It’s a mixed bag of top 10 films this year, with a top-heavy favourtism for the thriller! From the funny-sweet, Hunt for the Wilderpeople to the ultimate crime thriller, Sicario *
I have to say the biggest stand-out for 2016: Director Denis Villeneuve. More Denis, we want more!
Coming in at number 10 is the New Zealander Comedy / Drama that stole the world’s heart: tongue-in-cheek and heartfelt where the characters are able to take a laugh at themselves ‘cause it’s all heart bro.
At number 9 is a local Drama based on a day-in-a-life in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray.
It would have been easy to get bogged down in the melancholy, but there’s humour here, the focus on the good: a poem written to a beautiful girl in a bookshop, drummers tapping out a heartbeat with the dance of a local in appreciation, the expression of graffiti and the love of a dog.
Pawno shows life in all its complications with the simplicity of a leaky kettle or a favourite mug.
8. The Revenant
Where Leonardo Di Caprio finally won his first Oscar, and for good reason.
There is a real authenticity here, thanks to Di Caprio, but director, Alejandro has given the film something almost mystical. Nature untouched, is a bit like magic. The Native Americans believed in the will of the trees and the wind, and I think Alejandro managed to capture some of this magic. Not an easy feat and worth watching.
My favourite director of this year Denis Villeneuve has given his Midas touch to a film that really could have fallen flat. The insight Villeneuve has managed to show of Dr. Bank’s character is astounding. If only for this aspect, I enjoyed the film. Then combine the incredible story, soundtrack and pace with that extra flavour that makes the characters so believable, you’ve got a winning film.
I can understand how this documentary, directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams, has won so many audience awards: Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Full Frame Film Festival and the list goes on…
I laughed, I cried, I smiled and I learnt something not only about Owen and his battle with autism, I also found an opportunity to reflect on my own life journey.
Set in Inebolu, a Black Sea village 600 kilometres from Istanbul, Mustang is about the freedom of five young sisters with wild hair trailing down their backs, with a glance and an innocent smile that can lead to so much trouble.
As her first feature film, Deniz Gamze Erguven has given us a story that feels like it should already have been told, and I congratulate this fresh view of life that is usually hidden behind closed doors.
Director James Wan is genius in his use of not only the soundtrack, but also the trickery of shadows, slips in time, old toys; a focus on the eyes or a terrifying portrait brought to life. Seemingly simple devises, but used so well.
There’s a journey here. An invitation to take hold of a hand – a, Gotcha, then I’ll let you go a bit… then, I gotcha again: This time, I gotcha good.
3. Triple 9
I liked this film because it went beyond all expectations. The story just kept unfolding to its bloody conclusion. I couldn’t look away: cringing, gasping, hoping and ultimately smiling contently at a well thought-out conclusion. Love a good crime thriller!
There’s not a lot of action here. But the dialogue between the characters is hugely entertaining. The depth of thought put into the characters: Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren, Walton Goggins as Sheriff Chris Mannix and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue was particularly impressive. And the not so subtle gallows humour and O. B’s bad luck is gloriously funny. I had a ball watching this film – good fun!
I couldn’t fault this film. The story, characters, soundtrack, cinematography and editing all combined to create tension and to keep the audience guessing.
If the violence didn’t add to the story, then it wasn’t included. Clever devises used by director Denis Villeneuve used the imagination of the audience to piece the action together giving this film it’s true brilliance. If you haven’t already, watch this film! You’re in for a real treat.
* I know, I know, Sicario was released end of 2015, and I do ask for poetic license being my first ‘best of the year’ list for the website. Being my first reviewed film to earn 5 stars, I couldn’t resist Sicario, at the top, in all its crowning crime-thriller glory.