Top 5… Films from 2005

2005 was apparently a violent and bloody year. Proceed through my top 5 with caution. You have been warned…

5. A History of Violence

David Cronenberg is more famous for creating crazy body-horror films like Videodrome and The Fly but in 2005 he went about as mainstream as he is ever likely to get. Viggo Mortensen plays a coffee shop owner and family man in a small American town where he saves  his customers from a couple of violent killers. This makes him a bit of a celebrity but some mobsters think they recognise him as one of their own who disappeared years ago and begin to stalk him and his family.

Be warned, this film is very bloody and very violent. It holds no punches and earns its 18 certificate. But if you can handle it this is an amazing film that for me is one of Cronenberg’s finest.

4. The Descent

Six girls go spelunking and lose their way in the caves. As they descend deeper and deeper into the darkness they begin to realise they are not alone and soon they are fighting for their lives against some creatures that have learnt to survive in pitch black.

This is a film of two halves; the first introduces the characters superbly and gets us invested in them and their relationships and we begin to really care for their safety as they find themselves helplessly lost with no chance of help. Then when things go from bad to bloody and gory worse, it becomes a masterpiece of modern horror.

Neil Marshall showed such great promise with this film and it’s a bit of a shame he has never been able to equal it since.

3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Back when Robert Downey Jr was still a washout and Val Kilmer’s career had been dead for a number of years, the writer of the Lethal Weapon films decided to get behind the camera for the first time and created the best buddy cop film for a decade.

Downey plays a criminal who manages to evade the police by pretending to be an actor and winning an audition (don’t ask). Val Kilmer is the cop assigned to train him to act like a real cop. However, in true film noir style, they (along with the fantastic Michelle Monaghan) get embroiled in a murder and conspiracy that has them losing fingers and having electrodes attached to some very sensitive areas.

What makes this film work so well though is the comedy throughout. The chemistry between Downey and Kilmer is fantastic and the screenplay so well written that I find it endlessly entertaining and criminally underwatched!

2. Serenity

Every one knows the Joss Whedon by now but once upon a time he was the best kept secret of many a geek. After massive success with the Buffy TV series he tried his hand at a TV western set in space called Firefly. This was amazingly cancelled after just one amazing series but somehow Whedon managed to convince the studio to allow him to create a movie and what a movie it is!

A motley crew of space criminals find themselves on the run with a girl with psychic powers and combat skills that would but Jason Bourne to shame. With this girl they intend to bring down the Alliance that controls space. But it is the way Whedon creates meaningful and loved characters and balances them all so wonderfully that really allows this film to work. From Mal’s super cool captain to Jayne’s dumb but handy gunfighter, they all shine on screen whenever we get to see them.

If you’ve not seen the TV series then you have to watch it and when it finishes grab yourself a copy of this and enjoy. You’ll not regret it!

1. Sin City

Adapting graphic novels are all the rage at the moment but probably still the most visually amazing one is Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino’s Sin City. With three different directors this is no normal film. It is three stories (plus a smaller one that bookends the film) interwoven in an almost Pulp Fiction style way.

First up you have Mickey Rourke as the giant Marv who is out to find the killer of the only woman he ever loved. Then you have Bruce Willis as John Hartigan, the only decent cop in town who was sent to prison for protecting a girl from a serial killer. Finally you have Clive Owen’s handsome Dwight caught in the middle of a war between corrupt cops and prostitutes.

Shot in black and white with amazing use of colour in places. It really is a visual treat. With an amazing ensemble cast filling out the film it was going to be hard for anything to come close this year.

Honourable Mentions

  • Munich – Spielberg goes very serious and scores another winner
  • Pride & Prejudice – Joe Wright debuts with a fantastic Austen adaptation
  • V for Vendetta – A bleak future explodes on screen
  • Batman Begins – Nolan shows everyone how to to create a dark comic book adaptation
  • King Kong – Jackson’s Lord of the Rings follow up doesn’t disappoint
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