1. The Road – visually stunning, utterly believable evocation of a post-apocalyptic future and a haunting meditation on loss. Viggo Mortensen, I take my hat off to you.
3. The Arbor – highly original, stylish and unflinching documentary on the life and legacy of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, using actors who lip-synch to real recorded interviews to tell its story.
4. The Social Network / Catfish – these two would make a superb double bill: one a fast-paced, witty and slick retelling of the creation of Facebook, the other an unsettling low-fi doc on its implications.
5. Lourdes – portrait of a modern pilgrimage which wryly portrays all the tackiness and bureaucracy whilst allowing for the truly miraculous and even the faintest hint of menace. Perfectly balanced and beautifully composed.
6. Dogtooth – barking mad family drama/dark comedy/not-quite-sure-what from Greece – the m0st original screenplay of the year for sure. Also contains the best bonkers dancing ever.
7. A Prophet – big old muscular beast of a film by France’s most invigorating director, Jacques Audiard. Deserving of all its media praise.
8. Revanche – this dazzlingly shot (non-)revenge thriller, a study of a man’s smouldering grief and envy in the Austrian woodlands, was the most aesthetically pleasing film I saw all year.
9. Bad Lieutenant – loved this for the same reason I loved Inglorious Basterds last year: it was carefree, reckless fun. Nicholas Cage wins best-delivered-line-of the-year for “I’m trying to remain courteous, but I’m beginning to think it’s getting in the way of my being effective”.
10. Mother – Korean cinema is great, and this was another example. Creative camerawork, ingenious storytelling and brilliant acting from the eponymous leading lady.