Our first proper list of the year, and with only days remaining in this year, we’re just in time. These movies are all gems and the order hardly matters, but if we had to pick a place for each of them… See the details below.
20. Of Horses and Men – “Erlingsson has created a film of admiration of a small community and its everyday concerns. After seeing the movie, what remains in the mind are the tough Icelandic horses, the vast harsh Icelandic landscape and the tough no-nonsense people who co-exist with both.”
19. Joe -“ The story is not wholesome but the performances of Cage, Sheridan and Poulter are such that it metamorphoses into a fine tale of affection and respect which Joe and Gary have for each other. The relationship somehow manages to transcend, the random violence and economic grimness against which it is told.”
18. Two Days, One Night – “Sandra (Marion Cotillard) has endured a bout of depression but when she is sufficiently recovered to return to work she discovers that the remaining workers were able to cover for her without the need for a replacement. The management seeing an opportunity to cut costs then proposed to her colleagues that there would be a bonus for each of them if they undertook to do her work permanently… This movie is a serious contribution to that debate and the very difficult dilemmas which it creates.”
17. One Million Dubliners – “Death has its ugly side; the furnaces of a crematorium and the resultant ash are not easy images but Kelleher holds a fine balance between what is routine in the work and yet the care shown which makes each cremation revered. Death of course is always present in life and this truth is manifested. A very fine piece of work. A sort of living commemoration.”
16. The Drop – “A fitting tribute to Gandolfini and a tour de force by Hardy this is an enthralling couple of hours viewing that keeps you engaged from the first frame to the last and leaves you wondering what happens to the characters after the cameras stopped rolling which is what good drama should do.”
15. The Lunchbox – “Throughout, the acting of Nimrat Kaur as Ila and of Irrfan Khan as Sajaan is restrained but its very restraint underlines the importance to each of them of their hidden relationship. It contrasts with the high sense of expectation which the arrival of the lunchbox brings to the humdrum routine of their lives. The opening of the lunchbox and the swift searching of its various compartments for the longed for billet doux increases the sense of expectation. Their private world, contained within the lunchbox, stands juxtaposed to the outside world which is Mumbai with its noise and clatter and the bum-to-tum proximity by which its inhabitants ride its buses and trains. In this his first feature film, which he also wrote, Ritesh Batra has created a gem.”
14. Lilting – “Deeply affecting this is the kind of film that leaves you with a lump in your throat. All the characters are victims of something – be it their culture, their sexuality or their past – and an overriding sense of sadness and regret hangs over the whole picture. A touching and sensitive look at how our relationships have a ripple effect on our lives and those of others if this doesn’t move you there is definitely something wrong with you.”
13. Under the Skin – “Jonathan Glazer’s film was a radical distillation of Michel Faber’s novel that shed, among other things, its explicit commentary on the meat industry. The result was a thrillingly enigmatic, and occasionally very moving, combination of glassy science fiction and Scottish desolation, with a career-best turn from Scarlett Johansson. The otherworldly score by Mica Levi was justly acclaimed.”
12. Unbreakable: The story of Mark Pollock – “Whitaker in his direction of the film provides a vehicle which seems almost invisible as the story of Mark Pollock is told. Mark is centre stage which is the correct focus. The film ensures that Mark never goes out of focus. It is a film that must be seen because the story is so uplifting.”
11. Boyhood – Follow the growth and development of a young man from age 5 to 18. Is this concept over story? Quite possibly but when the concept is this impressive, it really doesn’t matter. An amazing project, and a movie that will be talked of for years to come. One of Richard Linklater’s finest.