Review of 2012: Film - Features - Films - The Independent

Review of 2012: Film

 

 

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Nuri Bilge Ceylan's enigmatic crime procedural takes its time revealing not much about the crime, but a great deal about male loneliness and regret. This long night's journey into day ends on a note of ambiguity that resonates deep in your bones – indeed, so subtly does Ceylan work his effects, that only on my way home did I realise I'd been watching a masterpiece.

Nostalgia for the Light

History, elegy, essay, indictment, Patricio Guzmán's astonishing documentary encompasses all of them. Chile's Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth and a magnet for astronomers because of its transparent air. It's also the site of Pinochet's killing fields, the burial ground of thousands of dissenters who vanished under his regime. Now relatives scour it for traces of loved ones.

Barbara

Nina Hoss, reuniting with director Christian Petzold (Yella), is quite brilliant as the disgraced doctor under surveillance in the provincial GDR of 1980. Cold-eyed and distant, Hoss doesn't make a naturally sympathetic heroine, but her resourcefulness under pressure comes to matter in a tense, taut drama with some crafty wit up its sleeve.

The Pool

It took five years for Chris Smith's slight but stirring feature to get a release here, but thank God it eventually did. The story of a country-born lad who skivvies at a Panjim hotel but dreams of the big city, it transcends coming-of-age conventions through a quartet of lovely performances – and through Smith's eye for the flaking grandeur of old India.

Argo

The American film I most enjoyed this year. This tale of a scheme to extricate six American fugitives from the cauldron of Tehran, 1979, by disguising them as film-makers, is so preposterous you know it must be true, whatever embellishments the film adds. Ben Affleck makes his third decent film in a row, and plays the starring role of the CIA rescuer with commendable restraint. Hooray for Hollywood – and, er, Langley.

Discovery of the year: Great Expectations

Great Expectations got a rough ride in general from the reviews, the strange omission in particular being the outstanding performance of young Toby Irvine as Pip. So much of the book's meaning has to be inscribed upon Pip's face - terror, of course, and pity, and as much confusion, regret and longing as one adolescent boy could ever experience. Toby Irvine caught all of this, yet still retained an entirely credible innocence.

Turkey of the year: The Knot

More of a crime scene than a movie, this was Noel Clarke's attempt to piggyback the current comedy-gold standards of The Hangover and Bridesmaids. Sadly it packed in all the crude stuff about stag'n'hen night misdemeanours but failed utterly to translate either's charm or invention.

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Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

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While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

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Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

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Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

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Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

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Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

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Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

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Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

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Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

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Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

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U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

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Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

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Top hat: Pharrell Williams

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Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

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David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

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Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

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Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

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Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

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Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

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To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
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Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

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Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

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Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

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Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

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