Friday, 25 May 2012

Cannes 2012 - The Best of the Fest

With the festival drawing to a close and weather scenes like this becoming rather tedious, I thought I'd take the time to enlighten you all on the best films from Cannes so you'll all know what movies to rush out and see upon general release. There's still a few things to see including Jeff Nichols' Mud and the remake of Maniac starring an overly bug-eyed Frodo Baggins but I think the big wave of greatness has already surged so here's the list...

(dir: David Cronenberg - Canada/USA - 108 mins)

Cronenberg's latest is a wonderfully demented and often distressingly concerning glance at our obsessive, self-indulgent society even in a world stricken by financial crisis. Robert Pattinson gives a career-defining performance as Eric Packer - a twenty-something billionaire whose lust for furthering life is ultimately his downfall. This is an extraordinary, towering cinematic installation that requires and deserves repeat viewings. It completely knocked me out.

(dir: Michael Haneke - France - 127 mins)

Austrian auteur Haneke brings his most humane work to date to Cannes yet it's still earth-shatteringly powerful and heart-wrenching with it's delicacy and poignancy. Amour tells of an elderly couple living the last of their lives together in their Parisian apartment but when Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a stroke paralysing one entire side of her body, the strength of their eternal love is tested by time and ill-fate. This is a harrowing, poetic and unimaginably beautiful work and it's amongst Haneke's best. It's the strongest film of the festival overall and a piece of cinematic art forever to be cherished.

The Angels' Share
(dir: Ken Loach - UK - 106 mins)

Loach's latest is a humble, tender and monstrously hilarious tale of redemption, friendship and whiskey. The Angels' Share sees Loach remove his social realist sting and work in a charming and glorious comedic heart in it's place. It's fantastically performed, incredibly moving and most importantly, life-affirming.

The Hunt
(dir: Thomas Vinterberg - Denmark - 111 mins)

Danish maestro Vinterberg's Cannes entry is a deeply compelling, frustrating and uncompromising drama about a kindergarten teacher being falsely accused of paedophilia. Sublimely performed by Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt is a searing, nerve-shredding and complex picture which opens doors for debate here, there and everywhere but ultimately, this is unforgettable, sensational filmmaking.

Holy Motors
(dir: Leos Carax - France - 115 mins)

With it's endless imagination, unparalleled intrigue and wonder, Holy Motors is Cannes' wildcard - Carax's new picture is absolutely insane yet constantly engaging and always exciting. This dream-like episodic work sees Denis Lavant play in excess of 6 different alter-egos of his character including a knife-wielding assassin and even a elderly woman. It's original, it's magnetic and it's crazy enough to win the Palme d'Or here at the festival.   

Rust and Bone
(dir: Jacques Audiard - France - 120 mins)

Sweepingly romantic, relentlessly touching and often heart-stamping with it's tough, dominating core, Audiard's latest is a tyrant of emotion, beauty and visceral power. Rust and Bone straddles tragedy, elegance and destiny into such a neat, rounded package, it almost seems too good to be true. Marion Cotillard provides a fearless, multi-layered performance and Audiard's visuals are simply breathtaking. This is a staggering work of filmic poetry.

Moonrise Kingdom
(dir: Wes Anderson - USA - 93 mins)

Theatrically released today nationwide, Moonrise Kingdom is a heart-warming, endlessly quirky and frequently funny love story that binds together a wonderfully dense character-driven narrative and an array of fine acting talent. Anderson provides his best work here for some time with smart, calculated direction, a beautiful colour pallet and hypnotic visual symmetry. It's an absolute blast.

(dir: John Hillcoat - USA/Australia - 115 mins)

Hillcoat's new one is a raggedy, spit 'n' sawdust period crime thriller that blends beautiful visuals, top-notch performances and a fantastic screenplay to create a far better-than-average American gangster saga. Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Guy Pearce all give marvellous screen-turns in this action-packed, blood-soaked adventure through the world of Depression-era Franklin. This is proper American filmmaking.

So there you have it. Now remember to go and see all these films as soon as they arrive. You should already be at Moonrise Kingdom....

Worst films of Cannes coming soon too so keep 'em peeled.

You can find all my Cannes reviews in full over at Filmoria along with loads of other great content from loads of my critic buddies.

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