2011 was a great year for British film. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Harry Potter might have grabbed the headlines but there was plenty more on offer as these films show.
2011 was an exceptional year for the British film industry. Despite the UK Film Council’s demise, prompting fears the loss would pose problems within the industry, British film has thrived thanks to well placed public and private funding as well as international investment.
Having recently spoken to Roger Morris, boss of Elstree Studios, which hosted the production of critical hit The King’s Speech, it was encouraging to hear he was enthusiastic about the prospects of British film going forward.
Of course, money means nothing if the talent isn’t there. But going by these films British cinema hasn’t enjoyed such a golden period for many years. Working with international partners has allowed the industry to make big blockbusters such as the Harry Potter films while emerging talent has been nurtured through lottery funding and public funds by observant executive producers who have pinpointed some great new filmmakers.
The films themselves have done the talking. The sheer diversity of the ten films featured in this list tells its own story – science-fiction horror, period drama, supernatural thriller, social comment, hard-hitting drama, light-hearted comedy, offbeat coming-of-age, cutting-edge documentary, big-budget fantasy. It is all there.
10. Submarine (Richard Ayoade)
“Submarine benefits from an offbeat sense of humour that appears rooted in a nostalgic if guarded look at the moment when idealistic innocence goes head to head with real life disappointment.”
9. The Awakening (Nick Murphy)
“The Awakening might not be unique but it celebrates the great traditions of haunted house films by following convention with effective scares, a sense of style and strong performances.”
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (David Yates)
“Harry’s story comes together with an epic battle that has been brilliantly brought to life on screen.”
7. Attack The Block (Joe Cornish)
“Attack The Block is an intelligently conceived and executed film debut from Joe Cornish.”
6. Kill List (Ben Wheatley)
“Kill List is an assured piece of filmmaking that interestingly sees kitchen sink drama in the age of 21st century recession intermingled with the raw, ferociously violent energy seen in recent Brit horrors Eden Lake and Dead Man’s Shoes.”
5. Project Nim (James Marsh)
“Marsh’s intelligent construction of the story focuses on the human aspect of Nim’s tale, and consequently questions the moral and ethical implications of the scientific investigation without preaching on animal welfare issues.”
4. Weekend (Andrew Haigh)
“Most interestingly is how Weekend challenges a perception built on heterosexual overload in films dealing with love, sex and companionship.”
3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson)
“Alfredson’s film could be framed on the wall as a piece of fine art.”
2. The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper)
“The King’s Speech is an inspirational story about one man’s battle to overcome his affliction. It is also about a burgeoning friendship that transcends the classes and demystifies the British monarchy.”
1. Tyrannosaur (Paddy Considine)
“Peter Mullan’s brutal temper bubbles and boils beneath the chiselled lines of a weathered face that has a thousand stories to tell.”
Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.
Your turn – What are your favourite British films of 2011?
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