It’s tradition. Christmas pudding, turkey – and a look back at the best films of the year. And who am I to do otherwise?
2015 won’t necessarily go down as a classic in cinematic terms: there’s been some good films – some very good ones, in fact – but I can’t honestly describe the past twelve months as vintage.
It’s also the year when the hype went hyper. Spectre broke records at the box office and now Star Wars: The Force Awakens is blowing them to smithereens. The marketing campaigns for both of them hit unprecedented heights, to the point where they risked having the opposite effect. Perhaps the marketing departments at Sony and Disney need to calm down a touch.
But neither Spectre nor Star Wars made my top ten. Here’s the first half, numbers ten to six inclusive …….
This modern take on film noir is set during the post-War period with Nina Hoss as a holocaust victim who’s undergone extensive plastic surgery. An unexpectedly seductive film, it creates a lingering impression for no end of good reasons and deals with powerful themes such as identity, survival and betrayal.
9 Clouds of Sils Maria
What appears on the surface to be an updated version of All About Eve turns out to be something totally different, even if it is about actors. The aging actress is Juliette Binoche and her assistant Kristen Stewart, who is turning out to be something of a revelation since all that Twilight twaddle. The acting from both is top drawer, the cinematography stunning and the whole is absorbing and fascinating.
8 The Look Of Silence
For me, Joshua Oppenheimer’s second look at the Indonesian genocide is the documentary of the year. This time, he follows the remarkably dignified and restrained Adi in the search for the people behind his brother’s death. It’s a film with silences of its own, and they’re essential for us to absorb the true horror of what we’ve heard.
7 Mad Max: Fury Road
This was the wildest of rides – loud, exuberant and full of surprises. And what was essentially Mad Max 4 didn’t belong to the man himself, but female war rig driver, Furiosa. This portrait of a world gone mad was the mother of all action films but with something extra. Intelligence.
6 Steve Jobs
Danny Boyle gave us a bio-pic in three acts, the portrait of exceptional talent combined with ice cold blood. The result was a sensational performance from Michael Fassbender in the title role as the man you genuinely love to hate.
So if that’s numbers ten to six, what made it into the top five? Check back over Christmas when they’ll be revealed, including my Film Of 2015.