2010 in Movies: In Detail

The following is an indepth look at some of my favourite movies from 2010. If you want an overview of all my highest rated movies, check out my Best of 2010 listing.

Inception has to be my favourite movie of the year. Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending multi-layered thought-provoking summer blockbuster-esque action science-fiction espionage thriller. Lead by superstar Leonardo DiCaprio the ensemble cast featuring the beautiful and talented actresses Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page and favourites Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine.

This big-budget movie dared to ask audiences to think and engage with the concept, a risky gamble, especially during the summer blockbuster popcorn season and Nolan pulled it off. The high-concept ideas and the multifaceted story-within-a-story screenplay is so expertly produced that this potentially difficult movie is just the opposite, it is easy to understand, watch, enjoy and discuss. It has a perfect rhythm, starting with a simple but effective setup, to each layer of the movie, expertly paced and punctuated by amazingly choreographed action sequences. Christopher Nolan is my favourite director and this movie encompasses all the reasons why.

If you want more of my thoughts on the director, please read my first entry in my director series and find out why he is a director you should be aware of and follow closely.

Shutter Island is the latest movie by the masterful US director Martin Scorsese. An incredibly atmospheric and haunting movie where nothing is as it seems. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal who is investigating the escape and disappearance of a person from a hospital for the criminally insane on the notoriously bleak and isolated Shutter Island.

The first thing that hits you about this movie is the music, the arrival of the law enforcement agents to the island is both bold and disconcerting and sets a perfect tone for the movie. The second thing is how beautiful the cinematography is, absolutely stunning. Combine the haunting audio and the atmospheric visuals with an equally well acted and unforgettably screenplay and you’re left with a must-watch thriller.

The Social Network is a movie which defines a generation — the Internet generation. Not many people were interested in a movie depicting the creation of the social-network phenomenon Facebook, but with David Fincher at the helm and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay, it has become the most talked about and highly reviewed movie of the year – a shoo-in for many during this years awards season. Being a web developer I was intrigued with the story and like many I was unaware of many details the movie tells us about Facebook’s creators.

As I explain in my feature about the director, this movie further cements David Fincher is a fantastic director and one of the leading filmmakers of today's generation.

The Town is Ben Affleck’s second movie as director, following from my favourite movie of 2008; Gone Baby Gone. A superb heist movie which has a perfect balance of style and realism, action set pieces and character development, similar to the classic 90s crime epic Heat. Focusing on career criminals and life-long friend played by Jeremy Renner and Ben Affleck tempers are frayed and relationships made when one of the criminals falls in love with a hostage. The final set piece – a heist at Fenway Park, Boston’s famous baseball stadium – is a high-tension affair until the explosive conclusion.

Up in the Air starring George Clooney and directed by Jason Reitman is a pertinent movie about the harsh reality of modern times in a recession. The movie follows a man whose job is to “downsize” companies – firing people he has no connection with – as he travels the States living out of a suitcase. That is until he is lumbered with an enthusiastic young women – the complete opposite to him – whom he must show the ropes all while he nurtures a new and exciting relationship with a woman. Up in the Air is an extraordinarily understated movie and the pay off is in the acting, the characters, their relationships, their failures and their goals in life.

This is an entry in a series documenting my review of movies in 2010.