Neil Fox on film: My ‘Dirty Dozen’ for 2012

Every year reviewer Neil Fox picks his top films of the past 12 months. How many did you see, and how many did you rate so highly?

The Master

Inevitably, predictably it’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest at the top. It has haunted me since seeing it. Unnervingly meaningful and exquisitely beautiful it features an incredible central performance from Joaquin Phoenix. There really is nothing like it.

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

This devastating meditation on time, crime and community is sparse, visually stunning and utterly engrossing. A close contender for the best of the year and another destined for long-term greatness.

Berberian Sound Studio

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Peter Strickland follows up the brilliant Katalin Varga with this strange and ambitious horror drama and it’s even better. Toby Jones is an odd sound recordist holed up in an Italian film studio making schlock, and losing his mind. The most impressive and unique British film of the year.

Shut Up And Play The Hits

Fanboy alert. I adore LCD Soundsystem and this document of their final days is a superb dissection of the creative impulse, and a moving and stunning concert film that manages to capture the energy and wonder of the band’s impact on fans and incendiary live show. I smiled, I cried, I got goosebumps. They will be missed.

Killing Them Softly

Powerful, caustic, stylish and blackly funny, Andrew Dominik’s political pulp is angry and dark and amazing. Slick and containing amazing performances it’s one of the best genre movies of recent years.


Finally it arrived, Kenneth Lonergan’s follow up to the wonderful You Can Count On Me hit screens after a long battle and it didn’t disappoint. A layered, operatic and melodramatic human drama, criminally withheld from our view for too long.

Moonrise Kingdom

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Wes Anderson again marries idea and delivery into a moving and perfectly unique piece of whimsy that appeals to fans and non-fans. Too Wes Anderson-y? No such thing.

Holy Motors

Bizarre, searching, cinematic, idiosyncratic and off the wall crazy. Leos Carax’ deconstruction of mortality, technology and cinema is that all too rare experience, a unique film.

The Muppets

The feelgood movie of the year. No film made me smile more. Funny, good hearted and wonderfully crafted. All hail the Henson heroes.


It came out early on in 2012, but stayed with me. Steve McQueen confirms the promise of Hunger with a scathing portrait of modern masculinity and post-millennial disconnection.


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Argentinian pulp crime of the highest order. The film features one of the great modern actors Ricardo Darin and is a brilliant melding of crime narrative and social conscience.


Cronenberg adds to a great year of films that question modern technological reliance and the distance it creates with this stylish, darkly funny fable featuring Robert Pattinson as the ultimate corporate shell.

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