Back to IndieWire

Sundance 2012: The Great, the Good, and the Blah

Sundance 2012: The Great, the Good, and the Blah

I’m finished with Sundance 2012. And despite some painfully frustrating circuitous shuttle rides, this year’s American independent movie brouhaha was a fairly good one. As I have mentioned before: some strong docs, as always, and a number of bold indie films that dared to go against the commercial grain.

I count a total of four movies—two from U.S. directors—that I believe are powerful works of cinematic storytelling that spoke to my personal tastes. Which, as I also mentioned previously, is just enough to make it a memorable festival. And there are probably a handful of New Frontiers films I should have seen and would have appreciated, but didn’t have the time to seek out. Ay, that’s the rub of Sundance.

Indeed, I feel sorry for all those reporters who had to attend the glossy films in the Premieres section every night—nearly every one of them a more tiresome and banal reflection of what middlebrow movies can be. For all those who loved “The Surrogate,” I say look past the tender subject matter, and at the movie more closely and you’ll begin to see its faults, its slim character development, its awkward intercutting. And this is a movie that should have everyone in the audience bawling by the end. But it’s just not that good.

Anyway, here’s my evaluative breakdown of the 18 films I saw from Sundance 2012:

Top of the heap…

“Searching for Sugar Man” – blurb
“Compliance” – review
“Simon Killer” – review
“The Law In These Parts” – blurb


“Safety Not Guaranteed” – review
“The End of Love” – review
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” – review

Strong Docs…

“The Imposter”
“Under African Skies” – review
“Playback” – review
“The House I Live In” – review

Solid, but not for me…

“Keep The Lights On” – review
“The Surrogate” – review

Still wrestling with…

“Nobody Walks” – review

Watcheable mainstream blah…

“Robot and Frank”
“Arbitrage” – review

Just plain annoying….

“2 Days in New York” – review

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox