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Top 10 British Films Of 2014

5. The Imitation Game


2014 was the year when the movie biz decided yes, definitely, let’s anoint that there Benedict Cumberbatch as a new global star, regardless of whether the paying punters especially want him or not.

In between all the insensibly drooling magazine profiles, Cumberwumba still found time for a spot of acting. He made the biggest waves with his portrayal of real-life genius codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, channelling his inner Sheldon from Big Bang Theory in order to do so.

4. The Double

In which Jesse Eisenberg is tormented by a vindictive doppelganger who tries to swipe his life right out from under him. No, not Michael Cera – the eponymous double is played by Eisenberg again. That’s right, this is a movie that gives you the Eis’ twice. Nice.

Um, anyway, The Double plays out a bit like a fusion of Dostoevsky (who, of course, wrote the source story) and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (which was co-written by The Double director Richard Ayoade), with a hefty dose of Welles’ The Trial tossed in there like a highly literate hand grenade.

3. Paddington

Okay, so first things first: it’s not a real bear. Obvious really. No self-respecting furry mammal from Peru would be caught dead hanging out with that berk from Downton Abbey.

As helmed by The Bunny and the Bull director Paul King, the cinematic revival of the ’70s kids’ TV favourite offers a glimpse of another form of rare wildlife, in the shape of the increasingly lesser spotted Nicole Kidman, known for its milky white coat and b-b-b-b-bonkers ex-hubbies.

2. Calvary

Auburn yeti Brendan Gleeson and writer-director John Michael McDonagh teamed up a few years back for The Guard, a rascally black comedy that took the mickey out of law enforcement, wannabe bad-ass gangsters, rural Ireland and action-thriller cliché alike.

The same star and same filmmaker joined forces once again this year for Calvary, which went one better than its predecessor.

“How so?” we hear you cry. Was it better scripted? Better performed? Better directed?

Well, maybe, maybe not. But it WAS definitely made with a lump of British cash, securing it a spot in this ‘ere Top 20, and meaning that Pudsey: The Movie can take a fricking hike.

1. Mr Turner

In which Timothy Spall, disappointingly, does NOT play Ike, former hubby of Tina, in what would’ve been a rocktacular bit of stunt casting to make Cate Blanchett’s Bob Dylan seen as conservative as the congealed blood of Dick Cheney. No, Timbo was instead playing legendary British painter-bloke J. M. W. Turner, and he duly put in a stonking showing which won him the Best Actor gong at this year’s Cannes.

His director, Mike Leigh, attracted plaudits too, the most improbable of which was his invitation onto a Hollywood Reporter directors’ round table alongside the likes of Angelina Jolie and Christopher Nolan. Hilariously, he proceeded to grump his way through the whole event like a gnome whose toadstool’s just been demolished.


So those are my picks for the year. What did or didn’t deserve to be on the list? Do you agree with the order? Let me know in the comments.


ALSO SEE
Top 10 Best British Films Of 2015 So Far
Top 10 Best British Comedy Films Of The Last 10 Years
Top 10 Best British Horror Films Of The Last 10 Years
Top 10 Best British Gangster Films

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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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