Quite a simple question that is really in need of answering. For the past few weeks and months I’ve been reviewing films more and more. Not just reviewing though, I’ve been generally watching films too. Recently I’ve started trying to watch one new film a day. So far it has really worked and I’m enjoying myself. What I’ve gathered however is that 2014 is undoubtedly the best year for films. To prove that, I’ve picked several brilliant films from that year that you should watch. Was 2014 the best year for films?
These are based solely on two criteria. The main criteria is that I need to have seen the film. So unfortunately films such as Nightcrawler (2014) and Calvary (2014), while being fantastic films, are not examples given in my article. The second criteria is that the critical reception needs to be well rounded. I won’t be recommending films that were given a mixture of scores or a poor variety of scores. What I’ll be looking at is that overall the critical consensus was that the film was great.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Personal Rating: 4/5
This film is the most recent film I’ve watched. By the time this article is out I’ll have started writing the review. Yes I have sort of just given away my entire review for this film. But it’s worth it, I can guarantee it. Although I’ll go into more depth tomorrow, Whiplash is something so out of the ordinary that it’s perfect in it’s own right.
J.K. Simmons gives possibly the best performance of his career. He pretty much casts a shadow over the rest of the film. His performance is truly mesmerising to see unfold and it’s a satisfying ending when it comes to his character arc. He seems to be a character you can’t pin down, you really never know which angle his character will be portrayed at next.
The reason Whiplash is on the list is that it is a movie that respects music. Not just that though. The way it incorporates music into the overall narrative is superb. Obviously given that the film is about music you’d expect there to be a story around music. What I didn’t expect however was one of the most harrowing and hard hitting experiences of my life. A film about music that goes so much deeper. By the end of it you’re left shook, scared and most importantly, satisfied.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Personal Rating: 5/5
When will I ever stop going on about The Grand Budapest Hotel. Never, is the answer to that question. It’s quite honestly one of the most unique and colourfully mesmerising experiences I’ve ever had with a film. I’m no stranger to Wes Anderson films, but this is by far his best work.
Again, it’s all down to performances and everyone plays their part well. Out of everyone though it has to be Ralph Fiennes who takes the most credit in his performance of Gustave H. Honestly his performance is truly knock out stuff. No wonder that film got nominated for so many awards, the film works because of Fiennes. For the plot to be structured around one character the actor needs to be perfect, and that’s exactly what Fiennes is.
It’s again a representation of truly amazing pieces of film. There’s so much to talk about in regards to the plot and the cinematography. On top of that, the film is a genuinely funny, charming and mysterious piece of work. Without a doubt it’s worth watching.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Personal Rating: 4.5/5
Don’t think I’m some sort of artistic arsehole that only likes high brow films. John Wick may well have been the best action film of 2014. It revitalised Keanu Reeves’ career and for that reason alone it can be considered fantastic. The film very quickly became one of my favourites. Not just the film though, it’s also probably my favourite review to have written. The experience of watching my first real action film was mesmerising.
As I stated in the previous paragraph, Keanu Reeves gives off a performance that manages to revitalise his career. In stunning action sequences we learn little about his character, that’s possibly the best part about this film. Not that we don’t learn anything, but because we don’t need to learn anything. We’re given the characters aims and his intentions, that’s it.
John Wick is on this list because it did something new with the action genre. It had a very basic plot and because of that allowed itself to focus on the action sequences. Really that added even more to the film, and it’s absolutely fantastic in every sense of the word.
I have without a doubt left off a lot of fantastic films. Some of my all time favourite films in fact have been left off of this list. Birdman, Wish I Was Here, The Imitation Game and Chef all released in 2014. So far, from my experience, 2014 was not only the most varied year for film, but the best.
That’s not to say that 2014 had it’s bad films, it quite clearly did. From Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie to Dumb and Dumber To. But regardless of those misfires, 2014 was an extremely solid year for film. Something just seemed to go right in that year that doesn’t seem to happen anymore in films. Even the more generic titles such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier blew me away. That film tried something very new to the series and pulled it off.
To me, 2014 being a varied year of film is both unique and risky. Independent films like Wish I Was Here were brought to our attention, it’s a personal favourite of mine. Regardless of that though, those are three critically and publicly loved films. All three of those films are regarded with genuinely high prestige. To me, those three films are just the tip of the brilliant iceberg that was 2014. 2014 was the best year for film. I can guarantee it.