This one never really got a look-in outside the arthouse world, partly because it’s mostly in Hebrew, and partly because – like Buried – it spends its entire screentime trapped inside an enclosed space, in this case, a tank. The word ‘claustrophobic’ doesn’t do it justice.
9. Another Year
Nestled amongst the whizz-bang releases of Hollywood was the latest from Brit legend Mike Leigh, doing what he really does do best – make an honest film about ordinary people in which not a great deal of drama or conflict takes place, but you leave the cinema feeling like you have seem something true and real.
8. A Prophet
A taut French thriller in the greatest tradition, A Prophet is terrifically well put-together drama, portraying prison thugs with confidence, ease, and often excruciating detail. A gripping and convincing portrait of a complex criminal underworld.
7. Four Lions
Chris Morris is simultaneously loved by fans of British comedy and reviled by the tabloids, who once heralded him “Britain’s most hated man”. Never one to shirk controversy, his first film is a comedy about suicide bombing, which balances masterfully between sweet, charming humour and brutal, disturbing satire.
A flop which should have been a hit, Kick-Ass was never going to win the love of the mainstream with a thirteen-year-old girl violently murdering criminals she calls “cunts”. But this detail overshadows what is easily the best non-Canadian comicbook movie of the year. The sequel will be a treat.
5. Exit Through The Gift Shop
Banksy’s debut film never got a wide release, but it’s worth a look. It manages to be a fascinating mini-history of street art, and a devastating portrait of a bizarre, eccentric Frenchman who fancies himself as the next Andy Warhol. Just don’t ask if it’s fake or not.
5. Toy Story 3
The world waits for when Pixar will make a bad film, but it hasn’t happened yet. Toy Story 3 is the eleventh critical and commercial success in a row (out of eleven), and this was their biggest one yet, with over a billion at the box office. It’s also one of their best, and a fitting end to an extraordinary trilogy.
4. The Social Network
A one-two punch success in David Fincher’s directing and Aaron Sorkin’s writing, this was a perfect formula, and it delivered. Even though it documented recent, well known history, it still managed to be surprising, fascinating and gripping.
Never quite achieving the mainstream success it could have had, perhaps because the studio didn’t know how the hell to market it – a guy is stuck in a box for an hour and a half? And that’s thrilling, is it? – but Buried managed to be more thrilling than most ‘thrillers’ released this year, thanks to its perfect combo of a great script, a great director, and a great leading man in the form of Ryan Reynolds, who gives the performance of his life.
2. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
When the teaser trailer for Edgar Wright’s third film hit the interwebs, a black hole of hype threatened to envelop the comic adaptation. And, like Kick-Ass before it, the hype did not translate into a box-office success. This is unfortunate and hopefully will not preclude the cult status this film deserves, for this is a dazzling, inventive, barmy wild ride of a movie, a lesson in caffeine-fuelled pace and energy, and an impressive showcase for Wright’s directorial box of tricks. Like most films on this list, best seen on a big screen, too.
It hardly need to be explained to you why Christopher Nolan’s epic, intelligent blockbuster has made it to the top of this list. You need only look at the myriad of other top 10 lists who have prominently featured it to get a sense of the extraordinary impact it has left on cinema in 2010. In fact, you needn’t look any further than this very website, which has championed the film from the start, and quite accurately named it Nolan’s “magnum opus” in our review. So there is no need to explain why Inception is the film of 2010 – either you know this for yourself, or you’ve yet to see it.