The Best Films of 2013. Maybe.

by yemenity2010

As usual there are far too many, probably excellent or at least really good movies I haven’t had the opportunity to see this past year, along with all the ones I also probably shouldn’t grieve over having missed. But… ”Gravity”. Judging from the circumstances; director Alfonso Cuarón and its stars, and of course, all the enthusiastic, glowing reviews it could very well be the movie of the year. 2013, that is. I simply haven’t gotten around to seeing it. Yet.

As it is, and after careful scrutiny I’ve decided to highlight five other films, although the order in which they ended up on the list has gone through some changes back and forth until I settled on this current ranking:

(Note: these are films that opened in my home country Sweden last year, and some of them were released before that in the US for example)

1. ”Cloud Atlas” (directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski)
A handful of parallel stories linked together loosely in a way that’s exciting, original and stimulates the imagination like few other recent films I’ve come across.

2. ”Zero Dark Thirty” (Kathryn Bigelow)
Controversial and sometimes tough to sit through, based on reality (although exactly how much so, is up for debate) and really arresting retelling of the hunt for Osama bin Ladin, even though the outcome is already known.

3. ”Captain Phillips” (Paul Greengrass)
Stylistically hyperreal recount of a hijacking on a ship in the world’s maybe most dangerous waters between East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

4. ”12 Years a Slave” (Steve McQueen)
Restrained but still raw and powerful story, manages to add something new to the history of films and other accounts of slavery in North America (and world history in general).

5. ”The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (Mira Nair)
Who is he? What does he want? Does he even know that himself? We meet a man not sure of where he really belongs and whose choices and actions reflect this ambivalence. And is he truly dangerous or just understandably frustrated with the state of the world? See for yourself and find out.

Close: Melancholy vampire drama ”Byzantium”, partially apocalyptic low budget production ”Beasts of the Southern Wild” and the latest musical version of ”Les Misérables”.

Extra honorary mentions for two movies where you have to admire the fact they were even made, but also because of their insights into cultures rarely captured so closely on film: ”Wadjda”, made in Saudi Arabia by a female director and starring a young girl protagonist trying to fulfill her dream of getting her own bicycle. Finally, ”No Burqas Behind Bars” – a documentary about women in an Afghan prison. How come they ended up there? And why does it sometimes seem like life inside of these walls allows more freedom than life outside?

A Swedish version of this article has been published at russin.