Best of 2009


This is a list of the 33 (why not?) best films released in the United Kingdom between January 1st 2009 and December 31st 2009. This list is not opinion. This list is fact.

1

MILK
Gus Van Sant on top form + Sean Penn in full effect + A gallery of brilliant supporting roles – Any flaws whatsoever = Easily the best film of 2009.

2

SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK
It may have been business as usual for ‘the singular mind’ of Charlie Kaufman, but his directorial debut was most fierce and uncontrollable work yet.

3

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Essentially Forrest Gump in reverse, TCCOBB told an epic story on an intimate scale and effortlessly made all but the chronically cynical break down in tears.

4

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
It’s not enough to say that it’s his third best film, you have to stress that it’s almost as good as the first two rather than almost as bad as all the others.

5

THE WHITE RIBBON
Whether you’re a Michael Faneke or not, you have to admire this two-and-a-half-hour German-language epic of extraordinary subtlety and artistic poncing.

6

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
A who’s who of hipster royalty take a ten-sentence childrens classic and turn it into the poignant-est kids film this side of Pixar.

7

STAR TREK
JJ Abrams became the king of Hollywood. Chris Pine became a bankable leading man. And Spock became a bad motherfucker. It was logical.

8

UP
Every time you think Pixar are about to fuck it up, they pull another winner out of the figurative bag. Elegant, beautiful and deeply subversive. A++++++

9

ADVENTURELAND
A teen movie so funny, affecting and profound that it makes you wonder what kind of soulless nutjob is getting anything emotionally valid from New Moon.

10

A SERIOUS MAN
The Coen Brothers make their most thoughtful, artistic film to date and everybody else makes a big old fuss about how brilliant it is. And it really is.

11

DISTRICT 9
Ridiculously effective on so many different levels that it’s hard not to exaggerate about it. And the documentary bits make Redacted look like Cloverfield.

12

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
Brilliantly simple, hauntingly realistic and scary as anyfuckingthinggoing, it’s the first horror film in years that deserves to be anywhere near a Top 10 list.

13

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Anne Hathaway makes up for her part in Bride Wars (nothing could make up for the film itself) in this meditative artyparty from Sir Jonathan Demme.

14

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Scary child horror from a country that isn’t America or even Britain. A bit like Orphan but not a horribly cliched pile of shit produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

15

THE CLASS
It’s hard to remember why this low-budget semi-documentary French film about inner city schools was better than Watchmen or Harry Potter. But it was.

16

DRAG ME TO HELL
Raimi leaves behind the doomed Spidey franchise and picks up where he left off with more totes dutty horror fun. Evil Dead II with 10 times the budget.

17

THE INFORMANT!
Catapulted into brilliance by the genius of THE DAMON, Steven Soderbergh’s new one is his most solidly entertaining since Ocean’s Eleven.

18

MOON
Not perfect but beautifully understated. Like the first half hour of Alien, but stretched out to a full length movie. So you never get to the chest bursting scene.

19

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Leo got a bit chubs and Kate’s skin had never looked so furry, but this was everything I expected and more. In a good way. Well done Mendes.

20

FISH TANK
Perfect example of the oxymoron that is ‘Good British Film’. The cast are spot on, the direction is spot on, and it couldn’t look much better if it tried.

21

OBSERVE AND REPORT
Weird and wonderful in a way that was only 50% self-conscious and pretentious. The other 50% was genuinely beautiful. And I mean that.

22

THE WRESTLER
Subtler and in some ways more powerful that Requiem for a Dream. It’s what you might call ‘a character piece’. If you were a wanky prick.

23

WATCHMEN
The end wasn’t really as crap as everyone said, and all the stuff before it was Class A film fun. Especially the violence. 10/10 for violence.

24

HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
The first undeniably good Harry Potter film. Infinitely better than the first five. Unless I’m not remembering them properly. I’ll have to re-watch them I reckon.

25

FANTASTIC MR. FOX
This was just a nice surprise. You have to admit that despite its credentials, it didn’t look great from the trailer. Smooth stuff, with tipple topple voice work.

26

FUNNY PEOPLE
Japatow’s least funny and yet most satisfying movie yet. But to be honest, it’s up on this list because of Eric Bana. The man is a genius.

27

BRÜNO
The sort of film that will almost certainly get worse with each successive viewing. Still, at the time, I’d never laughed more in my life.

28

WENDY & LUCY
Michelle Williams is one of my favourite actresses at the moment. And that moment has lasted for about six months. This is her masterpiece.

29

THE HURT LOCKER
Mad hot shit compared to your average Iraq War Film. If it wasn’t for the last half hour being slightly rubs, this would be rocking with the top ten.

30

THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE
Soderbergh hops back into experimental mode and bangs out a 77 minute plotless indie film about a high-class escort. Sasha Grey turned out to be quite good.

31

ANTICHRIST
Aaaaaarrrgghhh arrrrrrrrrgghhhhhhh ararararrrrgggggh arrrrrrrrgggggggghhhh aaaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhh aarrrrggghh arrrrggghh.

32

SUGAR
I saw this in October of 2008. You’re having a laugh if you think I can remember why I liked it so much. So much that I put it higher up than State of Play.

33

STATE OF PLAY
It’s amazing how well they condensed the six hour original into such a good, taut, two hour thriller. Even with all the new shit about blogs.

If this is all feeling a bit too ‘last year’, why not check out our 2010 list?