Dec 182013

And so, it’s that time. I’ve curated/obsessed over my best of the year list since late 2012 when I started seeing some of the 2013 releases early. I am really such a list nerd (really, it’s quite sad). This list is based exclusively on films which had a cinema release in Australia in 2013. It could have been a single cinema, but it had to have a release. Festival only titles, direct-to-dvd and films I have seen this year which don’t release until next year (such as 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska) were not included. I will release a second list in March 2014 which is all 2013 films (films released here between March 1, 2013 and Feb 2014, festival titles and anything I saw which didn’t get a release).

Without further adieu, my list of the best films of 2013 (based on Australian cinema releases) is after the jump!

30. Stoker (Chan-wook Park) 29. The Best Offer (Giuseppe Tornatore) 28. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn) 27. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell) 26. Mystery Road (Ivan Sen) 25. Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro) 24. Amour (Michael Haneke) 23. Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green) 22. Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding-Refn) 21. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)


20. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)


19. Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan)


18. The Rocket (Kim Mordaunt)


17. The Way Way Back (Jim Rash, Nat Faxon)


16. 20 Feet From Stardom (Morgan Neville)


15. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)


14. Drinking Buddies (Joe Swanberg)


13. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)


12. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)


11. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)


10. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)


9. West of Memphis (Amy Berg)


8. The Hunt (Thomas Vinterberg)


7. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)


6. Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon)


5. Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton)


4. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)


3. The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance)


2. The Imposter (Bart Layton)


1. Cloud Atlas ( Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski)


Funny how my favourite film of the year ended up being one I saw back in February – that says a lot considering how much I’ve loved this year. I admired Cloud Atlas immensely the first time, but it was the rewatch which cemented it as my number one. A film with this many timelines, characters and stories shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. The themes and music (the film has my favourite original score of the year) ties everything together seamlessly. 2013 has been an amazing year for film; I really don’t understand anyone who says they haven’t liked much. I figure, they just haven’t seen enough. Bring on 2014!

By Sam McCosh


  11 Responses to “Best Films of 2013”

  1. Great list, Sam.

    Cloud Atlas missed out on my top 50 last year, maybe I should have given it a rewatch as you did, as I did appreciate many aspects of it.

    I adored Captain Phillips, The Spectacular Now, Prisoners and Fruitvale Station too.

    • CLOUD ATLAS really grew on me when I rewatched it. There’s just so much going on, that I think you pick more up the second time around. Glad we had a few more in common this year Alex. Looking forward to seeing your list.

  2. Hey Sam, once again I’m shamed; I’m still putting my list together! Excellent choices here, I’ll have a few of these on mine too. Overall 2013 was a pretty good year. Bring on 2014 (in two weeks, lol). Dwayne.

    • You’ve definitely said “I liked it”, more than you’ve said “It was okay” this year 🙂 Great year of films. I’m pretty sure I know what your number one is, but I’m not sure on the rest. Looking forward to seeing it.

  3. Quite a few film I have yet to see. Films like Fruitvale Station have not even had a release date in the UK. It is things like this that really bug me when studios and people connected to the film industry complain about piracy. The time between some release dates is utterly ridiculous.

    Did you think Dark Zero |Thirty condoned torture or suggest torture was helpful in the capturing of Bin Laden?

    • I hear you on the release dates thing. There are a lot of things we don’t get or get later in Australia. I don’t really understand how they decide what should play where.

      I don’t think Zero Dark Thirty condoned torture. I think they showed it for what it is. An awful, sickening thing, which sometimes gets important information. I don’t think it really passed judgement.

      • I think have different release date for adverting and publicizing the film, draw attention to it. Film will make more money if you publicizing in several different countries and you can’t do it all at once, but it is still so frustrating not being able to see Best Picture nominees until February, especially for us bloggers.

        I agree with you on Dark Zero Thirty, one writer compared Bigalow to Leni Riefenstahl (a ludicrous comparison). Also, it is clear that intelligence information and not torture was key to catching bin Laden.

  4. Great list Sam! I’m so glad Pines has stayed in the mind of many of my favorite bloggers. I thought that film was really bold and special.

    I love the variety of all your picks!

    • thanks! there aren’t as many foreign language films as usual, but I like that there is a variety of genres. Imagine only liking a couple of things? So boring.

  5. Nice list. Sadly my modest cinema going means I’ve only seen 4 of your top 30 films at the cinema this year. Cloud Atlas I saw on DVD, but found it terrible. The Hunt was amazing, but I saw it at the cinema in 2012. West of Memphis, The Way Way Back and Only God Forgives were all good watches on DVD for me this year. Zero Dark Thirty’s final act was interesting, but the build up was a mess. The main thing I get from your list is just how many film’s I’ve missed out on and will hopefully come my way via DVD this year!

    • I certainly understand why many people disliked CLOUD ATLAS, but it all just came together so wonderfully for me. I’m lucky to see so many films at the cinema (154 in 2013). Hopefully you’ll enjoy a few of those on DVD.

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