2014 was filled with some absolutely great films, but nothing that completely blew me away, in 2013 ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘Short Term 12’ astounded me with how fantastic they were and while I was happily surprised by how many great films there were this year, nothing completely stood out as the number one film of the year for me, which made ordering this list even harder than usual. After much deliberation I have came to be happy with the following order:
10. The Imitation Game
I knew nothing about Alan Turing going into the film except that he was somehow responsible for creating the computer, which made me a bit apprehensive going in to the film as I could not see how that could translate into a compelling film, especially with a director who had only previously worked on small, un-noteworthy foreign films. However, they not only made the film enthralling and exciting, it also brought out the best performances from the cast, Benedict Cumberbatch was astounding as Turing and for the first time in a very long time, Keira Knightley didn’t make me hate her, she was charming and had brilliant chemistry with Cumberbatch.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ feels like an exceptional 80’s espionage, cold war thriller with Captain America just dropped into the film and it works excellently. The action scenes carry real weight, the sound and look of every punch, kick and throw make it all seem very realistic which is rare in any modern action film, nevermind a superhero film. The story also oozes with brilliance and the script is simply brilliant.
This film was a fantastic cinematic achievement; a film filmed over a 12 year span yet it manages to remain cohesive and gripping. I believe everyone should watch this film at least once, it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but there is a lot to be enjoyed and even some messages to take from the film.
7. The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne is perfect as Stephen Hawking, every facial movement, the way he speaks, everything was transformed into Stephen Hawking. Add to that the fantastic Felicity Jones as well as an interesting and compelling story that takes you through his life yet doesn’t have a negative effect on the pacing and you have an excellent film.
‘Locke’ is basically ‘Phone Booth’ with all the unnecessary Hollywood bullshit taken out with better performances, a better script, tighter directing, better cinematography and a much more compelling story.
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson’s films are definitely unique, warm and welcoming yet still feel sterile and, for lack of a better word, distant. That is not necessarily a bad trait, it is just his style and it almost always works, however ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ somehow manages to not only be the most extreme case of warm but sterile film-making but also his most accessible film and is without a doubt in my mind, his best film. The film is filled with great performances but they all rely on the fantastically hilarious Ralph Fiennes who delivers the best performance in any Wes Anderson film ever.
I went into ‘Whiplash’ believing all the hype about it being a phenomenal film and usually I don’t allow myself to succumb to the hype as it almost always means i am let down by the film. While I don’t think the film is phenomenal or the best film of the year, it is still a great, thrilling and exhilarating film with two of the best performances of the year in it. The final scene of the film took my breath away and not many films managed that this year.
‘Nightcrawler’ came out of nowhere for me, I have never been a huge fan of Gyllenhaal so my excitement was tempered for the film but when the credits came onto the screen, not only did I love the film, I became a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal’s performance in this film was amazing, definitely in the top 3 performances of the year, he fully immersed himself in that character and it sucked me in within the first 10 minutes.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
A lot of people thought that this would be Marvel’s first flop because it was such a risk, however I remained faithful that Marvel knew what they were doing and that faith paid off. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was funny, action packed, filled with great characters and great performances, looked great, had a fantastic soundtrack and was overall just a fun film.
1. Gone Girl
David Fincher’s films rarely disappoint and are always cerebral and beautiful so even if i don’t like the film I can still find great qualities within it. However, with ‘Gone Girl’ Fincher absolutely killed it, he picked a fantastic story, adapted it brilliantly and took my breath away several times. It’s difficult to talk about this film due to major spoilers and trust me, you will want to see this film unspoiled. I highly recommend you watch this film as soon as possible.