Posted January 16, 2011
Updated February 1, 2012 / Updated February 23, 2012 / Updated February 25, 2012
2011 was nearly as strong as 2010 when it came to films that I believed were strong enough on their own to be worthy of mention on my annual list of the year's ten best films. As of the initial posting date of this article, I found myself giving four-star ratings to almost as many 2011 films as I did in 2010, although I did see more films overall in 2011 than I had in any other previous year (130 to be exact as of the latest update; 117 in 2010 and 111 in 2009).
As with all other previous
years, I find myself compiling and revealing this list much later
than other film critics in North America, which is largely attributed to
the lack of noteworthy late-2011 releases that still have not seen the
light of day here in Saskatoon (the city is mournfully and notoriously bad
when it comes to getting timely releases of such films late in the year). As
a result, an honest attempt on my part to relay what I accurately
think are the ten best reasons to go the movies in 2011 proves to be rather difficult.
I admonish the fact that so many other critics have come out with
their lists without having bothered to screen the remaining films from the
though, I have still not seen many prominent 2011 films, like THE ARTIST,
SHAME, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, and MY WEEK WITH MARYLYN.
However, once I do – and if they deserve placement anywhere on this
list – I will make the necessary concessions and adjust this compilation
2011 had around 18-plus films
that could have very easily made my Top 10, which has essentially allowed
me to create not just a Top 10 list, but a Top 25 list, which consequently allows for me to
honor films that I thought were among the more memorable from the year,
but that I nonetheless couldn't place within the Top 10.
I have always considered, of course, my Top 10 as the best examples
of the filmmaking craft from the last twelve months, but selections 11
through 25 are honorable runners-up.
A Top 25 also holds me less accountable from many readers out
there when it comes to them reprimanding me for forgetting or neglecting
to mention certain films on the Top 10 that I championed during the year.
Most importantly, I must emphasize the following: this is my list. It’s a personal and subjective one (film criticism is void of objectivity; it’s about one’s own unique response to films). I not out here to make a list to singularly put indie art house fare on it to impress anyone, nor am I going to just campaign for big-budgeted blockbuster entries to appease populist tastes (either extreme represents the height of critical snobbery). One thing I have consciously gone for here is variety. My list below contains everything from an apocalypse drama (okay, two to be precise), a family dramedy, a true life sports story, a romantic comedy with sci-fi trimmings, a 3D family fantasy, a gritty and violent action thriller, and so on. No one can rightfully accuse me of lacking diversity here.
So, partake and enjoy (or...not enjoy) my selections of the finest cinematic offerings from 2011:
How could I not put
Terrance Malick’s film as the very best one of 2011?
It is, as I stated in my review, perhaps one of the most
awe-inspiringly ambitious films I’ve ever seen.
Here’s a drama
that, on one level, appears to be a semi-biographical meditation on
Malick’s own childhood memories of growing up in 1950’s Waco, Texas.
It’s also a searing portrayal of family strife, the innocence of
childhood, and about unavoidably dealing with loss, death, and grieving.
Yet, THE TREE OF LIFE also manages to have the tenacity
and daring aspiration of framing that story within the larger and more
cosmic one of the very origins of the universe.
In what has to be one of the most visually arresting and
impressively sustained sequences of visuals ever committed to film, Malick
takes great pains and time (20 minutes worth and virtually silent
throughout) to depict a God’s eye-view portrayal of the cold blackness
of space, the eruption of the Big Bang, the early expansion of the stars
and planets, the birth of Earth, and the very first stirrings of
biological life on the planet. It’s
quite simply the closest that film viewers will perhaps ever get to
witnessing a camera crew capturing and shooting the beginnings of everything.
Then again, THE TREE OF LIFE is about the interconnectedness of everything. No matter how tiny and inconsequentially small or universally large, Malick points out how everything is connected (all of God’s creatures, from dinosaurs to young boys in the 1950’s, are both capable of cruelty against much smaller creatures, as shown in two mirrored sequences in the film). Then there is randomness: the death of one character in the film is depressingly random, but so too was the randomness of the Big Bang or the asteroid, for example, that impacted the Earth, killed off the dinosaurs, and irrevocably altered life on it. When it comes to the larger scheme of things, an asteroid or a boy dying is miniscule compared to the vastness of the universe.
THE TREE OF LIFE might be the first film to deserve worthy comparisons to Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, one of the greatest of all films, perhaps because both films are oftentimes unfathomably impenetrable and befuddling to explain. Both films show man’s evolution through the bigger framework of the cosmos. Both films have extraordinarily believable visual effects that show space and time (Douglas Trumbull served on both films, this being his first credited work in decades) and both films have surely agitated some critics and audience members alike. Yet, both films have the resolve to leave their own inherent mysteries open-ended to speculation and demand patience from viewers. 2001 was not initially loved by critics, but it's now heralded as an unparalleled masterpiece; I believe that THE TREE OF LIFE will be similarly received in the years to come.
many films from 2011 came remotely close to Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE on a
scale of ambition and boldness, but Lars von Trier’s end-of-the-world
apocalyptic drama MELANCHOLIA came as close as any.
a film, much like Malick's, that has a cosmic scope and uses bravura visual
effects: in a shot of startling finality, von Trier portrays the immediate
end of the Earth as it collides in space with a much large planetary body
(named “Melancholia” by astronomers).
There is no mistaking it: Earth in von Trier’s film does perish.
More importantly, the polarizing and notoriously provocative Danish
filmmaker never once succumbs to lame and ham-invested clichés of other
apocalypse action films from the Roland Emmerich theater of
pornographic, disaster porn extremes.
No, what we do get is a treatment of the end of it all with an
indescribable level of destruction and conclusiveness.
Trier shows this very early on – and during one of the great
introductory montages of beautifully haunting shots ever committed to
screen – so that it does not distract viewers from the rest of the
story. Melancholia is the
name of the planet on a collision course with Earth, but it also reflects
the emotionally mindset of its characters.
The story presented here is intimate and deals mostly with the
lives of two sisters (played in a pair of natural and beguiling
performances by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the film
highlights how two different women respond to
crisis. Dunst’s Justine
becomes a wounded and fragile woman when her marriage collapses and then
finds inner strength and resolve when it appears that Earth will perish.
Conversely, Gainsbourg’s Claire begins the film as a secure woman
unravels into a paranoid and mentally damaged figure in the build-up of
Melancholia’s impact. Before
the end comes, the two find a way to come together to achieve a harmonious
co-existence before their existence is eradicated.
3. THE ARTIST >
I’ve spoken with some people that said they had no wish to see THE ARTIST, which is a shame indeed. They usually point out these reasons: it’s a silent film; it’s black and white, and – heaven help us! – it’s a French film. Yet, if they were to look closer at Michel Hazanavicius’ film – a lifelong passion project for the director – then it would be easy to see that THE ARTIST – like my #4 on my Top Ten below – is a film that’s steeped in a love of the movies and the history of the cinema. The film is a meticulous reconstruction of 1920’s/30’s silent film artifice (right down to the intertitles, black and white cinematography frame within a period-correct 1.33:1 ratio, and performances) but the film’s bravura technical achievements helps frame its core themes: just as modern and fickle filmgoers have issues with seeing a film like this, the story within THE ARTIST deals with how talkies destroyed the silent film star.
I think that’s what struck a cord with me so much after viewing the film: it not only contains everything that viewers clamor for (action, romance, comedy, drama), but it uses old school and antiquated methods to tell an ageless story of love and redemption in the style of films from 80 years ago that manages to come off as both nostalgically old fashioned and audaciously modern at the same time. The performances in the film are crucial to its sense of period and audience immersion: French star Jean Dujardin and Argentine beauty Berenice Bejo hold our attention and captivate us with their portrayals of silent film star George Valentin and up-and-coming talkie sensation Peppy Miller respectively. The film chronicles how the once-mega-star Valentin slips into poverty-stricken despair with the advent of talking pictures and how Miller succeeds in its wake. Bejo has the look, energy, and radiance of a early sound film screen actress down pat, but Dujardin has the most thankless task of tangibly harnessing the essence of Douglas Fairbanks, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire all rolled believably into one man. I was intently enthralled with every minute of THE ARTIST, right through to its climatic show-stopping tap-dance duet between Dujardin and Bejo that harkens back to a kinder, gentler, bygone era of movie escapism before the cinematic landscape was not polluted by Michael Bay-ian nihilism. Trust me: you don’t need dialogue, or color film, or American and English speaking performers to be mesmerized by THE ARTIST.
> added February 23, 2012
4. SHAME >
SHAME is one of the most mesmerizing, unflinching, and unforgettable
portrayals of addiction that I have ever seen.
The fact that it involves a man that suffers from a sex
addiction may seem laughable at face value, but there is no doubt that in
the morose, bleak, and unsavory world that this pitiful person resides
in, his obsession with sex and ongoing desire to achieve orgasm is most
certainly a self-loathing addition of the soul.
> added February 25, 2012
director of such gritty, violent, and matured themed dramas like TAXI
DRIVER, RAGING BULL, GOODFELLAS,
and THE DEPARTED making a
children-friendly fairy tale fantasy…in 3D (!)…and it’s one of 2011
those initial doubters about Martin Scorsese’s HUGO – based on the
novel THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick – need to give
their collective heads a hard shake.
HUGO is a family film. It's a film augmented by 3D. It's
not hard-edged R-rated fare that Scorsese has made for forty years.
Yet, the sheer artistic genius of the film is that it’s not only
unlike any family film I’ve ever seen before, but also unlike anything
the legendary auteur has ever made before.
At face value, the film was advertised as a Dickensian fantasy with
both whimsical and somber overtones, but the real epicenter of
Scorsese’s film is something its trailers never hinted at: HUGO is steeped in an euphoric and revered celebration of the movies and the art of
making and preserving movies themselves, all of which have been lifelong labors
of love for its director.
did compare Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn’s (BRONSON) DRIVE to
PULP FICTION in the sense that DRIVE not only showed a unique filmmaking
voice at the helm that wanted to stir things up and slap the
current film status quo in the face, but it also featured a director that
to pay homage to past genre films while showing respect for
literate minded and patient filmgoers.
7. TAKE SHELTER
Nichol’s TAKE SHELTER was both a masterfully unsettling and profoundly
creepy-as-hell apocalypse drama/thriller and a performance showcase for
the great and undervalued Michael Shannon, a wondrous character actor that
has a magnetic and deeply intense screen presence of uncommon authority.
plays Curtis LaForge in the film, a man that is living the proverbial
middle class American dream…that is until he begins to have disturbing
visions that just might be the coming of the end of the world.
As he becomes increasingly plagued by his nightmarish visions he
begins to further succumb into paranoia and fear.
As a sense of fatalism takes over him, Curtis decides to re-build
a ramshackle storm shelter in his backyard, which alienates him from his
friends, work colleagues, and wife (played by Jessica Chastain, second
only to Michael
Fassbender as the breakout performer of 2011).
In the film’s unforgettable climax, a hellish storm does come,
which bares a unmistakable resemblance to Curtis’ demonic nightmares, and
and directed by Alexander Payne (ELECTION, ABOUT SCHMIDT, and SIDEWAYS,
the latter which made my Top Ten of 2004),
THE DESCENDANTS was the only film from 2011 that managed to adeptly
traverse between genuine heartbreaking sorrow and high hilarity.
Very few dramadies I’ve seen have been able to find humor in the
most absurd and awkward of personal circumstances and then balance those
moments with key scenes that cut to painful emotional truths.
The fact that THE DESCENDANTS was just as funny as it was tragic is
to the film’s noteworthy credit.
You do not have to be a Major
League baseball aficionado or a sports film genre buff to appreciate
MONEYBALL. The genius of Bennett Miller’s (CAPOTE)
intoxicating biopic is that it’s both an unexpected real life
inspirational sports film…and it's not.
It has the accoutrements of many down-on-their-luck underdog sports
films: the lackluster players, the hopelessly inept team, the
insurmountable opponents, the proverbial climatic big games where the
underdogs prove what they’re really made of, and so forth.
Yet, MONEYBALL is not really a film that’s compelled with being a
traditional sports film at all: like MIRACLE, it’s more about the
behind-the-scenes personas and the politics of its sport than it truly is
about the athletes and the game itself.
With the unqualified cinematic
dream team of writers Aaron Sorkin (THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, CHARLIE
WILSON'S WAR, and THE
SOCIAL NETWORK) and Steven Zaillian (SCHINDLER’S LIST, AMERICAN
GANGSTER, GANGS OF NEW
YORK, and THE
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) penning the adaptation of Michael
Lewis' 2003 book of the same name, the film tells the story of Billy Beane,
manager of the Oakland Athletics during the early 2000’s who was able to
see the massive and unfair financial gulf that existed between pro teams. With some much
needed help, Beane had the radical notion of using modern advances in
analytics to develop a productive and winning team on a shoestring budget.
This spat on the collective baseball wisdom of how to draft teams
that was the norm for 100 years.
10. YOUNG ADULT
Charlize Theron is such an
angelically beautiful woman that it’s often hard for some, I think, to
give her credit for being an accomplished and poised actress that takes
premeditated chances with many roles that her fellow contemporaries wouldn’t dare.
Just consider the role she
plays in director Jason Reitman’s (THANK-YOU
FOR SMOKING, JUNO, and UP
IN THE AIR) and writer Diablo Cody’s (JUNO and JENNIFER'S
BODY) YOUNG ADULT: she portrays Mavis Gary, a toxically selfish
alcoholic and failing writer of young adult fiction that sees an invite
from an old high school boyfriend to his home town to celebrate the birth
of his first baby as a pathetic cry for help on his part.
She decides to visit him in an effort to steal him away from his
loving wife and new child, mostly because she feels that this is what he
needs, but more because Mavis is just such a loose-cannoned, drastically
unstable, and genuine self-loathing human being that she narrow-mindedly
feels that this is what he craves. What.
A. Pathetic. Woman.
Yes, Theron is still a gorgeous woman in the film, but she is a mentally scared late-thirtysomething woman that’s still mournfully trapped within the emotional mindset of a teenager. The greatness of Theron here is that she never cues up the character to be likeable; she dutifully plays her as a near-redemption-free and depressing human being. Much of this also has to do with the collaboration of Reitman and Cody (their first since JUNO) that maintains the film’s deeply cynical and disturbing edge while, at the same time, allowing for dark comedy to peek through. Most crucially, Cody and Reitman wisely look at the resolute coldness of their subjects without letting them off the hook, but they don’t demonize Mavis to the point where we can’t understand her. YOUNG ADULT is depressing and bleak for showing the slow-burning train wreck of a weak-minded and insecure woman, but I nonetheless found the film uplifting and endlessly watchable because of it. It also shows Reitman as one of the pre-eminent humorist-dramatists of his generation and cements Cody as a writer with a strong voice and command over her subjects.
|...and now to round off my TEN BEST FILMS OF 2011 with my selections from 11-25:|
11. WIN WIN::Tom McCarthy's made one of the year's most deeply humanistic dramas that subverted sports film clichés and emerged as a more natural and honestly constructed crowd pleaser.
12. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS::A Woody Allen love ballad to Parisian locales large and small that uses time travel as a narrative anchor; a highly odd, but winning combination that resulted in the director's finest film in years.
13. HANNA: Director Joe Wright's suspenseful, stylish, and brazenly original assassin thriller was a pulse-pounding wake-up call to a genre that was suffering from a bit too much complacency.
14. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL: Brad Bird's triumphant first live action film achieved the impossible by making this forth film in the series its most action-packed, exciting, and impressively mounted.
15. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER: The finest comic book super hero film since THE DARK KNIGHT could not have been any more different: a rip-roaring, adventure-filled, and wholesome-minded appropriation of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon's legendary Marvel creation.
17. ANOTHER EARTH: One of 2011's more introspectively rendered sci-fi films with an unique and involving premise and strong lead performances.
18. : One of the best films of 2011 came not from the big screen, but from the small screen with this superlatively acted HBO drama, based on the Cormac McCarthy play of the same name.
19. : Werner Herzog's intoxicating documentary about one of the oldest of all of the world's cave paintings; it utilized 3D as a proper tool for immersion and not as an obtrusive, in-your-face gimmick.
20. : Not enough filmgoers went to see Gavin O'Connor's (MIRACLE) splendid drama focusing on an estranged family who share a similar passion for Mixed Martial Arts; more powerfully moving than expected.
21. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY: > A mind-bendingly complex Cold War espionage thriller that was all the more compelling because of Thomas Alfredson's calculating direction and Gary Oldman's intensely internalized performance. > added February 1, 2012
22. A DANGEROUS METHOD: The performance triumvirate of Kiera Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Fassbender excelled in director David Cronenberg's period drama.
23. 50/50: Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave a career-high performance in this tactfully hilarious and serenely touching dramedy about a young man dealing with cancer.
24. BEGINNERS: Christopher Plummer deserves serious Oscar consideration for his role here as a man at the autumn of his life, facing a terminal disease, and realizing that he's a homosexual; graciously and attentively directed by Mike Mills.
25. THE TRIP:: Steve Coogan and Rod Brydon are infectious comic dynamite here in this knee-slapping Michael Winterbottom comedy; the scene of the actors' dueling Michael Caine impersonations was the single funniest movie moment of the year.
|Beyond my TOP 25, here's a further selection of films that are definitely worth seeing, but just not quite great enough to make the final cut:|
RANGO: Wondrously detailed and lush animation highlights Gore Verbinski's first animated film; contains meticulous artistry and a free-wheeling sense of whimsy.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS: Belongs alongside other franchise reboots like BATMAN BEGINS and CASINO ROYALE for injecting some much needed invigorating freshness into the X-Men series; Michael Fassbender creepily charismatic turn as the young Magneto owns this film.
A BETTER LIFE: Demian Bichir gave one of 2011's most quietly empowered and touching performances in Chris Weitz's drama about illegal immigrants struggling to make a go of it; more perceptive and heart-rending than other similar films.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN: Although the fact-based screenplay lacked psychological depth, the performances by Kenneth Branagh and Michelle Williams as Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe respectively had enough to make it worthy of recommendation. > added February -- , 2012
THE LINCOLN LAWYER: Yes, Matthew McConaughey has played a lawyer before, but he proved here why he is so resoundingly good at it in this involving and surprisingly well oiled legal thriller.
HALL PASS:: The Farrelly brothers confidently return to the high scatological hilarity of their early films with this knee-slapper about two married men given a week off from their respective marriages.
MARGIN CALL: A timely and uncommonly immersive drama regarding the night before the epic financial collapse of 2008; Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons gave two of the more memorable supporting performances of the year.
JANE EYRE Michael Fassbender yet again proves why he was the break-out star of the last twelve months with another performance of deeply internalized intensity and cool and meticulous bravado; co-star Mia Wasikowska had the thankless task, though, of confidently carrying this umpteenth adaptation of Bronte's classic novel.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS: Terribly underrated romantic period melodrama from earlier this year that told a well orchestrated love story amidst a backdrop of a Depression-era traveling circus; Christoph Waltz's commanding performance here echoes the unsettling level of screen magnetism he showcased in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.
THOR: Great Odin's raven! This adaptation of Marvel Comic's hammer wielding Norse mythological God was like one of Jack Kirby's robust, explosive, and vibrant comic panels come joyously to life.
CEDAR RAPIDS: One of the more underrated - and barely seen - comedies of 2011 had a side-splitting performance by Ed Helms as an in-over-his-head insurance salesmen sent to the "big city" for a crucial sales conference.
FRIGHT NIGHT: Craig Gillespie's (LARS AND THE REAL GIRL) bloody good (sorry, couldn't help myself) remake of the revered 1985 horror-comedy classic; it carved out its own unique niche while being faithful to the original.
EVERYTHING MUST GO: A rare - but welcome - dramatic turn for Will Ferrell showcased the actor at his most melancholic and soulful; a heartfelt, funny, and poignantly rendered tale of grief and self-loathing.
THE HELP: One of the great audience pleasers of the year deserved its supportive audience response as a sobering real-life social fable regarding racial injustice and the coming together of black and white women to bridge the gulf between their respective differences.
THE GREEN HORNET: Unfairly maligned by critics, this adaptation of the the iconic DC Comics character has a pitch perfectly cast Ryan Reynolds as the main hero and maintained a willingness to be a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi escapist spectacle of sight and sound. .
GREEN LANTERN: Another green-hued super hero saw big-screen treatment in 2011, and this Seth Rogen co-written and starred action caper was rowdily enjoyable and refreshingly not cut from the same cloth of other comic book film ventures.
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU: Yet another well rounded and idea-heavy sci-fi drama - based on a story by Philip K. Dick - that had a less-is-more production artifice that allowed its themes and performances to shine through.
THE RITE Falsely advertised as an Exorcist-esque horror film that actually was a more compelling religious drama about struggling with faith in the midst of unexplainable phenomenon.
KUNG FU PANDA 2 A delectably delightful follow-up to the original animal-heavy martial arts animated feature developed ever deeper themes and explored darker territory than its antecedent.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN: This obsessively and cheekily gory grindhouse effort had a very, very game Rutger Hauer as...uh...a hobo with a shotgun...kicking ass in this love ballad to 1970's B-grade excess.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2: I have been royally hard on most of the cinematic adventures of J.K. Rowling's massively popular literary hero, but even I had to concede that this final installment manages to go on with a bang...and a hint of magic too.
THE IDES OF MARCH: A disturbingly incendiary political morality play from director and co-writer George Clooney, featuring another stellar performance by Ryan Gosling.
KILLER ELITE: I felt empty leaving the theater after seeing this relatively empty calorie action thriller, but there was no denying that it wholeheartedly delivered the goods as an exciting action picture.
THE BIG YEAR: Not a big box office smash, considering the comic talent of Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black on board, but this comedy about competitive bird watchers was nice and gentle minded with the material instead of going for mean spirited jabs against it.
FOOTLOOSE: Call it sacrilege, but this Craig Brewer (HUSTLE AND FLOW and BLACK SNAKE MOAN) directed remake...re-imagining...reboot...whatever...of the classic 1984 dance-crazy original cut loose (sorry again!) from its predecessor as an enjoyable original all on is own.
IN TIME: Only in a sci-fi fantasy could Olivia Wilde be taken seriously as the mother of Justin Timberlake, but this thriller from Andrew Niccol (GATTACA and LORD OF WAR) had a novel and engaging premise to carry its story confidently forward.
TOWER HEIST: A snappy, energetic, and, most importantly, fun heist comedy that contained Eddie Murphy's most engagingly funny comic performance in years.
J. EDGAR: Although I found director Clint Eastwood's handling of the underlining material a somewhat lopsided affair, Leonardo Dicaprio meticulously transformed himself in one of the most powerful governmental men of the 20th Century in this handsomely mounted biopic.
IMMORTALS: Sure, this Tarsem (THE FALL and THE CELL) directed swords and sandals fantasy owes an existence to CLASH OF THE TITANS and 300, but his astounding visual panache lovingly permeated every pore of this film.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: Another reboot emerged in 2011 of a long dormant film franchise, and this retooled APE adventure was a rousingly resourceful and compellingly produced ode to the Chuck Heston 1968 original.
CONTAGION: An eerily atmospheric and palpably frightening end-of-the-world pandemic thriller from Steven Soderbergh.
A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS: It was a yuletide film with Harold, Kumar, a horny-as-hell N.P.H., an f-bomb uttering Santa, claymation, an ecstasy-addicted young child, and a lot of pot smoking done with three dimensional tinkering. It delivered on intended promises.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO David Fincher's long awaited remake of the Swedish original was not as faultless as that 2009 foreign film, but remained a solidly directed and richly atmospheric adaptation of Stieg Larsson's world famous murder-mystery novel.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN Although I found the film artistically pretentious and emotionally impenetrable at times, there is no doubt that we will be talking about Tilda Swinton's bravura and haunting performance in it for years come.