As promised here are my thoughts on the other main contenders.
The Social Network was primarily a superb script (Aaron Sorkin) and a brilliant demonstration of how fast time moves. It also captured the modern media zeitgeist with brilliant observations. Fincher made sure that he didn’t portray MZ as an all American hero. He was neither a hero nor a villain. You admired his brilliance but disliked his lack of loyalty. Well worth revisiting on DVD – which is always a good accolade for a movie.
Inception was mesmerizing and baffling. Visually it did not live up to the trailer but the Paris dream scene will probably remain in cinematography folklore. I found the fighting scenes in the snow a bit too Bond-ish and tedious. Having seen it the second time, I still think that Nolan has managed to create a great combination of blockbuster-meets-arthouse science fiction movie. And don’t even dare liken it to the Matrix… Much better and far more complex…
The Fighter is based on a true story and it almost feels like a British socialist/realist movie a la Ken Loach. This is a snapshot of the tragicomic life of a very dysfunctional blue-collar family in which boxing is the only means of ‘airing’ one’s talent. The elder brother’s former momentary success simply paves the way to addiction. A classic ‘has been’, yet very oblivious of it. The younger brother is swayed between enhancing the legacy, family loyalty and attempts to forge his own identity. The director’s strong point is his brilliantly observed depiction of a ‘run of the mill’ inspirational story without over-sentimentalising it. It feels like a really good documentary that makes you smile and moves you to tears. BTW, Christian Bale was absolutely sensational.
True Grit was slow, measured and very classy. It felt like I was watching a play rather than a movie. That tells you that it was all about the story and the actors. Of course, the young actress, Hailee Steinfield stole the show, while Jeff Bridges mumbled his way through the script while still acting brilliantly. I have never seen the original – but this felt like a classic movie that you never tire watching again and again. As an unexpected plus, it seemed to be very funny all throughout.