Best Films of 2002
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan)
touches on everything from environmental issues to a young girl's
budding self-awareness in this engaging, animated masterwork. Just when
one thinks he's incapable of topping himself, this Japanese visionary
does just that. Peerless.
note-perfect performances by Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid as a couple
coming to terms with their disintegrating marriage that elevate Far
From Heaven from affectionate tribute of canned '50s melodramas to
something poignantly tragic and heartbreakingly sublime.
Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
Almodóvar's exploration of the female body could have been a cheap
excuse to exploit or denigrate women. But that's far from the case here,
as the director displays a grace and maturity not readily evident in his
Adaptation (Spike Jonze, USA)
is a lonely business -- unless you're Charlie Kaufman, of course, and
have a twin brother named Donald who kicks you out of your protective
shell, forcing you to interact with the world at large. Despite being
overly indulgent, self-aware and loopy, it's hard to name another film
that does as good a job of exploring the manic thought process of so
neurotically creative a mind.
(Laurent Cantet, France)
break from life turns out to be more work than actual work in this
brilliant examination of one man's rebellion against the status quo.
From the effect the protagonist's inactivity has on his family to the
quiet desperation felt by cubicle workers everywhere, Cantet skillfully
explores middle class malaise with confident ease.
finally makes the film he's always wanted to make. Despite glaring
structural and story problems, Gangs definitely bears the
hallmarks of a master craftsman. Few films convey so strong a sense of
time and place as this one. A flawed gem.
City of God (Fernando Meirelles, Brazil)
urgent cinematography to the raw, affectless performances by its young
actors, City of God invites us to witness a world few would dare
imagine real -- save for the fact that the events it depicts are based
on true stories.
Jackson maintains a steady hand on his
epic trilogy, successfully navigating the expected middle-child syndrome
story problems and offering some of the most breathtaking visuals of the
Pianist (Roman Polanski, Poland / France / UK / Germany)
The death of Warsaw -- its people and history -- is the great tragedy of
Polanski's look at the Nazi occupation of Poland. His ultimate message
of art triumphing over atrocity is embodied by the fact that the
director himself survived the war as a child, and went on to make this
A myth of the Inuit tribes comes to life on the big screen in this bold,
involving and passionately crafted film, one that validates cinema as a
medium worthy of encapsulating the history and values of so ancient a
|Notable near misses (Alphabetically Listed):
Hour Party People
(Michael Winterbottom, UK)
The heyday of the Manchester music scene jumps off the screen in this
frenetic, wackily-paced but never over-the-top film.
Schmidt (Alexander Payne, USA) More than loneliness and despair played
for cheap laughs, thanks in large part to a great performance by Jack
Nicholson. Payne competently manages to get to the heart of coping with
loss and finding a shred of happiness in the world.
Igby Goes Down (Burr Steers,
USA) Dark, sardonic, bitter, but never once forsaking the human face of
the wealthy and miserable. Director Steers manages a notable first
feature, with the promise of even more impressive work to come in the
hopefully not-too-distant future.
Report (Steven Spielberg, USA) Wimps out at the end, but otherwise a
brilliantly directed, masterfully executed look at an America no sane
citizen would want to live in.
Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA) A small love letter of a movie to
hopeless romantics everywhere. Anderson reigns in his Altman-sized
storytelling ambitions to craft an intimate, gentle tale of two people
stumbling awkwardly toward one another. And, yes, Adam Sandler is a compelling
design copyright © 2001-2011 Shaking Through.net. All original artwork,
photography and text used on this site is the sole copyright of the respective creator(s)/author(s). Reprinting, reposting, or citing any of the original
content appearing on this site without the written consent of Shaking
Through.net is strictly forbidden.