2013 – A Film Retrospective


It might seem strange to be thinking of 2013 right now. But, if we consider the Oscars, as well as the Baftas and the Golden Globes, they all are ceremonies for the achievements of 2013. So, at the start of 2014, I’d like to take a quick look back at the achievements (or lack thereof) of last year. I would like to recognise the films that have not appeared on this site, before continuing on to some of the best films of this year and the film that, I would say, is the best of 2013. To conclude I’d like to make several observations on what is going in Cinema right now.


The Shock Omissions


Here, I wish to mention all the films that, for some reason or another, I didn’t get a chance to see. Reasons for their inclusion in this list can be that I simply chose other films but later learnt of their popularity. Or there was an enthusiasm on my part, that may or may not have been met by the public. In spite of these reasons I have still yet to see any of them. In alphabetical order:


After Earth (d. M. Night Shyamalan USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Captain Phillips (d. Paul Greengrass USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Despicable Me 2 (d. Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Fast & Furious 6 (d. Justin Lin USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Gravity (d. Alfonso Cuarón USA/UK 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Man of Steel (d. Zack Snyder USA/Canada/UK 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Oldboy (d. Spike Lee USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Oz the Great and Powerful (d. Sam Raimi USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

The Great Gatsby (d. Baz Luhrmann Australia/USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com

Thor: The Dark World (d. Alan Taylor USA 2013) – rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com


The Honourable Mentions


Here I wish to mention all films that I would like to honour, despite not making the top film of 2013. All have qualities that mark their brilliance but also lack a particular something. This has been confined to a list of five films. In alphabetical Order:


Escape Plan (d. Mikael Håfström USA 2013) Review

Filth (d. Jon S. Baird UK 2013) Review

Pacific Rim (d. Guillermo del Toro USA 2013) Review

Star Trek Into Darkness (d. J. J. Abrams USA 2013) Review

This is the End (d. Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen USA 2013) Review


The Top Film of 2013


About Time (d. Richard Curtis UK 2013) Review



Notes on The Cinema in 2013


2013 seems to show that we are still in an era of the remake, adaptation and sequel. Many films follow on from an already established franchise. Furthermore, with films like Escape Plan and Pacific Rim, we can observe a feeling of nostalgia. Both films serve as tribute to actors and/or films that have been before despite the originality of the story itself. With films such as The World’s End (d. Edgar Wright UK 2013), Filth and Broken City (d. Allen Hughes USA 2013) a certain frustration can be observed for the status quo, and with films such as Pacific Rim, White House Down (d. Roland Emmerich USA 2013), World War Z (d. Marc Forster USA/Malta 2013), This is the End and Elysium (d. Neill Blomkamp USA 2013) (to name a few) we can see this bitter frustration manifest itself in widespread destruction. The suggestion is that we, as a society, are dissatisfied with the state of present reality. We want to see our worlds torn apart and dream of what was. All the while we are dreaming of being superheroes like the stars of Iron Man 3 (d. Shane Black USA/China 2013), The Wolverine (d. James Mangold Australia/USA 2013) or Man of Steel.



Technically and narratively there can be seen some areas of experimentation. About Time plays with temporal reality, whilst Prisoners (d. Denis Villeneuve USA 2013) and Now You See Me (d. Louis Leterrier France/USA 2013) play with characters and space. With the reliance on franchises already established, we can observe, at the same time, a certain amount of skepticism. We are looking to be more but are also scared to see more. Cinematography shows the same tendency with various successes. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (d. Peter Jackson USA/New Zealand 2013) saw the failure of the go pro shots. But a film such as Filth, 47 Ronin (d. Carl Rinsch USA 2013) or The Wolf of Wall Street (d. Martin Scorsese USA 2013) shows a willingness to explore different ways of expressing moments in film. They each, to a small degree, push the boundaries on Colour, Depth of Field, Cinematography or CGI.


Ultimately, 2013 doesn’t show a big move forward. It is obvious we’re stuck in the present, unable to move forward. Paradoxically shown within Carrie (d. Kimberly Pierce USA 2013) as it is a remake, and so looks to the past, but also embraces a depiction of the new technology (in the ways in which the characters are bullied). Cinema is almost a frightened child, curious as to what it can be but always far too frightened to stray far from home. And so, to 2014!


Further Reading


Problems with Modern Blockbusters

The Style of 5 Modern Directors

Interview with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas

Intensified Continuity

The Way Hollywood Tells It – Introduction


Archived Reviews

The Wolf of Wolf Street

American Hustle

47 Ronin

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Saving Mr Banks

Carrie (2013)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Escape Plan


Blue Jasmine


Runner Runner

White House Down

About Time



We’re The Millers

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Lone Ranger

The Wolverine

The World’s End

Pacific Rim

This Is The End

World War Z

Now You See Me

The Last Exorcism Part 2

The Purge

Star Trek: Into Darkness

21 & Over

The Croods

Iron Man 3

Evil Dead (2013)


Welcome To The Punch

Broken City

A Good Day To Die Hard

2014     N/A

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