David Dencik and Gary Oldman in 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'. Click for more photos

The best films of 2012

David Dencik and Gary Oldman in 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'.

M Mag's two resident movie reviewers pick their top ten films of the year.

Craig Mathieson

 1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
2. Killing Them Softly
3. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Magic Mike
5. The Queen of Versailles
6. Lore
7. Footnote
8. Holy Motors
9. A Separation
10. The Deep Blue Sea

In a year when too many films ran long, economy was a key virtue. It defined the visceral and concise storytelling that helped make Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy such a triumph, as well as the warily tragic performance given by Brad Pitt in Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly. This was a year when veterans as diverse as Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike) and the perpetually enigmatic Leos Carax (Holy Motors) delivered movies among their best, while the breadth of newcomers took in a compelling documentary about American excess (Lauren Greenfield's The Queen of Versailles) and a tenderly black Israeli comedy (Joseph Cedar's Footnote). If 2011's pictures were focused on the cinema's past, in 2012 the best titles looked ahead and were daunted by little.


Ed Gibbs

 1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
2. End of Watch
3. Hugo
4. The Intouchables
5. Lore
6. A Royal Affair
7. A Separation
8. The Sessions
9. Shadow Dancer
10. Shame

This year brought the return of the mega blockbuster (The Avengers), the bowing of Batman (The Dark Knight Rises), the renaissance of Bond (Skyfall), and a boom for indigenous Australia (The Sapphires). Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin's rich odyssey inside a bayou community, delivered a rousing message of hope for the needy, the dispossessed and the planet as a whole. Martin Scorsese's Hugo was a deliciously colourful ode to the birth and joy of cinema, reminding us why 3D still matters. In Australian film, Lore, Cate Shortland's follow-up to 2004's Somersault, found an exquisite fresh talent in Saskia Rosendahl.