Phew. 2015 may not have been the finest year in film, but it certainly had its shining lights. This list showcases those that shone brightest this past year.
Birdman is less of a film and more of a play. Alejandro Iñárritu chose a long, narrow style in which his scenes are constantly moving and continuing. The camera follows whichever character is important, before moving seamlessly onto another thread. The camera’s movement from one character to another was a masterful choice, keeping the plot fast and flowing, even as action was minimal. The style was the perfect counterpart to the “talking bullshit” Iñárritu appreciates so highly, and makes the film so unique.
Birdman is visually stunning, acted effortlessly and rhythmically paced.
The first scene in which we see the Schultz brothers, Mark and Dave (Ruffalo and Tatum), together, is a wonderful exchange. The brothers warm each other up and begin to practice their technique. The scene is shot with minimal dialogue, none at all when they begin wrestling, and is reminiscent of two bears jostling in the wild. The brothers begin pawing at each other, feeling the other out, before the claws are drawn. The younger Mark gets frustrated in the early jostling and begins to attack, swiping at his brother with aggressive force, as a bear would to defeat his rival. Blood is shed, and still no words are spoken as the brothers battle for dominance. This early interaction is nothing short of breath-taking.
Foxcatcher is a dominating and completely powerful film.
8. Ex Machina
Ex Machina is a highly intelligent film that’s story plays out in a very satisfactory fashion. The film moves at times very swiftly and at other times, quite slowly, but always holding a very tangible tension. Ex Machina is another picture in a long line of excellent British Sci-fi thrillers and will keep you guessing ‘til the end. It isn’t perfect, nor is it totally original, but it’s a damn good film.
7. Inside Out
Sometime Disney are too brilliant for their own good. Almost everything about Inside Out is infused with charm, emotion, jovality, sadness and, most importantly of all, a keen sense of humanity. Genuine tears will flow and belly-laughs will erupt as SNL-alumni Poehler and Hader litter the picture with their trademark humours.
You’ve got a friend in Inside Out.
Mad Max: Fury Road is relentless. The film rarely allows you a moment’s respite with action sequences as ambitious as they are extensive. The phenomenal stunt work is back with a vengeance, producing countless awe-inspiring moments of human marvel. The film’s action retains the spirit of the original trilogy through its use of its increased speed shots and unyielding destruction. One cannot help but feel gloriously overwhelmed. To top it off, the women are written as true equals to their male counterparts; something that cannot be overvalued.
Do you agree with my initial choices? Let me know in the comments before Part 2 follows in the next couple of days. See you there.
Images courtesy of hitfix, wegotthiscovered, thelocationguide, sharetu and youtube respectively.