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 Mannís 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 yearís funniest moments on film.
Fahrenheit 9/11: The hype and carefully constructed publicity campaign overshadowed the final film, yet despite itís 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 yearís best soundtracks and contained some wonderful touches in itís 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 Webberís take on Tracy Chevalierís best seller contained a satisfying degree of passion in telling the story of Vermeer and his mysterious muse. Eduardo Serraís cinematography more than did justice to the Dutch artistís use of colour and light.
House of Flying Daggers: Zhang Yimouís 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 Yimouís 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 Scottís visual style and the sound editing made it an engrossing experience.