After seeing "Doubt" last week, I had to make an adjustment to my "Best & Worst 2008 - Films" list. It was tough to decide which film to take off of my "Best" list, ultimately I decided on removing "Quantum of Solace". Here is why....
1. To put it simply - "Doubt" is a great story. It's original, intense and universal. It's based on the Broadway play and is translated beautifully to the screen with the help of some of the best acting performances of the year. While most stories can be boiled down to "good vs evil" this one is "good vs good" or if you are extremely pessimistic (as I am...) it's "evil vs evil". Who do you trust more: a nun who is set in her old-fashion ways and is ruthless in protecting her beliefs or a Liberal, change-seeking priest that is accused of molesting an alter boy? Usually when one is accused of molesting a young boy, you tend to automatically see their guilt - but what if they are extremely trustworthy, caring, sensitive and charismatic? And what if their is no actual proof of such an occurrence? I guess you can say, I tend to appreciate films that ask questions rather than answer them and this film is a myriad of questions with zero answers.
2. Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams & Viola Davis and their powerhouse performances. Although Viola Davis will probably be the only award winner come Oscar night, all four Actors are incredible. Amy Adams shines as a naive nun who unintentionally causes a whole lot of drama. Although this is the last role where I will tolerate her as a vapid, wide-eyed ingenue (Junebug, Enchanted, Catch Me If You Can...She has perfected this type of role, I look forward to seeing her do more). Davis is in the film for only one scene (albeit a long one), I don't feel that she was as memorable as the rest of the cast. Hoffman is another actor that can really do no wrong- he has impeccable taste in choosing his roles. And despite Streep claiming that there is no "best actress" or "greatest actress of all time" at the SAG Awards - she certainly proves herself wrong every time.
3. Doubt versus Certainty. The theme of the film is a universal one and is a great theme to explore within the film medium. In the film we are left doubting everyone. There is no answer, although some may feel they "know" who was "right" and who was "wrong". The power of gossip is also explored, when we find out exactly what the catalyst was that caused Sister Aloysius to question Father Flynn's character it's gut-wrenching. To realize that one innocent mannerism or action can be interpreted the wrong way and essentially ruin your reputation and in turn your life is a powerful message.
4. Not in the Action or Comedy genre. After reviewing my top 10 favorite films, most are either action or comedic films (with the exception of Milk). I haven't been too impressed with drama's this year and even more so with horror films this year. So in order to add my favorite drama Doubt to my list something had to go. I had to lose Quantum of Solace simply because Wanted and The Dark Knight were far better action films. Sorry, Bond.