Andrew O’Hehir lists his Top 10 Films at Salon.
3. Take Shelter
Sadly, Michael Shannon’s massive, almost demonic performance as a working-class Ohio man possessed by apocalyptic visions will be overlooked by the Oscars, as will writer-director Jeff Nichols’ terrifying Weather Channel-meets-”The Omen” horror movie. But no other American film released in 2011 captured the desperate national mood the way this low-budget indie did. And don’t miss superb supporting turns from Jessica Chastain and Shea Whigham.
5. Mysteries of Lisbon
If you miss the fancy-dress, densely plotted 19th-century soap operas that European cinema used to do so well, then this one’s for you. In the hands of Raúl Ruiz, a vastly underappreciated Chilean director who’s spent most of his career in France, a legendary Portuguese novel by Camilo Castelo Branco about an orphan’s search for his patrimony becomes a dense and intoxicating weave of nested narratives, after the fashion of Dickens or Balzac.
6. A Separation (not yet reviewed)
8. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
9. Meek’s Cutoff
10. Putty Hill
Honorable mention: Mike Mills explores his relationship with his late gay dad (marvelously played by Christopher Plummer) in the affectionate and almost miraculous “Beginners”; Christian monks face death in Algeria in Xavier Beauvois’ “Of Gods and Men”; a French neighborhood rallies around an immigrant kid in Aki Kaurismäki’s whimsical “Le Havre”; Tilda Swinton plays a mom in hell in Lynne Ramsay’s hypnotic “We Need to Talk About Kevin”; Gary Oldman hunts a Cold War mole in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”; Michael Fassbender hunts sex 24/7 in Steve McQueen’s “Shame”; an afternoon in Tuscany pushes two strangers together in Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy”; a woman comes between Freud and Jung in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method”; Martin Scorsese redeems the 3-D era in the gorgeous fantasy-folly “Hugo”; two gay men struggle with love in Andrew Haigh’s touching and irresistible “Weekend.”