Exclaim! Critics' Top Films of 2008

Exclaim! Critics' Top Films of 2008
1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. Wall-E
3. The Wrestler
4. The Dark Knight
5. Let the Right One In



1. Slumdog Millionaire
(Directed by Danny Boyle)

This Dickensian tale begins in the slums of Mumbai, India and spans 20 years. We witness the rise of a megalopolis and the maturity of orphan Jamal, who survives street life to grow into a decent young man. However, Jamal's older brother falls into the underworld, while Jamal searches for a beloved orphan girl. This harrowing fairytale is structured around the TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with each question illustrating a specific point in Jamal's life. Dazzling visuals, electrifying bhangra rock and mesmerizing pacing perfectly complement the harrowing tales of these three slum dogs. (Fox Searchlight)
Allan Tong



2. Wall-E
(Directed by Andrew Stanton)

That it would be among the strongest animated features ever was to be expected from Pixar, but that its universal morality and touching romantic sentiment would transcend genre and style to raise Wall-E to the upper echelons of post-millennial filmmaking is a delightful surprises. This epic, sparsely worded tale of a little robot holding on to love in a wasted world has again raised the bar of cinematic potential. (Pixar)
Scott A. Gray



3. The Wrestler
(Directed by Darren Aronofsky)

Attention has been rightfully lavished on Mickey Rourke for an incredible performance as an '80s squared circle success turned beaten-down slab of meat. But as ink spread paralleling Rourke's own derailed acting career with that of Randy "the Ram" Robinson, Aronofsky's remarkable accomplishment - the film itself - has been largely forgotten. Eschewing stylistic tics and pseudo-philosophical musings, Aronofksky creates an intimate and heartbreaking portrait of failed potential and fading hope. If it was easy, wouldn't someone else have revived Rourke before now? (Alliance)
James Keast



4.The Dark Knight
(Directed by Christopher Nolan)
The late Heath Ledger's Joker breeds a special anarchy, a cut-your-smile lunacy, and the scenes he steals are seven minutes in hell. A tip-off that a movie is fantastic? When Christian Bale delivers the second-best performance. In '08, Nolan's visceral Dark Knight single-handedly pumped life into both the summer blockbuster and the sagging superhero genre, and then, as a bonus, spawned Halloween costumes aplenty. (Warner)
Luke Fox



5. Let the Right One In
(Directed by Tomas Alfredson)

Alfredson's breathtaking adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel was a remarkable discovery. When bullied 12-year-old Oskar befriends his new next-door neighbour Eli, he can't help but notice that with her arrival comes a series of horrifying, unexplained murders. As they grow closer, Oskar learns that Eli may be a bloodsucker, but she offers him support and care like no one else can. Putting a spin on both love stories and vampire flicks, Let the Right One In's otherworldly fairy tale is as gorgeous as it is severe. (Mongrel Media)
Cam Lindsay