7 Great Movies You Missed in 2015
2015 was an amazing year for films, with massive blockbusters like The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Martian storming the box office and winning no shortage of critical praise. But with so many great movies, it was easy for smaller releases to slip under the radar - so if you’re looking for a good film to watch tonight, here’s seven you probably missed in 2015.
Adapting a Shakespeare text into a film is always a risky proposition, but Australian director Justin Kurzel's take on Macbeth certainly does the play justice. Although Kurzel makes a few narrative tweaks, he has largely maintained the supernatural elements of ‘The Scottish Play.’ Michael Fassbender plays Macbeth with fervent energy, and is utterly convincing as a battle-torn warrior. Equally impressive is Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. Although it is hard to outshine the acting, the panoramic shots of the Scottish Highlands certainly make the film. Despite being a Shakespeare classic, it appears that because this movie’s release coincided with the screening of Spectre and Suffragette it did not receive the press it merited.
Shot entirely on an iPhone, this movie narrates the explosive friendship of two transgender prostitutes on the rampage on Christmas Eve. Sean Baker’s Tangerine made its impressive world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival as part of the NEXT program. The film overturns conventions in casting and film techniques and critics say that this micro-budget comedy signifies a major leap for transgender people in film. Rodriquez and Taylor are a fiery double act, and amid the rough LA street life there is real affection and compassion between the pair. It seems people missed this movie because because of its low-budget art-house nature, leaving it overshadowed by action movie money-makers.
3. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
This movie is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel and is set in San Francisco in 1976, narrating the experiences of 15-year old budding artist Minnie. Her diaristic voiceover is convincing and comical. Minnie is desperate to lose her virginity, and so willingly sleeps with her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend, sending her into emotional turmoil. The plot is morally and emotionally complex, and often awkwardly close to the bone. This film was given an 18 certificate in UK cinemas due to strong sex scenes, meaning the girls the film speaks to are actually unable to see it. This age certificate no doubt accounts for why it has not received the publicity it deserves.
4. The Wolfpack
The Wolfpack is a documentary which reveals the lives of the seven Angulo brothers, who are locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Their dominating Peruvian father, Oscar, only lets them leave the apartment on rare occasions. However, something creative is sparked from their seclusion as the children learn about life by watching movies, inspiring them to stage their own versions and create their own props. This documentary is unlike anything you will have watched and whilst it is not special in terms of filmmaking, it is bizarrely entertaining and intriguing.
5. A Syrian Love Story
This is an award-winning documentary film by Sean McAllister that tells the poignant story of a Syrian family torn apart by the Assad regime. Given the current political bearing, this film skilfully depicts a refugee family that do not want to be pitied, but rather want to be regarded as revolutionary participants in securing hope for their family and their homeland. Shot over the course of 5 years, this film vividly records the impact of the Syrian war on refugee and family life.
6. Black Mass
Directed by Scott Cooper, the film follows the criminal career of infamous Irish-American mobster Whitey Bulger, played by the acclaimed Jonny Depp. Bulger becomes an FBI informant with the aim of taking down a Mafia family. Cooper does an effective job of depicting the Boston underworld and Depp certainly adds to this, making a compelling gangster. Given Depp’s usual caricature in Tim Burton’s films, it is certainly interesting to see him play a murderous crime-lord.
7. 45 Years
Rated highly amongst film critics, this film features superb performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay and is directed exquisitely by Andrew Haigh. It transforms the seemingly ordinary story of a marriage in quiet crisis into something unexpected. Their marriage is disrupted when an unexpected letter arrives a week before their wedding anniversary party revealing that the body of her first love has been discovered, frozen in the Swiss Alps. This powerful British drama is a triumph for Haigh, closely depicting the intimacy of two people.
By Nina Harris