So…the director. We may, perhaps, never be able to suitably settle on a definition of what makes a good director good and I don’t help the situation much by citing five men in my top5 who direct films I greatly love (though they’re not my top 5 films of the year). But, there it is, my ballot.
(Pictures take you to reviews.)
As aware as he may be of the larger philosophical thrusts on which the story lies he’s always as cognisant of the levity he demands which allows for his treatment of the subject with an airy playfulness that zips from light humour to melodrama and even suggestions of something deeper and more robust without too much premeditation. Also, for handling the language shifts adroitly.
For realising that despite the ostensible childishness of the story’s heart seeing observing the entire world in which Hugo exists and the characters in them. For finding both the brokenness which makes them all so similar, and for keenly observing the way that Georges journey is as significant as any of his tragic heroes. And, for acute attentiveness to his actors and their ability despite the story not focusing on them specifically.
He’s ace at eliciting beautiful performances not only from the adults but the children as well, and not just the main cast but the peripheral players as well. The reason a final piece of the puzzle works as well is not specifically because of the script, but in the way his camera deftly peruses all which occurs and presents it like some sanguine mystery of sorts whilst we think we’re in a familial courtroom drama.
He so excellently uses his screenplay as an excellent paradigm and succeeds in the creation of an excellent measure of tragedy, psychological thriller, horror, small-town drama and family observations, and then not making any facet come off feeling short-change. Also, extra kudos for the sympathy with which he observes Curtis and the sensitivity evocative in the observation of his descent in “madness”.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Alfredson adroitly handles the inundated layers of potentially overwhelming narrative strands managing to balance all the varying and sometimes conflicting arcs of the ndle story and making for a mood of tension and excitement amidst the ostensible serious wordiness. Moreover, he gets that it’s supposed to seem stuffy and taut while all the while be sad and a bit modest. He succeeds with both facets.
FINALISTS: Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life, for his firm handle on the life’s journey the film hopes to tell; Mike Mills for Beginners, for so smartly being aware of both the sadness amidst the happiness, and the bliss among the tragic; Steve Soderbergh for Contagion, for showing he’s still a master at intercutting character narratives with a firm grip on both the horror and the humaneness ; Lars von Trier for Melancholia, for despite the insularity never condescending and observing his characters with contempt
Honourable Mentions: Oren Moverman for Rampart; Roman Polanski for Carnage; Nicholas Winding Refn for Drive; Joe Wright for Hanna
Which directors had best control over their vehicles in 2011?