2010 continued a trend of really good recent crime dramas. This year, most of them came from overseas: The Secrets in Their Eyes (Argentina) won the most recent Best Foreign Language Oscar and A Prophet (France) and Ajami (Palestine/Israel) were nominated.
All three made my list of the year’s best movies and my list of Best Recent Crime Dramas.
We also had other strong imports in this genre: the Mesrine films (France), Animal Kingdom (Australia) and Mother (Korea).
The best American crime drama was The Town, in which the rockin’ first two acts were betrayed by a sappy and implausible climax.
Here’s the trailer for Ajami, an ultra-realistic crime drama set in a scruffy neighborhood in Jaffa, Israel. The story weaves together Arab Christians and Arab Muslims and both religious and non-religious Israeli Jews. Everyone aspires to make a living and live in personal safety, but the circumstances and tribal identities make this very difficult at best. There are two trans-religious romances, but no one is going to live happily ever after. Ajami was co-written and co-directed by Scandar Copti, a Jaffa-born Palestinian, and Yaron Shoni, an Israeli Jew. After seeing the film, I was surprised to learn that it has no trained actors – all of the roles are played by real-life residents who improvised their lines to follow the story line.