2014 In Review

Top 10 Films of 2014 - Si

6   - Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

What we said at the time: 'Dark, tense and as amoral as its central character, this isn’t a movie that wraps anything up neatly for you. If you’re looking for a movie with a solid moral tale, you’re in the wrong place here. At one point after missing a plane crash due to bad navigation, Bloom stares into a cheap bathroom mirror before screaming and smashing it off the wall. Nightcrawler will make you feel like that mirror.'

Why it's here: Jake Gyllenhaal has created a brilliantly original sociopath here and that doesn't happen very often. Gilroy manages to balance the horrific humour with the horrific brilliantly and stages one of the best car chases we've seen in some while.

7   - The Double (Richard Ayoade)

What we said at the time: '[Ayoade] and co-writer Avi Korine have created a world full of oddball characters that prevent this movie from becoming anything like navel-gazing. Cast in a permanently dark yellow seventies version of the future with a constant cacophony of disjointed noises making us perpetually aware of the artificiality of it all, Eisenberg’s dual performances are a masterclass of internal acting.... [This is] a superbly funny rendering of the long, silent scream into the eternal abyss that we all feel at one point or other'

Why it's here: Probably the most personal choice on this list, Ayoade's movie is just so well put together, so perfectly self contained and so completely relatable, that it couldn't be omitted. Two perfectly understated performances from Wasikowska and Eisenberg round out a nigh on perfect piece of filmmaking.

8   - Calvary (John Michael McDonagh)

What we said at the time: 'The pre-murder mystery is merely a framing for bigger questions and odder behaviour. The ending, well, I won’t ruin it and different people will probably take different things from it but from my point of view, there is light coming from the bottomless dark, albeit one that flickers. Beautifully photographed, sharply scripted, belly-achingly funny, deep and with a performance from Gleeson that is almost divine, Calvary will have you thinking beyond the movie, even as you ponder that ending and the significance of the stills that flash up during the credits. '

Why it's here: This was a good year for movies that managed to be head-scratchingly smart, hilarious and as dark as pitch but this is the crowning achievement. No other movie managed to make me think so much whilst I was watching a man pissing on a priceless painting. 

9   - The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh)

What we said at the time: 'The actual missing picture of the title is undoubtedly many things but the one that stood out most for me was the lack of witnesses for the terrified youngster. Ultimately left alone in a system that deliberately voided personality, [Panh] was left to retreat into his happy memories of time spent in a movie studio a relative worked in. Happy memories forever tainted by the knowledge that pretty much all of the artists were swiftly murdered by the regime.'

Why it's here:One of a recent crop of superbly innovative documentaries, Panh's use of archive footage and clay figures brings home the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in a way that you haven't seen before. Hugely powerful.

10 - The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)

What we said at the time: '....The Wind Rises will not disappoint fans of Miyazaki. Rendered in beautiful blues and greens as well as vicious reds and browns, the screen is alive with visual wonder from start to finish. Your spirits will soar with the wonderful aircraft and if this is to be Miyazaki’s last (it won’t be) it is a fitting swan song to an unrivalled talent.'

Why it's here: Possibly the perfect combination of grown up and yet still whimsical film making from Miyazaki. A tale beautifully told and one that, most heartbreakingly, may be his final movie.

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