10. The Forgotten Kingdom (2013)
Dir. Andrew Mudge
To start off this list, I have a Lesotho based film, which also happened to be the first major feature film to be spoken in the Sesotho language. The film focuses on a young man who revisits his past only to find redemption in himself. With a talented cast backing it, this film proves to be one to reckon with.
9. Room (2015)
Dir. Lenny Abrahamson
At number nine is the critically acclaimed 2015 film, Room. This film focuses on a young mother who attempts to raise her son under captivity and later adapt to life outside. This strongly emotional drama is backed by a heart felt performance from Brie Larson and a breakout performance from Jacob Tremblay. This compelling story will undoubtedly engage you.
8. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Dir. George Miller
Next we have a film that re-amplified the action genre with a fresh new take. With the use of completely stunning effects, both practical and CGI, the story is able to progress with a unique style. But of course, there’s the gritty performances of Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy that firmly mold the film. As well as its total win of 6 Oscars.
7. Prisoners (2013)
Dir. Denis Villeneuve
At number seven is a crime drama entailing a man’s desperate search for his missing daughter. The tension created from scene to scene is absolutely compelling and shapes the story in a fascinating way. But there’s also the film’s gorgeous cinematography that acts as an eerie storytelling device.
6. A Separation (2011)
Dir. Asghar Farhadi
Next up is this artistically despairing film set in Iran. The story centralizes on a couple who are forced to choose between moving to another country to better their child’s life or stay in Iran and watch over a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This highly successful film credits its diverse cast and beautiful storytelling.
5. Ex Machina (2015)
Dir. Alex Garland
Here we have a sci-fi drama that focuses on a humanoid A.I. This compelling story revolves around the idea of whether or not a humanoid can emit human characteristics. And with a strong cast and beautiful cinematography, this film places itself at five.
4. Gone Girl (2014)
Dir. David Fincher
Next up is one of Fincher’s unique and stylistic films. Gone Girl tells the story of a man whose wife mysteriously goes missing, leaving the media to suspect his involvement. However, with Rosamund Pike’s intense portrayal as Amy Dunne, you can immediately sense the twisted nature of the film.
3. Whiplash (2014)
Dir. Damien Chazelle
At the third slot, I chose this intense drama centered on a promising drummer whose struggles begin when he finds himself under the teaching of a violently intense teacher. With the stellar performances of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons and an amazing soundtrack, this film went above and beyond.
2. Inception (2010)
Dir. Christopher Nolan
With Inception, Nolan was able to further explore his own unique style. And with the help of phenomenal actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the platform of this film is raised. But another form of ingenuity of this film comes from its elevating visuals and its iconic score. With the use of stunning effects, Inception cemented itself in the cinematic spotlight.
1. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Dir. Ethan & Joel Coen
And finally, for the number one slot, I chose Inside Llewyn Davis. With this film, the Coen brothers provided their audience with an artistically expressive period piece. We get to experience first hand the underwhelming life of Oscar Isaac’s aspiring folk singer. And with the use of cinematography to enhance each scene’s atmosphere. Along with an incredible cast and a reflective soundtrack, this film takes first.