Number One: The Witch
Set around 60 years prior to the Salem Witch Trials, the script, costume and setting are all extremely authentic to the period The Witch represents. Writer / director Robert Eggers draws influence and dialogue from original texts and balances this with a stark soundtrack, adding a real sense of dread to the surroundings
The film doesn’t focus on the panicked witch hunting we are used to – no one is put to trial, burned at the stake or dangled from a bridge. The Witch instead slow burns as the family descend into paranoia and anguish at missing children, failing crops and waning faith.
Well executed folk-horror has always been one of the most effective incarnations of the genre and it has rarely been presented as perfectly as here. Check out my full review HERE.
Number Two: The Nice Guys
Easily the funniest film of the year, The Nice Guys is the perfect mix of comedy and neo-noir featuring perfect performances from Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.
Tangled into a web of confusing, seventies crime, the unlikely duo are pitched together as their confused detective work clashes on the trail of a dead porn star.
I don’t remember the last time I laughed this much at the cinema – it’s everything good about Inherent Vice and Boogie Nights rolled into a package – watching Gosling and Crowe stumble from one opportune discovery to the next had me in stitches for the full 116 minutes.
Number Three: Hail Caesar!
The latest film form the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is an extremely funny slapstick run through classic Hollywood.
Following Hollywood ‘fixer’ Eddie Manix (Josh Brolin), as he struggles to juggle the tribulations of everything and everyone associated with his production studio, the film deals with a host of challenging characters and situations as Manix works to keep things smooth across his various productions.
At times, the plot feels like it exists purely to link the jokes and cameos but that’s never a problem – they always hit the mark. Hail, Caesar! is the Coen brothers best work for a long, long… did I say LONG(?) time.
Honourable Mentions: The Neon Demon, The Jungle Book and The Big Short.
What makes it on to your best of 2016 list? Let me know on Twitter on in the comments section below. Look out for more of my best of 2016 series coming soon…