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Top 10 British Films Of 2014

10. The Trip to Italy


Three heads worked a treat for original hound of hell Cerberus and it’s worked pretty darn well also for actors Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and director Michael Winterbottom, who from the starting point of A Cock and Bull Story have turned themselves into a comedy cottage industry. The first The Trip even triggered a viral smash, via Coogan and Brydon’s competing Michael Caine impressions.

Once again playing lampoons of their own public personas, the acting duo’s newest outing sees them follow in the footsteps of George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman, as they make a journey to Italy. But what trip next for this generation’s Chuckle Brothers? Chepstow Racecourse? The cabbage markets of Mogadishu? The inside of a gerbil’s anus, giving an entirely fresh spin on the Richard Gere rumour?

9. ’71


Like a li’l Benedict Cumberbatch in training, former Skins star Jack O’Connell seemed to be in just about everything this year. It got to the point where you’d have sworn you saw his mardy snout staring back at you from the entrails of last night’s kebab or that tissue you just sneezed in.

Whether this ubiquity proves to be the first steps on the march to A-List glory or a Johnathon Schaech-style flash in the pan, O’Connell impressed in both David Mackenzie’s Starred Up and also in ’71; with its Sundance debut lined up for January, this Belfast-set thriller looks poised to make a Stateside splash in 2015.

8. Pride


British cinema has a long tradition of delivering heart-warming hits, particularly ones which blend social issues and crowd-pleasing comedy.

With its story of gay rights activists giving their support to striking miners, Pride duly taps into that tradition, and it stood tall as this year’s answer to The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and 28 Days Later (er, maybe scratch that last one).

7. Locke

Shot over eight consecutive nights by writer-director Steven Knight, this entirely BMW-bound drama sees Tom Hardy playing Ivan Locke, a man with a strong Welsh accent and a heavy cold – which, coincidentally, is exactly what most people thought Hardy sounded like in The Dark Knight Rises.

As in Buried, the drama develops solely through the countless phone calls made and received by the main character over the course of the film’s running time. Which might sound like a chore to endure, but for all Locke’s faults (dumb symbolism, wobbly Welsh accent), it sustains the interest more effectively than it has any right to.

6. Starred Up

From The Italian Job’s urbane royalist Mr Bridger, to Ray Winstone barking “‘oo’s the Daddy?” in Scum, to Ronnie Barker doing EXACTLY what he did on telly but with slightly more space to his left and right in the movie version of Porridge, prison pictures are a gold-plated part of Britain’s cinematic heritage.

Okay, so the less said about the version of The Mean Machine with Vinnie Jones the better (as rubbish as when he captained Wales to that 7-1 defeat…). Starred Up, however, is undeniably one of the superior Brit-flicks set in clink, able as it is to boast a deeply impressive cast, including Jack O’Connell and that increasingly piping Aussie, Ben Mendelsohn.

5th – 1st Place >

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13 Comments »

  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    You can’t call one of the premium actors of his generation, Brendan Gleeson, an “auburn yeti”. Outrageous.

    Is there some contract somewhere that says Chris O’Dowd has to be in every British film this year?

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  • G said

    Under the Skin was awful. Trying to hard to be a David Lynch film. Though Scarlet’s English ascent was surprisingly believable.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      I gotta say I loved Under the Skin. It wasn’t surreal and hard to interpret like a Lynch film it was more mainstream Kubrickian and I thought it was the best British film of 2014 so far (that I’ve seen). Sure some of the shots in the second half run a few seconds too long and it lacked the energy of the first half but the composition and visual storytelling were top drawer.

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      • G said

        I thought it was surreal just for the sake of being surreal. It did have a beauty to it, but it was all a bit pointless to me.

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  • gd smith said

    I liked under the skin. but I wish people would stop flinging Lynch a Kubrick around as comparisons.
    Lynch is a one off. Kubrick tended to stay fairly close to the source material he was working with, but made it is own through tone which usually involve a lot of humour.

    Under the Skin is much closer to social realism, meeting the French new Wave of Godard for a gnomic remake Xtro

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Stephen King was very upset at what a departure The Shining was from the source material. Jonathan Glazer’s camera style is like Kubrick, not like Godard as far as I can see. It has the same cold detachment too. While the opening sequence with the eye forming could have been a deleted scene from 2001.

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  • JemimaR said

    I think the best british films of 2014 are Cuban Fury and soon The Inbetweeners 2 not seen many others yet …
    🙂

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  • jwal said

    number 2 is not a brit movie, its Irish. Irish cast, irish location, nothing british about it

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      It’s a co-production and describes itself as such, paid for by the UK National Lottery, nominated for Best British Film at the BAFTAs.

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  • Melody said

    Under the Skin sucked SO badly, SO HARD! What the feck is it doing on this feckin list?! What are ye thinkin?!

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  • Melody said

    I wouldnt watch Paddington, so disappointed I was with the bears appearance. He actually has a thin face! What bear has a THIN FACE?! Brendan Gleeson can do no wrong so far as I am concerned. He is amazing in all that he does!

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