Today marks the third anniversary of At The Back and as is now tradition, it’s time for my Top 10 films of the last year. As always I choose this date in late January to try and include as many of the year’s awards frontrunners as I can but with UK release dates still lagging behind the US, some will be included next year (if they make the list). This year’s list includes at least one Oscar winner from last year for this very reason.
It’s been over six months since I’ve written a film review on this site and in that time I’ve changed jobs, moved city and bought a dragon. I’ve still been watching as much as I can but missed more important releases in 2014 than I have in several years. For instance I didn’t get to see Gone Girl, a film which is creeping into many lists I’ve read. Other omissions include American Sniper, Two Days, One Night, Ida and Leviathan. A film I did see which I expected would make my list was Foxcatcher. I haven’t been as disappointed by a film since the first Hobbit. For me it lacked tension throughout and couldn’t be saved by some admittedly fantastic performances.
Films which just missed out included the feel good Pride, a terrific David and Goliath struggle in which two unlikely groups join forces in order to battle a much stronger enemy. The Imitation Game featured a stand out central performance from Benedict Cumberbatch and an under told story while The Theory of Everything provided us with what was in my opinion the greatest performance of the year in the form of Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen Hawking. Under the Skin was a dark and chilling film which stayed with me for a long time while Lego documentary Brick by Brick came at the opposite end of the spectrum, giving me perhaps my most fun cinema experience of the entire year.
10. Locke (dir. Steven Knight)
One of the simplest films I saw all year and certainly one of the cheapest, this $2 million movie is set almost entirely within the confines of one car. It follows a single character played superbly by the ever impressive Tom Hardy as he travels along a British motorway one evening. During the journey which is shot in real time, Locke’s life falls apart without the need for crashes, chases or anything else one associates with cars and the movies. Hardy’s subtle performance keeps the audience gripped as his inner turmoil is beautifully restrained within Hardy’s mannered execution.