It’s difficult to ascribe movies with a nationality, given that the murky business of film finance is nebulous at best (now more than ever), based more on tax breaks than creative concerns. Fitting with this model, this list is also nebulous, as some of the movies shown here aren’t completely British, whatever that is. Some will feature American actors or American directors, but it’s important to try not to get your knickers in a twist.
2013 was an unusually fecund year for British cinema. Sure, you still had the usual Cockney-gangster turds that get released every year – and, shudder, Diana – but there were also a lot of great movies released. Other notables not featured here include Spike Island, Byzantium, Welcome to the Punch, Trance and Sunshine on Leith. Never has there been a better time to live in the UK, film-wise. Despite the UK government simultaneously demanding more mainstream films as good as Harry Potter or Skyfall and cancelling funding to the UK Film Council in 2011 just after The King’s Speech cleaned house at the Academy awards, a film industry somehow still exists that is capable of making visible movies on a worldwide scale, if not ones that necessarily turn a profit.
Does 2013’s run of great British films bode well for 2014? I think it does. There’s plenty of solid flicks from the UK on the horizon, including A Slight Trick of the Mind (Sherlock Holmes in an old people’s home), AfterDeath (sci-fi horror in a beach house) and Black Sea (Jude Law looks for gold in the black sea). That’s just three of what are sure to be many great films from our tiny but formidable island. We might be roughly the same size as Michigan, but what has Michigan contributed lately? Nothing Michigan has done in 2013 compares to the lunatic majesty of Alpha Papa, or the hallucinogenic beauty of A Field In England. Anyway, enough about Michigan, I’m sick of Michigan.
On with the list, presented here in no particular order or bias. Enjoy!