2018 has had its fair share of cinematic highs (Blackkklansman, Lady Bird and Mandy), lows (The Happytime Murders, Mary Magdeline and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again), and enigmas (Bohemian Rhapsody). With so many outstanding features to pick from, here are my top five films of 2018:
The surprise film of the year, Searching is my fifth favourite film of 2018. Adopting the new desktop screen style of filmmaking, Searching proves its style worthwhile beyond the use in studio horrors, such as Unfriended. Aneesh Chaganty’s directorial debut uses its style effectively to unravel its mystery, mislead the audience and most surprisingly convey a lot of emotion. With an exceptional handle of style, an opening to rival Up and a strong lead performance from John Cho, Searching is a hidden gem I’m glad to have found.
4) The Shape of Water
2018’s Academy Award winning best picture is my fourth favourite film of the year. From the Mexican king of gothic fantasy, Guillermo Del Toro, comes an emotionally resonant and expertly crafted romance. The film follows a mute janitor named Elisa who falls in love with an amphibious man, who is held in the top-secret government facility which she cleans. With exceptional performances, tone and pacing, as well as its beautiful and quintessentially Del Toro sense of style, The Shape of Water is Del Toro’s English language masterpiece. It is fully deserving of its four Oscars.
Alfonso Cuarón’s black and white, Spanish language ode to motherhood is my third favourite film of the year. Straight from the heart of Alfonso Cuarón, director of Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Roma is nothing short of a masterpiece. A breath-taking display of the sheer filmmaking talent of one man. Cuarón writes his most personal story, which he brings to fruition through the long take in his first cinematography feature credit. It’s a shoo-in for the Oscars and an absolute must see in the cinema.
2) A Star Is Born
Speaking of multitalented, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is my second favourite film of 2018. Bradley Cooper proves not only his gift for filmmaking, but also that a third remake can be a good idea. With a determined director and outstanding performances from Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born is perhaps the most emotionally resonant and authentic film of the year. A no contest Oscar winner for its music, but hopefully, Cooper, Gaga and Elliot will get the recognition they deserve
1) American Animals
From writer/director Bart Layton, comes a truly unique and revolutionary heist movie. American Animals applies documentary to the biopic in a way that truly respects the audience watching. It both heightens the authenticity of events for the audience and questions the validity of the four boys accounts. Layton’s ground-breaking direction changes film as we know it, making American Animals nothing less than a masterpiece. Complete with strong performances from Blake Jenner, Barry Keoghan and especially Evan Peters, American Animals deserves all the awards. It’s my favourite film of 2018.