Published on January 5th, 2014 | by Allan Brown5
Best Movies of 2013
When the month of December swings round film critics across the globe practice the same ritual, to determine the greatest films of the past year.
Often this is a task that prompts colossal headaches and epic fallouts. However, the year of 2013 was altogether different.
The film festival circuit expands in size each year, spreading its reach across the globe in an attempt to nurture and showcase international films that may have otherwise been lost in the flood of the Hollywood mainstream market. As a result these smaller and often quieter films have too been given voice making 2013 in particular, a landmark year for film indeed.
Join Movie Review World as take a look at fifteen of The Best Movies of 2013. (UK RELEASE DATES)
UK Release Date: 7 December 2013
Summary: Astronaut Medical engineer Dr Ryan Stone and team commander Lieutenant Matt Kowalski , must work together to survive after an accident leaves them alone and adrift in space.
Verdict: Gravity is an awe-inspiring, wonderfully immersive and truly captivating cinematic achievement. Just be prepared to leave the cinema as physically and emotionally drained as the characters on screen.
UK Release Date: 10 May 2013
Summary: Ellis and Neckbone, two teenage boys living on the Arkansas River stumble upon a fugitive by the name of Mud. When an unlikely friendship is struck, they agree to help him evade his pursuers and reunite him with his love, Juniper.
Verdict: Mud offers charm, intrigue and standout performances by all and cements Jeff Nichols as a great and exciting new filmmaker.
UK Release Date: 11 January 2013
Summary: Jean Valjean, an ex-prisoner who after 19 is paroled as a free man. In pursuit of a new life Valjean tears up his parole papers leading to his pursuit by Inspector Javert. When he adopts factory worker Fantine’s child, he finds a reason to keep his freedom.
Verdict: Les Misérables brings a bold and fresh take on the Musical genre offering some real courageous and simply stunning Oscar worthy performances.
UK Release Date: 6 December 2013
Summary: Woody Grant, an ageing, alcohol dependant grump takes a trip from Montana to Nebraska with his son in a bid to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.
Verdict: Director Alexander Payne weaves this charming road movie around the the themes of life and the family. Photographed in a beautiful but stark black and white, its Nebraska’s characters that add the surprising warmth and comedic flourishes to this endearing and thought provoking ,comedy, drama.
UK Release Date: 16 October 2013
Summary: The true story of the 2009 hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama cargo ship, at the hands of Somali Pirates.
Verdict: From the word go director Paul Greengrass and his cast have you in the palm of there hand, in one of this years finest and most thrilling movies.
For those in Peril
UK Release Date: 4 October 2013
Summary: When Aaron the sole survivor of a fishing boat accident that claimed the lives of five local men, including his brother Michael (Jordan Young), returns to his small Scottish coastal village, he struggles to reintegrate into the community. Feeling outcast, alone and overwhelmed with grief, Aaron refuses to give up or accept the loss of his brother
Verdict: As someone I know put it, “For those in peril is as deep, scary and as beautiful as the sea itself”
UK Release Date: 25 January 2013
Summary: The Civil War rages on as America’s president battles with the House of Representatives for the passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.
Verdict: Spielberg has managed to create a beautifully shot and authentic portray of ‘Abraham Lincoln’s’ struggles during a time that has ultimately shaped America as it is today. Although somewhat slower and often fact heavy the film is truly anchored by its screenplay, extraordinary direction and of course its cast. I predict Oscars all round but if Daniel Day Lewis doesn’t win for Best Actor…then ’There will be blood’, indeed.
Only God Forgives
UK Release Date: 2 August 2013
Summary: Julian runs a Muay Thai Boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his family’s drug smuggling empire. When his brother Billy is killed for murdering a local prostitute, Julian finds himself drawn into a cycle of violence with the local police chief.
Verdict: While Nicolas Winding Refn has certainly indulged himself with Only God Forgives, it will surely evoke much opinion and debate, and while these opinions and debates will be of vastly different colours, he will evoke them nonetheless. For me atleast, I found Only God Forgives to be a masterful presentation of what film is all about, breaking through the boundaries of regularity, taking risks and offering something new, something unique, and instead of spelling every detail out for its audience, it forces you to work hard to decipher its meaning.
The Place Beyond the Pines
UK Release Date: 12 April 2013
Summary: Luke, a motorcycle stunt performer, whose life is suddenly changed, turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover Romina and newborn son Jason. This new lifestyle puts him on a collision course with the local police department, in particular the young and ambitious rookie cop, Avery Cross
Verdict: The Place Beyond The Pines is a bold and ambitious film that deals with complex themes and characters beautifully. There are no weak links in the performances and each is more than Oscar worthy. However, its sharp and sudden change in flow cause the film to feel disjointed. Tightening up in the editing room could have seen this film go from an intriguing yet overlong and busy drama to the masterpiece it deserved to be.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
UK Release Date: 13 December 2013
Summary: Bilbo Baggins and the company of dwarves led by Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim their homeland deep within the Lonely Mountain, from Smaug.
Verdict: Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth back on form, tackling most of the issues from before, resulting in a more concise and satisfying film.
Saving Mr Banks
UK Release Date: 29 November 2013
Summary: Author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for her classic novel, Mary Poppins.
Verdict: Despite its structure and pacing issues, John Lee Hancock and Disney present a warm and tender tale of hope that offers one of the finest performances of 2013.
UK Release Date: 8 March 2013
Summary: When Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), a young woman suffering from depression is prescribed the new drug Ablixa by her psychiatrist Dr Banks (Jude Law). Her world begins to unravel resulting in some unexpected side effects and consequences.
Verdict: What starts as a fairly dull, anti-pharmaceutical message, eventually turns into one of the best takes on the Neo-Noir style I have seen. Soderbergh manages to draw stunning performances, incredibly skillful direction and an unorthodox plot that is executed within an inch of its life. Side Effects might not end up in your Top 10 list of all time, but it is a film that will raise plenty discussion and debate long after you leave the cinema, and that to me is testament of a great movie.
UK Release Date: 4 October 2013
Summary: Bruce Robsertson is a bipolar, foul mouthed, villainous, sex fiend who when not snorting a cloud of narcotics up is nose, is bullying his way up the chain of command in a bid to secure a promotion in his chosen career, a detective for Edinburgh’s Lothian & Borders Police constabulary.
Verdict: Filth is likely to repel and enthral audiences in equal measure. It’s is hilarious and reckless, trashing through everything in its wake, in one exciting, vulgar and relentless thrill ride…for those who think they can stomach it, GO SEE IT!
The Great Gatsby
UK Release Date: 16 May 2013
Summary: When aspiring author Nick Carraway becomes captivated by the extravagant lifestyle of his new neighbour, playboy millionaire Jay Gatsby and his circle of high society friends, his experiences inspire him to write his own story of; power, greed, betrayal, hypocrisy, sacrifice and social hierarchy wrapped in the great American dream.
Verdict: Luhrmann has managed to bring this great American fable to a new audience with a visual flair, style and technique unmatched. While it can be said it perhaps lacks an emotional connection with its characters, the films dream like quality juggles the themes and symbolism of the book that are as relevant today as they were in 1925, and are likely to stay with you long after the end credits roll. All in all this visual translation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is beautifully realised and at times verges on the profound.
Like Father, Like Son
UK Release Date: 18 October 2013
Summary: When Ryota Nonomiya learns that his biological son was switched with another child at birth, he must make the life-changing decision to choose his biological son or the child he has raised as his own.
Verdict: Like Father, Like Son offers a startling study into parenthood and the notion of parental love. Although a quieter, nuance piece, its focus and underlying emotion results in perhaps one of the most visceral and thought provoking films of the year, and one that will undoubtedly linger in your thoughts for days after.
Films that didn’t make the list due to UK release dates are American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street.