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Death of Lazarescu director Cristi Puiu returns, casting himself as a disturbed engineer and taking apart the storytelling of crack-up crime in a three-hour study of increasing deviation from the mean.
A Dangerous Method
Psychological brinksmanship, annotated adultery, and schisms of several kinds make David Cronenberg’s film a riveting highlight of the season, with superb performances from Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.
Ranking among his finest game-playing, Abbas Kiarostami’s newest film about a hard-to-pin-down relationship fulfills the genuine strangeness of its title with a mesmerizing take on experience in action.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
As psycho-historical snapshot, it’s Zodiac 2: Stockholm Syndrome, and, though David Fincher really needs to abandon the structuralist temptation of serial-killer stories, his filmmaking about these dark places is just too damned pretty to turn away.
Mistaken for another hit of misanthropy, Lars von Trier’s apocalyptic fantasy delivers a portrait of depression in all its destructive pain and helpless narcissism.
Nostalgia for the Light
The routine cataclysms of the universe meet Pinochet’s murders, in Patricio Guzmán’s moving documentary essay about a Chilean desert that hosts the remains of the disappeared and scientists scanning the night sky.
The Princess of Montpensier
Bertrand Tavernier orchestrates exquisite 16th-century intrigue, setting into motion romantic vectors and power plays, while revealing the behind-the-scenes sentiments about it all.
Errol Morris’s absurd, and absurdly entertaining, narrative of obsession and desire also acts as a summary statement for the filmmaker as storyteller and professional fascinated person.
To Die Like a Man
Portuguese filmmaker João Pedro Rodriguez brings a waking-dream visual intensity and disarming sensitivity to the story of a beleaguered drag queen
The Top 25 films of the year, as voted on and praised by our stable of film critics.
Jan 9, 2012