All in all, I feel like most movies this year got credit where it was due. More so than usual anyway. Still I feel like there have been some movies that have somehow or other gotten a bad rep either from critics or audiences or both and this award is meant to give them a place to shine.
- Cloud Atlas: Cloud Atlas was a bold experiment of a film, at least by the standards of 100 million dollar special effects films with large Hollywood casts. It wasn’t perfect, and some people disliked it for valid reasons, but I feel like a lot of people dismissed it out of sheer closed mindedness. I understand that a three hour film which tells six stories with cast members playing multiple roles could be a little hard for some audiences to handle, but maybe critics should be challenging them to broaden their horizons rather than indulging them in their biases.
- Compliance: There’s something about this movie that pisses some people off. When it debuted at Sundance there were reportedly a number of walkouts and the press conference after the screening was… hostile. This reputation followed the movie to its main release, where it got a slightly more open minded reception from the general release critics but I still feel like it didn’t get the audience it needed. The film recreates a compelling and disturbing story and I don’t think it sparked the public debate that it should have.
- Kill List: It might be different on the other side of the Atlantic, but Kill List never got a fair shake in the America simply because it had a really shaky release schedule. Rather than giving the film a real platformed release, IFC threw the film out on VOD in January (a month where no one is focusing on this kind of genre fare) and then just barely put in just ten theaters a month later. Consequently, the film never really became the center of discussion and was only seen by the most dedicated of horror fans.
- Prometheus: Maybe not under-appreciated so much as ridiculously over-bashed. Granted, the film’s detractors did have legitimate reasons to be disappointed, the film has problems, but good god the way this film was nitpicked to death was disappointing. I feel like the internet has made film-goers way to sensitive to “plot holes” possibly because they need to find ways to “objectively” judge a film rather than relying on a subjective opinion (The Dark Knight Rises suffered from this trend as well).
- Red Hook Summer: I think there’s something categorically unfair about the way that Steven Soderbergh has had every last experimental whim indulged by both critics and the studios while Spike Lee’s more experimental works have largely been either ignored or treated with hostility. This latest effort of his is far from perfect, but it harkens back to the kind of personal filmmaking that characterized Lee’s work in the 90s, and that was something I was more than happy to relive.