The strongest motif of 2010's great movies was that of escape: From reality, in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island -- a prophetic witness to what happens when we refuse, in theologian Donald Shriver’s words, to love a country "enough to remember its misdeeds." From fear, in Clint Eastwood's poetic meditation on death and the supernatural, Hereafter, and in Gaspar Noé's astonishing Enter the Void, which attempts nothing less than making the audience experience what death might be like. From social restrictions, in I Am Love, where Tilda Swinton discovers that money certainly isn’t democratic. And in 127 Hours, from having your arm trapped under a huge rock.
2011 brings a slate of movies that will shock and awe, and disappoint, to be sure. We’ll have the end of Harry Potter, yet another Twilight, and a continuation of the Transformers saga (whose last entry qualifies as one of the worst films ever made, so I’m excited to see if it can be surpassed). But on the hopeful side, The Adjustment Bureau looks to be a thoughtful exploration of choice wrapped up in a science fiction conspiracy thriller; Of Gods and Men is already acclaimed as a magnificent drama of Cistercian monks attempting to resist violent fundamentalism; and The Way Back is the return of Peter Weir -- one of the finest directors, responsible for Witness, Fearless, and The Truman Show -- with the tale of another escape, from a Siberian prison camp in 1940.