My Top Ten Films of 2018

10) You Were Never Really Here

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You Were Never Really Here is a blistering and stark character study of a man whose violent existence is no longer soothing the traumas of his past. Instead, it entrenches him further into hopelessness and suicide. Lynne Ramsay directs the film with the careful precision of a conductor, with present moments awakening horrifying memories of the past. The choice reinforces the film’s approach of favouring the exploration of inner anguish over the precision and bloody nature of Joe’s hired gun occupation.

9) The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water is an enchanting fairy tale drenched in Americana. Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning film is many things, sweet, sincere and strange in all the right places. But its most sly trick is framing the central creature as an embodiment of New Testament values against the antagonist who represents the prescribed fire and fury of the Old Testament.

8) Lady Bird 

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At their worst, coming of age movies are fraught with the over-egging of bludgeoning teenage antics that make their journeys seem severely unremarkable, as maddening hysterics are favoured over sobering personal growth. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, bridges the gap with effortless ease. The picture captures the teenage experience in all its endearing and frustrating dimension.

7) Mission: Impossible- Fallout

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The sixth entry in the enthusiastically boyish and death-defying action franchise marked the first time that a director returned to the series. Christopher McQuarrie melds the various facets of the series together in a gripping and well-constructed film. Fallout is a seductive spy thriller in the vein of Brian DePalma’s first entry, a post-modern justification for the series’ elaborate disguise antics and a wonderfully edited stunt spectacular that never ceases in its excitement.

6) BlacKkKlansman

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While BlacKkKlansman is undoubtedly a crowd-pleasing comedy that will often unite audiences in regular fits of laughter and disgust, the film is also a potent parable for our times and a reminder of how movies have helped in shaping it.

5) Mandy

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Mandy is a film that presents the manly revenge thriller at its most artistic and visionary. It seems less concerned with enticing the audience with its genre fueled comeuppance then startling with its heightened reality.

4) Black Panther 

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Black Panther is a brutal, stirring and nourishing film that provokes fascinating questions about equality and isolationism. It was one of those few movie experiences in which I felt a tinge of surrealism in witnessing and contemplating that a major studio produced a film like this. Like the outliers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film is made with firm confidence. But unlike many of those pictures, it dares to consider the world and its many morphing contradictions.

3) Phantom Thread

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Much like the lavish and regally constructed dresses that the renowned central character makes throughout Phantom Thread: Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest feature is a nimble and cunningly made drama that has many surprises woven within its fabric.

2) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

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In The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Coen brothers conceive of the West as puckish, frightfully cruel and tragically ironic. It’s remarkable that after No Country for Old Men and True Grit, the directing duo has an engaging vision of the genre. It’s even more miraculous that they use the Western as a jumping-off point for absurd and poignant stories that illustrate why we enjoy such tall tales.

1) Suspiria

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Undoubtedly, Suspiria is an ambitious horror film. It may be trying to some, baffling to most, but for those who are seduced; it is a persistently engrossing and unnerving experience that admirably attempts to combine historical weight and primordial pathos.

 

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
This entry was posted in 2018, 2018 Films, Lists, Top Tens and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to My Top Ten Films of 2018

  1. Rose Dymock says:

    Great list of the year. I loved BlacKkKlansman, in a way that makes me not ever want to see it again, but there are films on here that I really need to check out. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for commenting and following my blog. I had that same reaction that you had about Blackklansman when I first saw Suspiria, but curiosity always gets the better of me, so I have to see films a second time to see how it plays with all the pieces in place.

      From the films I listed, which ones intrigue you the most?

      Happy New Year to you too. I had a gander of your blog and appreciated your approach and ethos. I hope your blog continues to flourish in 2019.

      Like

  2. Keith says:

    Thanks for sharing the link. I can’t tell you how much I hated leaving “You Were Never Really Here” just outside my Top 10. I love that film. Great seeing “Phantom Thread” there. It was my #2 last year. What a mesmerizing movie. And of course “Fallout”. So glad to see someone else giving it its due.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ironically, I think “You Were Never Really Here” shares some virtues with Mandy. They both subvert genre expectations in favour of something far more disturbing and striking. Phantom Thread was my favourite film of the year for quite a while.

      And I share your sentiment with leaving a film out of the top ten. I had this with First Reformed. I only saw it in late November and felt I needed to live with it longer. But I admire it as a spiritual successor (pun not intended) to Taxi Driver and a contemporary retooling of Bergman’s spiritually angst-ridden chamber pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ryan says:

    Haven’t made my list yet because I still haven’t seen Suspiria. It just feels wrong to do it any other way! Great list btw. Any list that doesn’t include You Were Never Really Here is suspect.

    Like

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