So here are some of my favourite films of the year in alphabetical order. These are my favourites, not necessarily the best. I acknowledge some may technically be better than others, but these are the ones that have stuck with me.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
I’ve written extensively about 10 Cloverfield Lane here, if you search for it on the website, you’ll find my review or the Film Crew article when I was anticipating it after the trailer first dropped. Trachtenberg made an incredible film in essentially one small location but found a way to make the story feel huge in scale. On top of that, the character work within it is incredible. The second time I watched the film in the theatres, at the end when Michelle runs towards her problems and faces it for the first time, I got emotional. Some argued that they didn’t like the final reveal, but it felt right within the movie, I never had a problem without it whatsoever.
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Saulnier’s direction in this is flawless. I count the days until I’m able to purchase the film on Blu-ray because it’s a film I want to revisit often. I’m a huge horror fan, and also enjoy watching some gory scenes in films, and I usually do so without reacting, but that wasn’t the case with Green Room. There were moments I couldn’t watch the screen any longer, and I shook in my seat, as did the rest of the audience. Everyone was cheering and screaming, at all the right moments. The day of my screening happened to coincide with the day that Prince passed away, and with the mention of him in the film caused a lot of cheering, and I choked up about it. With that as well, Anton Yelchin unfortunately recently passed away, and it’s going to be tough to watch him possibly give the best performance of his career.
The Neon Demon
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
This is the only film I haven’t written about yet, and it’s the newest film as well. Nicolas Winding Refn makes an appearance on my list with his film about Jesse (Elle Fanning) who is an inspiring model that has “it”, but everyone else wants “it”. In a film in which they showcase the fashion industry as “eat or get eaten”, and also shows the violence between women. Sometimes the violence is a bit abstract by saying a comment on someone’s appearance, and sometimes it becomes a lot more visceral. Refn paints a gorgeous film together with his cinematographer Natasha Braier. I stayed in awe during the credits as he showed us a sunset. The Neon Demon has many layers and metaphors wrapped inside it (as his previous film Only God Forgives does as well), and it welcomes multiple viewings, I’m already planning on my second visit, and hope it turns out to be soon.
Directed by Andrew Cividino
A Canadian film made my list! Sleeping Giant is a film about a young boy who spends his summer at Lake Superior, and while it appears to be an ordinary summer, it eventually plays out to be something bigger when looking at it from an older perspective. The film moves subtlety, there’s something so simple that I have taken it to mean one thing, but others have attempted to tell me that I’m wrong but I believe in it. I believe that the summer we witness is the summer in which Adam (our protagonist) develops a crush on another boy. It’s the subtlety that I’ve fallen in love with the film for as it plays out, it never turns out to be either judgemental or anything of that sort, it just is. We are able to witness Adam start to find himself, and witnessing that is beautiful.
Directed by Robert Eggers
This film is terrifying, not consistently, but it’s terrifying. Early on, Eggers makes us aware of the danger hidden in the woods, and he tells the story as you anticipate each scare, but he’s more interested in the story at first, and then eventually, all hell breaks loose and leaves you petrified. Near the end, with that conversation that Thomasin had left me shaking as I was watching the film by myself, in the darkness of my living room at one in the morning. When the voice spoke back to her, I was overwhelmed with this feeling of fear and dread. The Witch is a film I feel like most directors can only dream to accomplish, and Robert Eggers did it on his first try. Terrify us some more, I will gladly ready myself for it.