December 31, 2015 | Category: Films

Film Fight 2015: Finale

Another year, another Film Fight almost over. While the monthly posts were later than I’d have liked, they weren’t as bad as the previous year. As per my annual caveat, Film Fight is done in a knock-out style: it’ll select my favourite film of the year, but there are no guarantees about second place.

First up, the honourable mentions. Films that were good, but were beaten in their own month:

  • Big Hero 6
  • St Vincent
  • Foxcatcher
  • Whiplash
  • Ex Machina
  • Catch Me Daddy
  • The Voices
  • Child 44
  • Spy
  • The Overnight
  • Southpaw
  • The Legend of Barney Thompson
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Sicario
  • Suffragette
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Mississippi Grind
  • Steve Jobs
  • Bridge of Spies

Then the month winners:

  • January: Birdman
  • February: Selma
  • March: Predestination
  • April: Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • May: Mad Max: Fury Road
  • June: Slow West
  • July: Ant-Man
  • August: Trainwreck
  • September: The Martian
  • October: Macbeth
  • November: Kill Your Friends
  • December: Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

As always the first month or two of the year, had some exceptional films. The middle and very end of the year had the usual big budget films, with some nice smaller films squeezed in between.

Trying to pick a winner is very difficult. A few big Hollwood blockbusters made it through (Age of Ultron, Ant-man, Star Wars) that might not have made it in other months. They’re all good films, but there is little unique about them that won’t be repeated again next year. For a genuinely unique action film, we need to look to Mad Max: Fury Road. Relentlessly paced, clear action, with some of the best characters of the year; it’s a visual action treat.

The Martian showed us that you can do a big budget sci-fi film, with action and characters we care about while trying to stay grounded in reality. Predestination went the other way into time-bending craziness, pushing the sci-fi boundary without sacrificing on characters.

Macbeth is an extraordinary piece of film-making: incredibly acted and with some of the best visual storytelling in decades. Birdman was similar, capturing some excellent performances in a relentless edit, constantly blurring reality.

What should win? I’m genuinely torn between those last two to the point I’ve considered a tie for quite some time. However, I think I’m going to give it to Birdman. While both films were well-acted and directed, the editing in Birdman is exceptional. Constant motion keeps the pace up, while never really letting you see what is real and what isn’t. A very well deserved win.