver by day, getaway driver by night, Ryan Gosling's stoic and soft-spoken driver is reminiscent of the great action heroes of years past. Drive is a flawlessly constructed exercise in style over substance, and when the style is this good (thanks to the meticulous direction of Nicholas Winding Refn) there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Drive is the story of a man, previously beholden to nothing but his simple set of values, who, upon meeting a young woman and her son, finds himself willing to fight for something more. A great, 80s inspired soundtrack impeccably synthesizes the movie's smooth tone, which lifts this construction to something akin to the finest artwork. Indeed, each shot feels like it could be framed and hung in an gallery.
1. The Skin I Live In
Honorable Mentions: Bridesmaids, The Devil's Double, The Guard, Jane Eyre, Moneyball, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Source Code, Take Shelter, The Trip, We Need to Talk About Kevin,
Alright, that's my list and I'm sticking too it... at least until I see something better.