This plantation covers many hundreds of acres, and you will traverse the Texas road between the forest site and the sawmill in double time. On one side men and bloodhounds patrol the border and on the other the bayou provides a hard living, with alligators and little to eat or drink that won’t kill you. No slave has escaped here with his life.
Here at OCD, we like to do things slightly differently, like wait until the end of January to publish our ‘Best of 2013’ list.
So here are the top ten films we saw last year, we cannot recommend every single one enough:
1. Blue is the Warmest Colour (La Vie D'Adele)
Winner of the Palme d'Or, Abdellatif Kechiche’s masterpiece, starring Adele Exarchopoulos & Lea Seydoux, is one of the best films I have seen in my entire life, let alone in the last year. Beautifully shot, mind-blowing and heart-wrenching performances. Simply stunning, a cinematic masterpiece. How storytelling should always be done. Watch out particularly for the bar scene at the beginning (above) and the cafe scene at the end, the most moving and truthful character and relationship development you’ll ever see.
2. Short Term 12
Adapted into a feature by Destin Cretton from his own short film of 2008, Short Term 12 is nuanced, delicate storytelling with a powerful message at its heart. Brie Larson shines as Grace, a supervisor at a residential treatment facility taking care of everyone but herself. The young cast provide brilliant support, particularly Keith Stanfield and Kaitlyn Dever as Marcus and Jayden, the rap sequence and shark story will steal your hearts.
3. 12 Years A Slave
Steve McQueen. Chiwetel Ejiofor. Michael Fassbender. Lupita Nyong'o. A true story so important and so moving, it’s difficult to understand why it isn’t widely known.
4. Side Effects
Very rarely am I tricked when watching a film. Soderbergh managed it here, and I loved every second of it. Mara steals the show as the troubled Emily, with great turns from Law & Zeta-Jones as two of the Doctors who treat her. A carefully crafted plot, allowed to play out beautifully by Soderbergh, in what was - at the time - to be his final film.
Watch it. Then make everyone you know watch it. You won’t believe it until you see it, then you’ll start to question a whole lot of things. Heart-breaking, anger-inducing. FUCK SEAWORLD.
7. In A World…
Winner of 'Best Screenplay’ at Sundance 2013, you’ll understand why only a minutes into the film. Bell manages to take a concept that on paper seems pretty dull, and turns it into a hilarious, moving, and brilliantly human film, where not one word is wasted. Not only the writer and director, Bell captains the film as its lead, one that you fall in love with instantly, and root for against all odds. Peppered with bizarre and brilliant cameos, with a great supporting cast, In A World will leave you grinning from ear to ear, and have you speaking in a trailer voice for weeks.
8. The East
Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling’s second feature-length collaboration might not have the diamond-in-the-rough charm of 'Sound of My Voice’ but its a film that proves they’re more than a match for - and better than - the big players of Hollywood. A bigger (but still modest) budget allows for a more adventurous story, better cinematography and a cast including some of the best actors currently on the scene - particularly Ellen Page and Toby Kebbell. As with everything Marling, Batmaglij (and fellow collaborator Mike Cahill) seem to touch, you are guaranteed quality story telling told in an unconventional and thought-provoking fashion. It’s difficult to remind ourselves that these talented filmmakers haven’t been around for long. We cannot wait to see what’s next.
9. The Bling Ring
Somewhat overlooked by many, Sofia Coppola’s 'The Bling Ring’ is a very well put together piece of cinema. The story lacks depth, but so do those the story centres on, the shallow, celebrity-obsessed, media-fuelled youth - so in that respect it is a perfect representation of everything Coppola is trying to say. The performances from the five leads are pitch perfect, they are easy to hate and yet we can find ourselves very easily sucked into their world, wanting to see just how far they will get. Based on a shocking true story, the film is beautifully shot, and there are certain facts uncovered that suddenly make the story seem inevitable, in fact, why had this not happened before? Coppola lets the story breathe, which works wonders, she doesn’t need to preach anything, she simply holds up a mirror up to Hollywood, and Hollywood does the rest. It’s not a pretty sight.
10. The Call
The film last year that we found ourselves sitting on the edge of our seats throughout. The film we saw last year that had the most active audience participation. People were gripping their seat arms, shouting out 'No!’ on multiple occasions. If you wipe from your memory the last 60-90 seconds of the film, you have yourselves the perfect example of a thriller.