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The Year of the Anti-hero (Best Films of 2008)


Whether it is a matter of coincidence, schadenfreude or just the copycat nature of Hollywood, this year featured a great deal of morally grey characters. Films that resonated with the times surrounding us. Disconnect, war, an ever-increasing sense of paranoia have seeped into mainstream films like Frost/Nixon, Cloverfield, The Dark Knight and the like.

Maybe this darker trend should not come as a surprise while indie productions like Paramount Vantage, Warner Independent Pictures and Miramax are all closing their doors. The effect won't be felt immediately, but in three-four years, they will be missed. Though if there is any indication, the studios will pick up the slack as they have this year.

A majority of 2008's film were not "good guys". Batman, universally renown for being a hero took an antagonistic turn in Christopher Nolan's genre masterpiece. The other comic-book superhero is predominantly viewed as a playboy with a taste for danger. The whistle-blower of a Catholic Church is demonized by the victim's mother and her fellow members of faith. A personal acting highlight of the year featured an IRA activist slowly starving himself to bring attention to the government attacking his people. Characters like Colin Farrell's Ray in In Bruges don't fit the template of your standard hero and that is what made 2008 so indelible. It was so unique.

Colin's Top Ten
10. Wall-E 
9. Let the Right One In
8. Tropic Thunder
7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
6. Revolutionary Road
5. El orfanato
4. In Bruges
3. Doubt
2. Hunger
1. The Dark Knight

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