Here are my ‘honourable mentions’ of 2004. They are the films that impressed me but just fell short of making the final ‘films of the year’ list.
Collateral: Michael Mann�s latest was slick and stylish though not quite up to the standard of his best work.
Dogville: Lars Von Trier often seems to revel in infuriating his critics and some US reviewers fell right into his trap by taking his ideas and aesthetic way too seriously. Despite a ponderous middle hour this contained some of the year�s funniest moments on film.
Fahrenheit 9/11: The hype and carefully constructed publicity campaign overshadowed the final film, yet despite it�s faults it was still a breath of fresh air to see current affairs make it into the multiplexes this summer.
Garden State: This accomplished debut from writer/director and star Zach Braff featured one of the year�s best soundtracks and contained some wonderful touches in it�s tale of an actor return home to his New Jersey hometown.
Girl With A Pearl Earring: Some literary adaptations can be stodgy affairs but Peter Webber�s take on Tracy Chevalier�s best seller contained a satisfying degree of passion in telling the story of Vermeer and his mysterious muse. Eduardo Serra�s cinematography more than did justice to the Dutch artist�s use of colour and light.
House of Flying Daggers: Zhang Yimou�s second film out this year was not quite as good as Hero but it was still a feast for the eyes. Whilst it lacked the style and beauty of Yimou�s other film it still contained some of the years best action scenes.
Man On Fire: Some US critics detested this thriller starring Denzel Washington as a bodyguard on a mission of revenge in Mexico City. Whilst the style trumps the content, I thought it was one of the more gripping and technically impressive films of the year. Despite the well worn revenge premise and some corny lines, Tony Scott�s visual style and the sound editing made it an engrossing experience.