I dislike writing any definitive end-of-year lists before seeing almost everything that I figure could qualify. That's why we're doing these in January, ensuring that I was able to get to almost everything. I saw over 300 films in 2016, and yet I still feel like there are probably a couple that I missed. Regardless, there comes the point in time when you have to be happy with what you've got, and that's how I feel about this list.
2016 was a disappointment in many ways. Most of the blockbusters were failures, and that led to many people claiming that the entire cinematic year was awful. Well, no, it wasn't; you just need to see different movies. When a year contains as many good movies as 2016 did - I saw 90 to which I gave a 7/10 or higher - then it can't be a failure.
So, if you were looking for some shining examples of cinema in 2016, I present to you my top 5 films of 2016. They're in alphabetical order. If you want to know what my #1 is, you're going to have to wait until next week for my 2016 CineMarter Awards!
Hell or High Water
Directed by David Mackenzie. Produced by Sidney Kimmel, Peter Berg, Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn, Gigi Pritzker, and Rachel Shane. Written by Taylor Sheridan. Release date: August 12, 2016.
Set against the backdrop of an economic recession, Hell or High Water follows two brothers who rob banks to pay off their recently deceased mother's mortgage and avoid foreclosure. Yes, they're using the bank's money to pay it back. Of course, the mortgage was done in an underhanded way, the banking elite is taking away livelihood and property from everyone, and the brothers are just trying to stick it to the banks in a small way.
Hell or High Water is a nearly perfect movie. It's flawless on a technical level, immersive beyond belief, wonderfully acted, and very thought-provoking. It's the type of film that gives you such a high upon seeing it, knowing that you just saw what essentially amounts to cinematic perfection.