We’re practising an odd version of democracy at Den Of Geek when it comes to our annual film of the year vote, in that the film that gets more votes than any other is going to win. We’re not sure this will entirely catch on, but heck, we’ll give it a try.
As such, our film of the year vote (that took place ahead of the release of Star Wars: Rogue One). Here, our writers send in their top fives, and we gave five points to their first choices, and one point to their fifth. You can probably fill in the rest of the blanks! Then we totalled it all together, stopped for a biscuit, and came up with a top 20.
Over the coming week or two, we’ll count down our top ten, but here are the ones that make up places 20 to 11. As the sage Ryan commented, this would be a fine top ten list in its own right, and may have been, had more of the films on it been seen. But that’s the thing with democracy, right? You don’t always get what’s fair and right.
Without further ado…
20. Bone Tomahawk
A little-seen western, but clearly loved by the people who do cast their peepers over it. Bone Tomahawk boasts – and that is entirely the right word – Kurt Russell at the head of its ensemble, as the Sheriff out to rescue settlers from some, well, let’s go with ‘unpleasant people’. It’s a film – for better and worse – already hitting DVD bargain bins. Do consider rescuing it.
19. Kubo And The Two Strings
Some found the story a little bit of a muddle with Laika’s latest, but there’s little doubting the extraordinary craft of this stop motion treat. It’s a really beautiful piece of work this, with a fine narrative and visuals that really creep under the skin. A real treat.
18. Under The Shadow
A film that’s topping lots of people’s movie of the year lists, and one that not many of us got to see. Know as little about Under The Shadow going in is our recommendation, and seek it out on the video on demand service where it now resides. A modern horror classic.
17. 10 Cloverfield Lane
A real surprise, in more than one sense. Firstly, in January, 10 Cloverfield Lane didn’t really exist. Sure, it had been made (under a different name), but the movie wasn’t on the Paramount release schedule – until the day it unleashed a surprise trailer. Even better, the film is one of the tensest studio films of the year, a three hander at heart where the stakes are agonisingly dialled up, and the armrests gradually ripped from their seats. Oddly, only the forced Cloverfield link let the side down a little.
16. Eddie The Eagle
Dexter Fletcher’s charming and very funny biopic of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards has much to commend it, not least a terrific leading turn from Taron Egerton. But it also has one of the best comedy supporting roles of the year, provided by Keith Allen in deadpan form. Plus, a moment with a jumper that made us cry. We’re softies really.
15. The Neon Demon
Horror, pitch-black comedy, fashion industry satire – The Neon Demon isn’t easily pigeon-holed. But then again, what else should we expect from Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of such wayward, febrile delights as Bronson, Only God Forgives and Drive? Full-blooded, beautifully shot and utterly bizarre, The Neon Demon isn’t for everyone, but once seen, it’s a tough film to shake. One thing’s for sure: cinema would be a less exciting place without Refn around.
14. Your Name
A romantic fantasy that keeps you engrossed to the very end, Your Name is one of the best animated films of the year. About two people who swap bodies before a cataclysmic event, Your Name is exquisitely animated and thoroughly moving. A huge hit in Japan, the movie again is further proof that Makoto Shinkai is one of the finest directors working in anime.
13. Tale Of Tales
The darkest of dark fantasies, Matteo Garrone’s Tale Of Tales is full of unforgettable images and moments of queasy humour. Taking in three interlocking stories, it introduces Salma Hayek as a queen who dines on a raw dragon heart; Toby Jones and his colossal pet flea, and Vincent Cassel as an incurably randy prince. Quite how Garrone convinced this amazing cast – which also includes John C Reilly – to appear in such demented roles is a mystery, but we’re very glad he did. Funny, enthralling and stunning to look at, Tale Of Tales is a true gem.
12. Green Room
Oh lord, the dog. That room. Patrick Stewart in ultra menacing form. Jeremy Saulnier’s hard as nails thriller follows up his similarly strong Blue Ruin, and the end result is terrific. Few films have managed anything close to the tension and bite of Green Room this year, and you also get another quality performance from the late Anton Yelchin. Already widely available on disc this, which is a good job, as loads of people missed it at the pictures.
In the wrong hands, this story of a young woman imprisoned in a shed with her young son could’ve been nasty and depressingly exploitative. But thanks to director Lenny Abrahamson’s lightness of touch and screenwriter Emma Donoghue’s humane approach, Room instead emerges as a heartfelt and compelling story of courage and survival. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay were rightly praised for their performances as the mother and son – and, indeed, the pairing is what gives the film such unvarnished impact.
Join us throughout the week as we count down our top ten…