My picks of 2014

It’s that time of year where I look back on the films I’ve seen and complete the ridiculous task of ordering my favourite five films. I say ridiculous because my compulsion to create such a list is not founded on anything other than just that — a compulsion. Ah, but it is so fun to do. There have been some crackers this year, my only disappointment is that I’ve left so many behind. The task of completing my Masters has sucked any time and energy that I would otherwise use watching a film. Once I have finally submitted my thesis (Feb 2015) I will climb back into the ones I’ve missed. Anyway, from what I have managed to see … here is my top five of 2014:

5. Grand Budapest Hotel – On the heels of the excellent Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson has delivered another delight. Who knew that Ralph Fiennes could be so funny?

4. Inside Llewyn Davis – A solid film from the ever reliable Coen brothers. Superbly acted, well paced, funny, and visually brooding. The music is pretty good as well!

3. Enemy – I’m such a sucker for films like this — an intricately structured psychological mind-melt. Enemy gives you that “penny dropping” moment when suddenly you realise that the film has been playing you for the fool all along — where you trace back every little detail that you had previous glossed over and question its significance. This well crafted piece of cinema leaves no stone unturned. Fantastic film-making, and might I also say how impressive Jake Gyllenhaal is at playing two wildly different personas.

2. Under the Skin – This is a stunning film that is as confusing as it is wonderful. Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) directs this low key sci-fi film that thematically bares a striking resemblance to Patty Jenkin’s Monster. Among other similarities, both films concern themselves with the female image and its relation to the male gaze. Scarlett Johansson is cleverly cast here.

1. Boyhood – A real triumph of film making that took director Richard Linklater over thirteen years to realise. Despite its lengthy production, the pace and tone remains consistent and flawlessly holds together. Boyhood explores what it means to to grow up in middle America, but it does so without getting caught up in the sentimental tropes so commonly found in films of similar theme. For me Boyhood is a masterpiece and a wonderful example of cinematic realism. It is my top film of 2014.

Merry Christmas everyone!