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BEST IN FILM

STEPHEN HUNTER

From Iraq to Alaska to Ireland, powerful storytelling that hit home.

"No End in Sight" brought even-handness and care to a volatile topic. (Magnolia Pictures)
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Sunday, December 30, 2007; Page M08

1. "No End in Sight." This look at the Iraq war demonstrates for all the kook-fringe documentarians how far you can get on scrupulous reporting, non-conspiratorial analysis, penetrating interviews and a fair overview.

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2. "Persepolis." Gives name and personality to the forgotten ones, the secular Iranians who believed in the revolution that overthrew the shah and were then consumed by the fundamentalists who took it over.

3. "Starting Out in the Evening." A portrait of the artist as an older man, with Frank Langella in the role of his career as an aging literista facing the end of days and powers.

4. "Charlie Wilson's War." Fast, furious look at the D.C. political process, by which a hack politician and a rogue CIA agent somehow bring down the Soviet empire between happy hours.

5. "American Gangster.." Another crime drama with classic ambitions, driven by great performances from Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and sound narrative manipulation from Ridley Scott.

6. "Shanghai Triad Election." Little-seen Chinese crime masterpieces (two of them, released in one package) that constitute a Godfather saga for that city on the edge of Asia.

7. "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." Revolution, Irish-style, in the 1920s. And it also shakes the foundation of family.

8. "Superbad." Proving that high school was just as bad -- and just as funny -- as I remember it.

9. "Breach." The story of an American traitor, done without histrionics and giving the great Chris Cooper a showcase for his talent.

10. "Before the Devil Knows You' r e Dead." A vivid, funny black comedy from the ageless Sidney Lumet with powerhouses Philip Seymour Hoffman and Albert Finney.


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