Mar 17, 2012

Visionaries: 2011's Best in Writing and Directing


6. We Need to Talk About Kevin

by Lynne Ramsey and Rory Stewart Kinnear based on the novel of the same name by Lionel Shriver

5. Young Adult

written by Diablo Cody

4. Moneyball

written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian based on the novel Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis


written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou

2. Oslo, August 31st

written by Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt based on the novel Le feu follet by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle

1. A Separation
written by Asghar Farhadi

The writers of Kevin did the undoable by completely reshaping the tone and structure of such an unadaptable book to create a visual narrative. In Young Adult, Cody gave us a refreshingly uncompromising character with no redemptive qualities and left us with memorable quotables like psychotic prom queen bitch. In Moneyball, Zailian and Sorkin added emotional depth and charm to the layered texture of their sport story and gave us an abundance of terrific lines like fifty feet of crap. ALPS is another uniquely humorous and conceptually original entry in Lanthimos’s resume and doesn’t shy away from examining our deepest fears. Oslo, August 31st treated its hopeless protagonist with grace and told a universal story with such spatial and temporal specificity. Finally, A Separation has a focused but multi-faceted narrative that illuminates the social constructs of Iran with utmost subtlety. It also features an ensemble of characters that deserve their own full feature. Wouldn’t one about the judge be most interesting?


Honourable Mentions
Terrence Malick (Tree of Life), Andrew Haigh (Weekend), Pedro Almodovar (The Skin I Live in)

6. Sleeping Beauty

directed by Julia Leigh

5. Melancholia

directed by Lars von Trier


directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

3. A Separation

directed by Asghar Farhadi

2. Martha Marcy May Marlene

directed by Sean Durkin

1. Drive

directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

In Sleeping Beauty, Leigh shows an impeccable understanding of colours and spaces and creates tension by manipulating her elaborate mise-en-scene. Lars von Trier universalizes his internal feelings, and brings together the grandiosity of earth’s destruction and the intimacy of a wedding in his allegorical take on depression in Melancholia. Lanthimos’s formal control and confidence in ALPS reaffirm his position as an auteur with a visually distinctive voice. In A Separation, Farhadi shows once more that he is one of the world’s most capable hands in directing ensembles. That in the maze-like structure of his film, the pacing never falters is a miracle. In Martha Marcy May Marlene, there were no signs of naiveté as newcomer Sean Durkin held on tight to his careful framings and seamless transitions between past and present, and dream and reality to keep us on the edge of our seats. Finally, Nicolas Winding Refn’s pulpy, tacky, hot pink ode to Los Angeles and the cinema of the 80s in Drive has to top the list because as I wrote in my original review, the film has his fingerprints on every frame. And what a stylish film this is to have your mark on!

Previously on Best of 2011


  1. A Separation, just beautiful perfection.

    (And nice to see you take note of Leigh's attention to detail especially in regards to colour. Her sense of style is promising.)

  2. Like a mother of colour reacting to her vandalised white couch, I hate fingerprints. I do, however, love Sean Durkin and Asghar Farhadi and if I get rich enough, I'd go through oceans seeing what the latter can do on a stage.