Cinema's Labyrinth

The year in film, 2006

Alejandro González Iñárritu (l) and Brad Pitt on the set of <i>Babel</i>
Alejandro González Iñárritu (l) and Brad Pitt on the set of Babel

Marc Savlov's Top 10

1. Babel – Alejandro González Iñárritu's film gives no quarter to, and precious little hope for, the future of mankind. Still, beneath the globalized dread beats a cinematic heart of righteous, unsullied honesty.

2. Pan's Labyrinth – Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece recognizes that the grandest and grimmest of childhood fairy tales are never further away than here, now. Thankfully, so are hope, courage, and GdT.

3. The Science of Sleep – Love, actually, and with Charlotte Gainsbourg, to boot.

<i>The Science of Sleep</i>
The Science of Sleep

4. The Departed – A quartet of actors working at the peaks of their powers, this is viciously entertaining Scorsese loping wolflike down mean streets we'd almost thought he'd forgotten.

5. The Devil and Daniel Johnston – Heartbreaking, rapturous, sublime, Austin. The year's best documentary, bar none.

<i>The Devil and Daniel Johnston</i>
The Devil and Daniel Johnston

6. Brick – Rian Johnson's directorial debut fused classic film noir existentialism to the hell called high school and did it with enough hipster sangfroid to make even Ross MacDonald do the six-under spin.

7. Half Nelson – Ryan Gosling's crackhead high school teacher with a heart of gold was a double whammy, upending entrenched Hollywoodisms and leaving you wondering: What can't this guy do?

<i>Half Nelson</i>
Half Nelson

8. United 93 – I'll not watch it twice, but director Paul Greengrass' stoic recounting of when the impossible engulfed – but never fully overwhelmed – a handful of ordinary human beings is everything I hoped and feared it might be.

9. V for Vendetta – Why call it "the perfect comic book adaptation" when it's so obviously a new generation's 1984? Exhilarating in every sense of the word.

10. Borat: CLAMBGNK – With so many troubled scenarios – both in and out of the cineplex – it was downright wonderful to have Cohen's alter ego bust my jaw with this sneaky, outrageous, and very, very smart roundhouse punch.


Lady Vengeance, Room, Cavite, The Puffy Chair, Little Miss Sunshine


<i>Marie Antoinette</i>
Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, A Prairie Home Companion, Inside Man


The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story, Brothers of the Head


Harry Treadaway & Luke Treadaway (Brothers of the Head), Gael García Bernal (The Science of Sleep), Daniel Craig (Casino Royale)


Asia Argento (The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things), Cyndi Williams (Room), Alice Braga (Lower City)


Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Paul Greengrass (United 93)


V for Vendetta (Andy and Larry Wachowski), Brick (Rian Johnson), The Departed (William Monahan)


Basic Instinct 2 – Kinda like a slo-mo car crash on a blood-slick highway, with Sharon Stone impaled on the steering column and no clown-car ambulance-disco in sight. Exactly like that, actually.


As If There's Not Enough Random Despair in the World Already? Department: NYC's sui generis indie-film icon Adrienne Shelly is murdered over a noise dispute. Sigh.

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