December 2, 2010

MRQE's 10 Best of 2010: The Best Thrillers of the Year

It was a good year for the genre, with audiences and critics alike eating up thriller after thriller at the box office. Whether a big budget heavy hitter or a small indie flick, each entry on this list provides an intense and heart-pounding cinematic experience.

Shutter Island
MRQE Metric: 70
This twisty psychological whodunit is yet another team-up between Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, the film follows DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal sent to the mysterious Shutter Island asylum to investigate the seemingly inexplicable disappearance of a notorious patient. Naturally, all is not what it seems, and DiCaprio is quickly thrust into a maze of lies, shifting allegiances, and deeply buried secrets. You'll either love or hate the twist ending, but at least it makes thematic sense. With Scorcese behind the wheel and DiCaprio turning in a solid performance in front of the camera, the result is solid and captivating.


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


Never Let Me Go
MRQE Metric: 71
This beautiful and leisurely adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's recent work is a sideways look at a brave new world. At first glance, Hailsham appears to be a typical English children's academy, complete with adorable British youngsters. Of course, they turn out to be gathered there for a far more sinister purpose – to elaborate more would be to give the game away. The film follows three Hailsham students from childhood into young adulthood as they forge friendships, romances, and conflicts. Bright young things Carey Mulligan, Spiderman to be Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightly portray the three students, who become increasingly desperate to escape their inevitable destinies. Bring some tissues to this one: the last act is a tearjerker.


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


The Town
MRQE Metric: 74
Directed, co-written and starring Ben Affleck, The Town provides a look (albeit a tad sensationalized) at Boston's crime scene. Affleck, of course, has the meatiest role as a career bank robber who starts to want to leave the life after taking a beautiful hostage (Rebecca Hall). Going legit isn't that easy, of course, and he encounters resistance both from his robber buddies and the FBI agents (including Mad Men's Jon Hamm) hot on his trail. Not the most original story, to be sure, but The Town nails it out of the park.


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


Buried
MRQE Metric: 76
This Sundance darling has one of the most unique premises of the year: Ryan Reynolds in a coffin, with no idea of how he got there and no idea of how to escape. A claustrophobic nightmare, to be sure, and Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes wrings every available bit of tension out of the situation until the tension is nearly palpable to the viewer. Reynolds gives a bravura performance, and a good thing, too, as we're stuck down there with him in an unrelenting, real-time experience.


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


The Ghost Writer
MRQE Metric: 77
Ewan McGregor helms an all star cast in the film that many called a return to form for director Roman Polanski. McGregor plays an accomplished ghost-writer hired to cover the memoirs of a charismatic but scandal-ridden former prime minister (played to the Tony Blair hilt by Pierce Brosnan). Unsurprisingly, the skeletons in the closet (secrets and dead bodies alike), begin to pile up, to the point where the in-too-deep McGregor can't leave, no matter how much he tries. This moody piece plays out like a 1970's paranoia throwback, providing tons of atmosphere (and a pretty predictable plot).

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


Animal Kingdom
MRQE Metric: 78
This stark Australian gem is the least well known of the films on this list. Darkly comic and chock full of unforgettable characters, Animal Kingdom is a stark look at the Melbourne underworld. After his mother's overdose death, the teenage J is sent to live with his seedy relations and is swiftly plunged into a world where crime rules. Helmed by J's Machiavellian grandmother, the family is craven, corrupt and violent, willing to commit atrocities in order to stay on top. The inept and brutal police, fronted by Guy Pearce, are just as awful. Revenge and recriminations pile up until they're almost unbearable, but the film is too captivating to let you look away. Be prepared for a bumpy ride and no happy endings with this one.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


Winter's Bone
MRQE Metric: 82
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance, Winter's Bone is an indie gem from writer and director Debra Granik. Set in the poverty-stricken Ozarks, the film follows Ree, a teenager who is forced to hold her dysfunctional family together. Her no good deadbeat father has disappeared, leaving the family home in jeopardy: he's put the land up as bond, and if he can't be found, the property reverts to the government. Ree's struggle to find her father sets her up against her friends and neighbors, desolate characters stranded in a desolate landscape. Granik's direction is relentless and without hope, and the result is a stunning look at a part of America that's inconceivable to outsiders.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


Inception
MRQE Metric: 82
Summer's box office juggernaut has earned its place in the top two. Awash with dazzling setpieces and a convoluted heist storyline, Inception is easily one of the top films of the year, whatever the genre. This is Leonardo DiCaprio's second appearance on this list, proving himself to be one of Hollywood's biggest names when it comes to quality pictures. The question isn't whether or not Christopher Nolan and company will win come awards season as much as exactly how big their win will be. I'd bet the house on Inception cleaning up at the Oscars.


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


Black Swan
MRQE Metric: 83
This one just hit the theaters and it's already garnering rave reviews from its tour of the major film festivals. The latest from visionary Darren Aronofsky takes a look at the highly competitive world of ballet through the eyes of Nina (Natalie Portman), an aspiring star. When Nina is given the opportunity of a star turn in the troupe's latest production, the arrival of an alluring and vivacious rival provokes a conflict that's just as psychological as physical. Black Swan opens in limited release this Friday, and I for one will be there with bells on.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


127 Hours
MRQE Metric: 83
Based on a heartstopping true story, 127 Hours is a tour de force for indie darling (and part-time student in approximately every university in the NYC area) James Franco. Franco's performance as Aron Ralston, an adventurer who became trapped in a Utah mountain range, has been garnering some serious Oscar buzz, and while 127 Hours features copious flashbacks, the film lies largely on his shoulders. Danny Boyle, fresh off his Slumdog Millionaire success, lends his massive talent to the proceedings. The infamous amputation scene, which has been sparking audience faintings across the country, was shot with multiple cameras in one take – quite an achievement.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com


For more thrills and chills, check out our list of the 50 Best Thrillers of the 2000's!




3 comments:

  1. Firstly congrats for coming up with such a excellent write up. Secondly, I appreciate your list movies and among them I liked Shutter Island and Inception the most probably they shook me hard with their gravity of thought jerking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Firstly congrats for coming up with such a excellent write up. Secondly, I appreciate your list movies and among them I liked Shutter Island and Inception the most probably they shook me hard with their gravity of thought jerking.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I appreciate your list  all movies here...ilove this video lapband los angeles

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