Features & News

Three Years: A Retrospective

As the last few weeks of university come to pass, it occurs to me that there are many things I have wanted to discuss when it comes to my experiences with film in the last three years. Just as most people will say that their time at university has seemingly passed far too quickly, alas, I also have run out of time. Upon reflection, the past few years have provided a plethora of great films and cinematic moments that we should remember with great fondness when we look back at our time in Nottingham.

Of course the last three years have been a great success for the British film contingent. The Academy Award success of Slumdog Millionaire is one the most noticeable examples, but the return of directors such as Ken Loach with Looking For Eric, as well as the continuing success of young actors such as Carey Mulligan in An Education and Nicholas Hoult in A Single Man, further proves that Britain’s contribution to film remains among some of the most revered and respected in global cinema.

We can also look back to record-breaking sensations such as The Dark Knight in the summer of 2008, a quasi art house blockbuster that was both hugely popular with the public and the critics. While Heath Ledger’s untimely death will forever be associated with the second instalment of the rejuvenated Batman franchise, the film should quite rightly be remembered for the acting of a truly unique talent.

Returning franchises, actors and directors have dominated the film headlines over the last three years with the likes of James Cameron and Robert Downey Jr. returning to the heights of their powers – although Zodiac proved Downey Jr. still had genuine acting potential prior to Iron Man. No one could forget however, the comeback of comebacks by fellow former Hollywood hell-raiser and current co-star in Iron Man 2, Mickey Rourke. A more humble Rourke would turn in a stunning ‘close to home’ performance in The Wrestler that was only bettered by good friend Sean Penn in Milk at the Oscars.

I suppose the past few years will mostly be remembered for the rise of 3D films, yet I would urge you to seek out some of the films that, I believe, have made the last three years so memorable. Choke, one of several zany and offbeat adaptations, which provided one of the most stirring cinematic moments in living memory. Waltz with Bashir and Where The Wild Things Are contained some of the most stunning animated visuals of recent times, but perhaps the two filmmakers that have best served the last three years have been Joel and Ethan Coen. No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading and A Serious Man provided a spectrum of emotions from enthralling tension, to shock laughs and mild bemusement, making the Coen’s the standout filmmakers of my time at university.

So, as many of us are coming to the end of our stay in Nottingham, I must say it’s been a pleasure to be a fellow companion and for those that still have time remaining, treasure it, as it doesn’t last forever.

Jack Jones

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