Knight Of CupsTerrence Malick can be a difficult director to understand, but the sheer beauty of his craft is not to be overlooked. In this year’s Knight of Cups, Malick brings his traditional search for meaning through the lens of a celebrity (Christian Bale) looking for love and life by indulging in debauchery and affairs one after another, seemingly without any meaning. Fair warning, if you didn’t like Tree of Life, you’ll probably come out cursing this movie too. On the other hand, if you let Malick hold your hand and take you on a surreal trip, this film will stay with you for a long time after the end credits roll.
Budhia Singh: Born To RunOne of the great mysteries of 2016 is why such a superbly-crafted movie released without any due publicity and disappeared from theatres almost as soon as it came out. The biographical story of the world’s youngest marathoner, whose life garnered praise and controversy in equal measure, is only heightened by Manoj Bajpayee’s performance as Budhia’s coach. Unlike other biographical movies, writer-director Soumendra Padhi doesn’t take sides and allows the viewers to judge Budhia Singh’s short-lived fame as they see fit.
Whisky Tango FoxtrotThe creative folk on Twitter abbreviated the movie’s title and went WTF without even bothering to see Whisky Tango Foxtrot. Tina Fey plays war correspondent Kim Baker in this satirical movie about the Afghanistan war which makes a strong statement on war politics, long-distance relationships, the role of the media, dealing with cultural differences and the limits of our ambitions. A lot of people dismissed this movie as a comedy simply because Tina Fey starred in it, which is a real tragedy because Whisky Tango Foxtrot is an intelligent and brave movie that deserves to be seen by more people.
WaitingThis heart-warming movie starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin is all about celebrating life within the confines of the hospital where their characters meet. Despite their obvious age difference, the duo’s easy camaraderie and sparkling chemistry lights up the screenplay’s lighter moments. The emotional force of the film will make you call your loved ones and speak to them as soon as the movie ends.
DemolitionThere is little doubt that Jake Gyllenhaal has an uncanny knack of picking the best screenplays. In Demolition, Gyllenhaal plays a successful investment banker, Davis, whose world comes apart when he loses his wife in a car accident. Davis’ emotional journey as he discovers himself through another family’s turmoil, while dealing with his own healing process, makes Demolition a definite must-watch. It might start out whacky and feel out-of-place, but, by the end of the film, Demolition satisfies our movie-watching experience on a sublime level.
ArrivalOne of the most recent movies to release in India, Arrival has a meta concept of communicating with aliens in director Denis Villeneuve’s latest feature. Like the best sci-fi movies, Arrival creates suspense masterfully with light and sound playing starring roles alongside Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. It is also interesting to see a movie in which Hollywood doesn’t use firepower to overpower the aliens. Really, we’ve had enough of those to last us a lifetime!
The LobsterWhat a quirky little film this one is! The storyline of finding love or being turned into an animal of your choice is one of the wackiest ones we’ve heard in a while. But to actually make an entertaining and engrossing movie on the concept takes some doing. Hats off to director Yorgos Lanthimos and the star cast for this beautifully weird film that manages to be bizarre and unique at the same time. If you haven’t seen this one yet, drop everything and go watch it now.
Brahman NamanWe’ve been waiting forever for a coming-of-age film that captures the trauma and tension of growing up in modern India for a while now. Brahman Naman, which features a cameo by Siddharth Mallya and is directed by India’s most irrelevant director Q (Qaushik Mukherjee), is the closest we’ve come to watching a movie that captures the dilemma of today’s youth. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, nor did it get a widespread release in India, but we’d urge you to catch this one on Netflix and enjoy the antics of its cast.
Nil Battey SannataThis was yet another movie that was lauded by critics but got a thumbs-down from audiences. Most movies with a message – this one talks about educating the girl child – get preachy after a while, but Nil Battey Sannata’s biggest achievement is the light-heartedness with which it treats the story without sapping the viewer’s mind. Swara Bhaskar shines in the lead role while the direction by debutante Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is spot on throughout the movie. This is a feel-good film which actually delivers on its promise.
Swiss Army ManIt created all the right ripples with its quirky trailers. Which is why Swiss Army Man came as a surprise that the movie wasn’t as well-received by viewers when it released early this year. The crazy movie tells of the exploits of a dead man with an affinity for farting, who teaches his living friend the meaning of love, in a screenplay that is full of humour and a director whose heart is in the right place. It also helps that Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe put in sterling performances. This is the perfect feel-good movie to end the year with.
-Like this article? Also read: #YearInReview: The Forgotten Film Characters of 2016 Cover Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com