It seems like most films these days are considered indie to some degree, with more and more popular faces doing “smaller” pictures. That’s not to say there are no films being created by outsiders that go on to strike a chord with viewers through unlikely casting and challenging themes. In fact, 2012 saw quality films from both sides of the aisle — making it a great year for arthouses and bold experimentation in storytelling.
Tim Heidecker made a big impact in the indie film world this year with two very different films. Early in 2012, he co-wrote/co-directed/co-starred in Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie alongside Eric Wareheim. But it was The Comedy that finally ingratiated him to critics. In the Rick Alverson film, Heidecker plays an aging hipster who grows tired of his trust fund safety bubble and decides to test the limits of socially acceptable behavior. To say more would be to say too much, but it’s a tough film that sticks with you.
Directed by Oscar favorite David O. Russell and starring a few of the biggest actors in Hollywood, Silver Linings Playbook is truly the little film that could.
Director Benh Zeitlin cast a bakery employee and a six-year old first-time actress for his debut feature. You can’t get more indie than that without dressing Parker Posey in clothes that match the wallpaper behind her.
Besides having one of the best last names on the planet, Zal Batmanglij made a splash with his first feature, The Sound Of My Voice. It didn’t hurt to have longtime collaborator and indie darling Brit Marling on board. But I like to think she agreed to do it because of his last name.
Of all the indie films to make an impact this year, this is the only one that features a robot which is awesome in its own right. But this film isn’t one to rest solely on the awesome laurels of featuring a robot. Instead, the film deals with the idea of adapting to technological change at an old age while also shining a light on the death of print culture in favor of digital media. And there are also jewel heists which are awesome as well.