Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Best of Whatever - Nerd of Noir

Seeing as a shit ton of respectable folks have weighed in on the best crime shit of 2010 book-wise already, I figured I'd hip you motherfuckers to some great crime flicks you may have missed in theaters this year. And though this year has been a fairly solid one for American crime movies (Debra Granik's Winter's Bone and Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me spring instantly to mind), the Nerd thought he'd restrict this list to foreign films, of which there were some fucking beauts in 2010.

Prison Pictures:

French director Jacques Audiard (the dude behind the similarly fucking swell crime films The Beat That My Heart Skipped and Read My Lips) gave us the epic prison drama A Prophet, the story of young man's rise to power in a maximum security penitentiary. This shit was intense, smart, exciting and both intimate and grand at the same time. While A Prophet got a bunch of hoidy-toidy awards at Cannes and elsewhere, don't be fooled into thinking that this shit is anything less than nasty, down-and-dirty genre shit at its best.

Less acknowledged but no less agonizingly intense was Daniel Monzon's Spanish prison thriller Cell 211. The story of an innocent prison employee trying to hide his identity from the inmates in the midst of a vicious prison riot, Cell 211 had all the twists, turns and ticking clock plot intensity that pretty much guarantees Hollywood will take a swing at the material sometime soon. That said, if such an adaptation is to go down, it's doubtful the American remake will take the story into the shockingly full-dark extremes that Monzon's film gleefully fucking free falls into.

Krazy-ass Korean Shit:

While your average movie-goer was probably aware of the fine adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a far better subtitled mystery came and went from the theaters without much fanfare: Bong Joon-ho's Mother. This South Korean thriller told the story of a fucking creepily over-protective mother's investigation into a murder her mentally retarded son is suspected of having committed. The mystery plot is nicely executed, but the real reason to watch is the great performances, weird tonal shifts, and fucking nasty things the titular mother is willing to do to keep her son out of jail.

Keeping shit in South Korea, Hong-jin Na's Chaser was an endlessly surprising thriller about a Seoul pimp chasing (how fucking aptly titled!) down the psychopath who is murdering his prostitutes. The violence in this beast hits insanely fucking harsh and the story is both twisty and simple at the same time, with plenty of that signature Korean oddness in tone bleeding through every scene.

Aussie Awesomeness:

Nash Edgerton made a lot of old school noir junkies blissfully thumb their ball bags like it was their job with The Square, a nasty piece of work like we haven't seen since Blood Simple. With its dark sense of humor and agonizingly tense plot, a sick fuck like myself couldn't ask for a better, more blood-spattered time at the movies than this beast. Well, except for maybe...

Animal Kingdom, David Michod's brilliant portrait of a family of criminals and their fall from power. No film in 2010 hit me harder emotionally nor surprised me with its sheer originality than this motherfucker. In nearly fucking every moment of the film, Animal Kingdom manages to both violently upset our expectations and deliver the genre goods at the same time, making for one of the most invigorating experiences one could have at the movies in a very strong year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The Nerd of Noir's shit can be found at his blog, at Spinetingler Magazine, and Crimefactory, where he writes the Crime Sleeper Double Feature. His name is really Pete Dragovich, because if he ever saw "Noir, Nerd O." listed in a phonebook he'd want to drive over and shoot that poor son of a bitch in the face too.


  1. i'm off to look at my love-film list

  2. The only one that I've sen is A Prophet, which I liked a lot. I'll keep an eye out for the others, especially those Oz films.

  3. It really was the year of the MOTHER, wasn't. Larger than life mothers in so many movies. This would mirror my list from what I've seen of these.

  4. Every one of these sounds good and are going on my tbw list. Hopefully not that hard to find them all.