Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

My Top 10 Films of 2013

Having watched several films over the past year, there were a staggering amount that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a difficult process to narrow down these films into a list the best, however the following 10 Films are my favourite films of 2013 (listed in order). These films amused, inspired, shocked, fascinated and enthralled, but most of all, they moved me greatly.

Before the list is revealed, here are some honourable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut, but that I enjoyed greatly nevertheless:

– Inside Llewyn Davis

– The Book Thief

– Captain Phillips

– World War Z

– Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

– Kick-Ass 2

– Filth

– Monsters University

– Kill Your Darlings

– The Railway Man

But now, here is my Top 10 List of Films from 2013. Enjoy!



1 – Prisoners

Just the perfect gripping mystery/thriller. A mix of faultless acting, beautiful cinematography and an original take on a common story about child abduction. The best I’ve seen of both Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in a long time, if not ever. Consistently riveting from start to finish, the film’s cinematography is world class, as is the editing and use of sound – A must-see!



2 – Philomena

Steve Coogan’s best performance of his career, surpassing Allan Partridge as the impatient and sympathetic journalist escorting Judy Dench’s Philomena across the world on her journey of discovery. A sweet and loveable film both through its protagonists and it’s ability to successfully and powerfully fluctuate through emotions with the mixture of humour, wit and dolefulness.




3 – Her

The most clever screenplay of the year. Such an original and daunting idea regarding the future and the way society is progressing. A perfect choice of time setting; choosing to show the transition period on what is socially acceptable is both fascinating but eerily realistic. Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant as the lonely and sombre Theodore who finds the love of his life, an operating system named ‘Samantha’.




4 – Rush

The best car film I’ve ever seen. I cannot stand car racing and choose not avoid films associated with them (excluding “Cars” of course) however this film was exactly what I did not expect. This was the biggest surprise of the year; a wonderfully dramatic thrill ride that is more about life off the racetrack and is highly emotional and exciting. Chris Hemsworth breaks away from the hammer wielding superhero/god from the “Thor” franchise and shows the world he’s a seriously talented actor; another major plug for Australian talent.




5 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

A beautiful film. So well thought out and so meticulously put together. Ben Stiller appears to be a very determined and talented director. A fitting soundtrack and clever uses of colour add to the thoroughness of the film. The only negative would be the limited screen time of Sean Penn, apart form that, this is a superb and beautiful surrealist inspired picture.




6 – August: Osage County

A stellar cast and an uncomfortably fascinating insight into an incredibly dysfunctional family. Merryl Streep is incredible as always while Julia Roberts and the remaining supporting cast give brilliant performances. Filled with so many sub plots and chaotic stories, this is one that makes you appreciate you own family very much.



7 – Gravity 

Cleaning up at the Oscars, winning more than a third of the awards; the story of one woman’s heroism and determination to voyage back to earth following malicious space dabree destroys her spacecraft is both a visual triumph but also a epic story of worldly proportions. Experiencing it in the cinema is necessary for it to fully exhibit its sheer grandness, however it will still blow you away at home in a pitch black room with full volume.



8 – Nebraska

A delightful tale of one stubborn octogenarian’s journey to trek across multiple U.S states to claim a prize of $1,000,000. Bruce Dern fantastic as Woody Grant, the ‘rightful’ recipient of the money while Will Forte is brilliant as David Grant, Woody’s tolerant son and partner on his journey. Uniquely shot (by today’s standards) in black and white, this is a slow burner that moves along much like Woody himself, very slowly and painfully. It is however, incredibly delightful and most importantly, adorable.




9 – 12 Years a Slave

Winner of ‘Best Picture’ at this year’s Oscar ceremony, this is truly a harrowing and unrelenting depiction of the darkest time in American history. Solomon Northup is a freeman, tricked into slavery where he spends 12 years traveling between multiple Slavs owners. Subject to gruelling and exhausting tasks like picking cotton for days on end, constructing buildings in scalding heat without water and various other dehumanising exercises, Northup’s barbaric tale of suffering that symbolises the greater picture in itself is moving but at the same time fascinating.



10 – Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar winning performance is the last on the list. Electrician and AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroff leads a drug trafficking “buyers club”, delivering fellow HIV victims their desired medication that is unproved by the FDA and has been proven to work more effectively than legal and approved medications. Both McConaughey and supporting actor (and fellow Oscar winner) Jarred Leto lost substantial amounts of weight to pursue their respective roles, them being arguably the boldest and most challenging roles of their careers. They were both truly powerful, inspiring and Oscar-worthy performances to say the least.


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