Top 5 Films of 2015

Here are the must-see films of 2015. Reflecting on movies of the past year, I realized it’s been a pretty damn good one for cinema. The great thing about the year’s best films is that they covered a wide span of topics. The following are my personal Top 5 of the year, although this list could easily be extended.

These are films that entertained and educated me. They’re experiences I thoroughly enjoyed and plan on reliving again soon.

Mild spoilers ahead. In no particular order:

Mad Max: Fury Road

A thrill ride from beginning to end. The plot is thin, dialogue is sparse and the character development is minimal to the point of just giving you what you need to be carried along on this turbo-charged ride of mayhem.

The hellish world’s characters are fascinating and surreal. There’s a switch in focus from Max to Furiosa and once you see the feminist hues, the whole movie takes on deeper thematic significance.

But deeper meanings aside, the look and style of the film is so fresh and captivating that its worth the watch just give your eyeballs a treat.

Sicario

This front-line look at Mexican cartels drips with suspense. What starts as an American inter-agency operation to stem cartel violence in the homeland quickly spirals into an intriguing strike deep in drug-empire territory.

You’re caught along with Emily Blunt in the whirlwind of socio-political machinations while the real story here is one of revenge.

The film poses heavy ethical questions in the decisions made by individuals as well as nations.

Room

A film about a mother and child that pushes the boundary of your understanding of love. A situation of extreme depravity is experienced through a child’s eyes but shielded by his mother. The turning point had my heart pounding and I knew I was committed, one hundred percent.

The story is beautifully told and pulls you into caring deeply about the characters. This has the effect of enriching the film’s moments of sadness, anguish, hope and cathartic joy.

The Martian

Science is cool. Whether you agree with that statement or not, the Martian is out to prove it. While the book contains the more technical details that emphasize the science in science fiction, the film makes the subject friendly for all viewers.

You root for Matt Damon who strives to stay alive on Mars while NASA contrives a way to rescue him.

A celebration of human ingenuity and the will to survive, this movie does more than entertain. It leaves you with an uplifting feeling of optimism for what humanity is capable of.

Spotlight

Follow a team of journalists played by a stellar cast as they expose the truth of corruption at the highest levels. The movie’s central theme is institutionalized abuse. Both meanings of abuse ring true as the story highlights the staggering number of instances where priests misuse their position of authority to shatter young lives.

The film achieves a realism that is vital to conveying its story. You get a sense of the importance of the free press and their role in keeping powerful institutions of our society in check.

The film also poses the question of how much personal responsibility you have as a member of the community that allows abuse to exist.

There you have it. My Top 5 of the year and I didn’t even mention Star Wars!

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