Empire's Top 20 Films Of The Year

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Each December, the writers of Empire get together and vote for their favourite films released during that calendar year. All our writers put together a top ten list, all of which are then compiled into a final verdict on that year’s releases – and please note that, since this reflects the UK release schedule, films like True Grit and Black Swan were not eligible this time around, whereas Precious and A Single Man were. But now read on to learn about the films you should have seen in 2010…

Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire

Any attempt to summarise the plot of this film must make it sound like a must-avoid feel-bad extravaganza. Social deprivation, child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, incest, Mariah Carey – you name it, it’s all there. But this was the feel-bad-then-feel-good surprise of 2010, with Precious herself, despite her illiteracy and appalling home life, maintaining a sense of self and of destiny that somehow drags the viewer out of the sloughs of despondency and along with her. It’s one of those films carried along by extraordinary performances, particularly from newcomer Gabourey Sidibe as Precious and deserved Oscar winner Mo’Nique as her monstrous, ruined mother. One of the most shocking, surprising, redemptive films of 2010.

brightcove.createExperiences();- Read Empire's review of Precious


Think of this one as 24 meets Das Boot in an Israeli tank during the early ’80s Lebanon war. A lone tank and its four crew are sent to search a hostile town. It’s an apparently simple mission but it swiftly goes FUBAR as events take a spin for the violent and the largely untried crew find themselves at war for the first time. Capturing the fears and emotions of the young soldiers who comprise the crew, and never, ever glamourising the conflict, this won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and is a powerful anti-war statement. Following on from Waltz With Bashir, this puts the spotlight on a largely forgotten war, but as a piece of filmmaking it’s riveting, claustrophobic, topical and poignant.

brightcove.createExperiences();- Read Empire's review of Lebanon

Valhalla Rising

Viking movies were about as fashionable as mullets until 2010, but between this effort from Nicolas Winding Refn and the more knockabout cartoon marauders in How To Train Your Dragon, it looks like they