Needless to say it’s been a pretty big year for film, from Oscar winning dramas to massive action blockbusters, 2016 has seen it all. With a seemingly never-ending list of celebrity deaths, and some of the biggest political events of the 21st century, we’ve really needed the cinema more than ever this year. Our writers have voted and we’ve compiled a list of our favourites. With two ties in the voting for the top 10, our list begins at number 8. Here are The Edge’s top 10 films of the year.
8. Zootropolis (dir. Bryon Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush)
Yet another anthropomorphic triumph for the animation studios at Disney, Zootropolis charts the unlikely friendship between two animals from contrasting walks of life: ambitious rabbit police officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and cunning street con-man Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). With the predatory mammals disappearing from the streets of this symbiotic metropolis, the duo embark on a journey that teaches us the inaccuracy of stereotypes, the value of friendship and the need to have strength to face the challenges and setbacks life throws at us.
With cutting edge animation and music featuring from Shakira, the film received universal acclaim from critics and the general public, including a 98% approval rating on popular critic site Rotten Tomatoes. Its accolades include the Critics’ Choice for Best Animated Feature, and it is currently awaiting the results of a Golden Globe nomination in the same category. With a strong supporting cast including Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons and Bonnie Hunt, Disney yet again raises its own brand standard with another true classic.
Words by Damian Meaden- Read our original review here.
8. The Hateful Eight (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Tied in at number eight is Tarantino’s western “who-done-it” murder mystery. He was bold to make the decision to return to the western genre after the massive critical success of his 2012 Oscar winning film Django Unchained. Nevertheless, despite initial scepticism, Tarantino succeeded in delivering another first-rate action flick. In one harsh Wyoming winter, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive captive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are forced to take shelter in a cabin where they meet a number of shady figures. Tarantino delivers what all of his films promise: witty screenplay, irrational gun wielding protagonists and a blood soaked setting. However, what makes this one stand out isn’t the violence which Tarantino is all too often criticised for, but the incredibly crafty and detailed script which builds the entire film’s narrative. For once, the action does not dominate the plot. This murder mystery keeps you hooked from start to finish, and yet again, Tarantino doesn’t disappoint.
Words by Hollie Geraghty- Read our original review here.
7. Finding Dory (dir. Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane)
Fans of 2003’s Finding Nemo have waited with baited breath for Pixar to make a sequel, akin to the successes of the Toy Story and Cars franchises. They were finally rewarded with Finding Dory, a heartwarming tale following the eponymous amnesiac fish who won the hearts of many as a supporting character in the first film. Her uplifting and at points devastating story of her journey home to find her missing family enraptured the hearts of families worldwide.
Ellen DeGeneres is a joy in her voicing of Dory, adding layer upon layer of emotion to this largely comic character. Though Marlon (Albert Brooks) and Dory (now Hayden Rolence) slip largely into her shadow, a new host of supporting characters provide depth to Finding Dory‘s oceans and belly-aching laughs in the plenty. Perhaps the film’s greatest success is that it stands alone against its successful predecessor, creating a thoroughly different, but just as good, tale, to keep the whole family entertained.
Words by James Barker- Read our original review here.
6. Bridget Jones’s Baby (dir. Sharon Maguire)
In a year of forgettable, passable and just downright bad reboots, crossovers and sequels, we needed the return of Bridget Jones herself for the year to be redeemed. And she delivered (literally). Now at her goal weight and a top job Bridget finds herself pregnant and a tad uncertain of the identity of the father. The film manages to remain relevant while giving us the Bridget we know and love. Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are back as on and off lovers. Despite a six-year break from movie-making, Zellweger falls effortlessly back into the charming, relatable and awkward Bridget with Emma Thompson acting as both co-writer and scene-stealing doctor. New additions of Sarah Solemani and Patrick Dempsey round out the cast nicely. The film also features an incredible pregnancy-labour-revolving-door gag which alone would be deserving of a place on this list.
Words by Alice Johannessen- Read our original review here.
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane (dir. Dan Trachtenberg)
When J.J. Abrams announced a “spiritual successor” to his 2008 hit Cloverfield in January this year, audiences were naturally concerned. However, we soon discovered that these fears were largely unnecessary, as first time director, Dan Trachtenberg delivered a tense, Hitchcockian style thriller with a smart sci-fi twist. John Goodman gives an award-worthy performance as Howard, the mysterious, yet creepy owner of an underground bunker, who is keeping Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) captive after a mysterious biological attack against the United States. It is the interactions between these three characters, in this cramped bunker that is the main source of tension, as you start to question whether Howard is a friend or a threat, and as things escalate over the course of the film, it’s hard not to feel a sense of claustrophobia, as, like Michelle and Emmett, we feel trapped in this confined space with a possible psychopath. Although the film’s third act has proved to be controversial with some audiences, it’s hard to deny that Trachtenberg has made a tense and scary monster movie that shows that sometimes, the real monsters are those who look exactly like us.
Words by Jack Sheppard- Read our original review here.
5. Spotlight (dir. Tom McCarthy)
The second tie in our list is perhaps the definition of subtle and understated. Tom McCarthy’s powerful and shocking Spotlight is a fascinating look behind the curtain of a hugely important and controversial subject, helmed by a brave team of journalists.
Featuring terrifically nuanced performances from Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton, a tightly written screenplay and some stellar direction from McCarthy, Spotlight is unlike any other film on this list; this feels like a documentary more than a film, the natural and realistic nature of Spotlight just makes it all the more commendable and engaging.
Additionally the film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards earlier this year, standing out as unquestionably the best of the pack (with the possible exception of Room, but more on that later…). Spotlight is a film that relies truly on its substance and story, both of which are utilised to perfection. While other films this year display an over the top facade of substance to hide their obvious flaws, Spotlight simply rests and sits in the mind and causes you to think and meditate on what it has to say. The messages and themes of the film are truly inspiring and important in our times, it’s a film that isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said and to call out those who need to be brought to justice. Spotlight is as much a statement as it is an outstanding film.
Words by David Mitchell-Baker- Read our original review here.
4. Room (dir. Lenny Abrahamson)
Released at the start of this year, Room still remains one of the standout films of this year. After winning a much deserved Best Actress Oscar for the film that shot her to stardom, Brie Larson has gone on to be cast in major films including Kong: Skull Island and Captain Marvel. So what was so great about her performance? Her heart wrenching portrayal of a mother in such a desperate situation,trying to raise a young child in the harshest of environments is a truly remarkable and emotional experience.
Alongside her is the fantastic Jacob Tremblay. The two stars quickly bonded on set and this is immediately apparent in the on screen interactions. In his breakout role, Tremblay excels and his interactions with Larson give the film warmth even in such dark and cold surroundings. This film will make you laugh, smile and cry in equal measure, and was a worthy candidate for Best Picture at the Oscars. When the film starts, you get a quick sense of what sort of film Room is, but it continuously surprises and amazes with its twists, and still manages to be one of the most life affirming films released this year.
Words by Jordan Brown- Read our original review here.
3. Captain America: Civil War (dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo)
Let’s be honest, we’re all a bit fed up of superhero movies now, right? There’s so many of them inundating our screens that it can be hard to keep up. However, the third Captain America film, Captain America: Civil War, must really have had something special, as it has swooped its way into our top ten with little effort. Civil War takes what is one of the most prolific story events in recent comic book history, and makes what is truly a brilliant and well thought out Marvel movie, and one that is in my opinion, one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best.
When making a superhero film which features multiple heroes, one of the biggest difficulties is balancing the time given to each character. It can be very easy to ignore lesser characters in favour of the more popular ones. However, something that this film achieves is that is gives such careful attention to each and every hero. Even with new characters being introduced such as Black Panther and Spiderman, Marvel have managed to make us care about them with limited screen time and created intrigue about each of their upcoming solo movies. The other strength of the film comes from the human motives and reactions throughout. When watching a world that runs parallel to our world but is filled with the extraordinary and imagined, the scenes with genuine human emotion help us to connect and better understand that world. Having a villain like Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is refreshing to the genre, and makes the film stand out among the rest.
Words by Rehana Nurmahi- Read our original review here.
2. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
2016 has been a terrible year from start to finish, but in February a ray of beautiful meta sunshine glowed upon us as Deadpool finally made his long-awaited return to the big screen. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a terrible movie – arguably the 2016 of the X-Men franchise if you will, and it depicted Wade Wilson in a terrible, unforgivable light that reduced the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ to a voiceless, creepy looking zombie ninja. For years, fans hungered for an adaptation that would show their favourite Marvel anti-hero as he was meant to be, and thankfully, this second attempt did not disappoint.
Redeeming himself like a champion, “God’s Perfect Idiot” Ryan Reynolds returned to the role, bringing an irresistible blend of charisma and wisecracking humour to the assassin who gains immortality (and a face that “looks like Freddy Krueger fucked a topographical map of Utah”) after experiencing the world’s worst cancer treatment. Wonderfully self-referential, crude and violent, Deadpool proved that R-rated superhero films are something the world desperately needs – and wants. It grossed $783 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, as well as the highest grossing X-Men film. Simply put, we can’t wait for the sequel.
Words by Anneka Honeyball- Read our original review here.
1. The Revenant (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s dynamic follow up to the equally breath taking Best Picture winning Birdman, sees DiCaprio brave the elements (and a bear) in the name of revenge and some Oscar glory of his own. The Revenant follows Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a frontiersman driven by revenge after being left for dead during an expedition. The Revenant is easily a landmark film of the decade, exploiting a range of talent at their artistic peaks with both Iñárritu and Lubezki displaying the true extent of their abilities as well as a career defining performance from DiCaprio and an equally strong, if not superior, display from Hardy.
With its mesmerising cinematography which manipulates natural light and omniscient objectification through hypnotic movements of the camera, the film re-defines cinematic immersion and transports you to the tragic world of Hugh Glass. But what The Revenant is often over-looked for as a result of its technical genius is its heart and overwhelming brutality that powerfully conveys the physically transcending drive of human emotion. It’s a rare and welcomed technical masterclass which astounds and provokes at every turn, and despite its January UK release, The Revenant, like Hugh Glass himself, has persevered to remain at the very pinnacle of our top 10 in an impressively strong year for film.
Words by Liam Beazley- Read our original review here.