As we bid farewell to yet another year, it’s time to reflect on what has been a remarkable twelve months in the world of cinema. Picking a top ten has been an almost impossible task. Initially I had compiled a list of twenty-five films from the dozens I’ve seen over the calendar year, but even that took some effort. Nevertheless, after much thought and deliberation, the list is ready. The films have been chosen. So, here is my personal top ten films of 2015. Enjoy!
10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (dir. J.J. Abrams).
To those who know me well this may seem an odd choice. It is no secret that I am not a fan of the Star Wars franchise, yet this latest instalment blew me away. I was captivated from beginning to end and simply because I expected to loathe it, I had to include it on here. It a film like this can make me feel how I did, how on Earth did it make the hard-core fans feel?
9. Bridge of Spies (dir. Steven Spielberg).
Throw together the most successful director of the last thirty-five years with the greatest stage and screen actors of their generation, mix well with a Coen-penned script and whaddaya get? A scintillating Cold War thriller that deserves its place at number nine on my list.
8. Sicario (dir. Denis Villeneuve).
My only regret about this story of murder, betrayal and revenge, is that I only managed to see it once. But once was enough for me to love it. One of the best thrillers in recent years and the traffic jam scene is heart-stopping cinema. Wonderful.
7. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour).
“It’s a Persian vampire film!” exclaimed a friend of mine. Yes, I know. I gave a puzzled look too. I saw the trailer a few times and it made me shiver. Then I saw the film and was mesmerised by the music and cinematography but the real plaudits have to go to American actress Sheila Vand. In another year this could’ve easily been a top three entry.
6. Song of the Sea (dir. Tomm Moore).
Beautiful hand drawn animation from the team behind Secret of Kells. This film takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore which sees Ben and little sister Saoirse embark on a journey to return to their home by the sea. Yet another animated film that made me shed a tear. Gorgeous.
5. Amy (dir. Asif Kapadia).
Amy Winehouse’s life (especially the negative aspects) were well documented and like many others I didn’t know a lot about her, nor was I particularly interested, simply because I wasn’t a huge fan of her music. The film, however, completely changed my perception of this incredibly talented, vulnerable woman. It made me smile, it made me frown and it made me sob uncontrollably. I hope journalists and paparazzi watch this and learn from it. But we all know, sadly, that Amy will not be the last troubled icon to depart this life well before her time.
4. Brooklyn (dir. John Crowley)
“So, it’s about an Irish girl who moves to Brooklyn in the 1950s and falls in love with an Italian-American plumber?”
You can almost hear a hard-nosed cynical producer utter that line seconds before dismissing the project. Thank the Lord the Irish Film Board had a bit of nous and helped fund this little gem, because it’s a very special film.
It avoids the clichés that are common with films of this ilk. You care about these people, so much that again, out come the tissues! Perhaps that’s just me, but I’m a sucker for movies like Brooklyn and I make no apologies.
3. Whiplash (dir. Damien Chazelle).
Back in January I knew, come December, I faced a dilemma: where to rank this in my films of the year. I knew then it has to be there. How could it not? I saw it at the cinema three times. The first time was an experience, a wonderful one. The final ten or fifteen minutes had me dry-mouthed and in complete disbelief. The second time; I hated Fletcher. The third time; I hated Neiman. Since then I’ve seen it more and more, enjoying it and seeing things I didn’t the first few times. Credit must go to Tom Cross for his slick editing skills, particularly during the drumming sequences. Just my tempo.
2. Inside Out (dir. Pete Docter).
Now this was tough. It wasn’t a problem placing it on the list, but ranking it has taken me weeks. This is the most complete film Pixar have made and I’m sticking my neck out here because I know their abilities and capabilities are limitless, but…I cannot see how they can top this. It’s an intelligent, insightful piece of work, yet a child of six could grasp some of its concepts. The more I watch, the more I see and the more I learn. Oh, and the more I cry. That’s something you’ll learn about me the more you read my posts!
Well, there it is. Nine brilliant films from 2015. Here’s a few that I was very fond of but just didn’t make my top ten:
Carol, Selma, Kingsman: Secrey Service, The Lobster, Inherent Vice, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ex-Machina and SPECTRE.
So, can you name my best film of 2015? Well, here it is…
1. Steve Jobs (dir. Danny Boyle).
Yes, it’s the biopic of Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle. I adore it. Absolutely adore it. Sorkin’s screenplay, Daniel Pemberton’s score, but above all, Fassbender’s performance and furthermore, his on-screen chemistry with Kate Winslet. He possesses something that cannot be taught in film schools. That little extra something special that certain actors have; and it’s something I don’t know. Therein lies the beauty. Hanks has it, Day-Lewis has it and Fassbender has it. What IT is remains a mystery, but it’s a pleasure to watch.
Boyle avoids the clichéd biopic very well and the film is in essence, a three-act play; set in 1984, 1988 and 1998, shot in 16mm, 35mm and on digital format respectively. The film evolving with its products.
In terms of box-office figures it hasn’t even broke even, but the fact is, in my opinion, it’s Boyle’s best in a long time and my best for the year.
I’d love to hear your opinions. Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? What would you have chosen?
Please feel free to comment below.