Top 10 Films Hollywood Didn’t Make In 2015

In this top 10 list, we check out a handful of brilliant films that Hollywood didn’t make in 2015. Our choices come from all over the world including South Korea’s commercial hit Ode To My Father, the Speed-like Spanish action flick Retribution and the UK’s own triumphs such as 45 Years, Catch Me Daddy & Ex Machina.

10. Retribution (de la Torre, Spain)

Top 10 Films Hollywood Didn’t Make In 2015As close to a Hollywood action film as Spain has ever got, this edge-of-your-seat thriller has plenty to enjoy under the hood. It has a scattering of cultural anxieties prevalent in Spain right now with fast-paced, high-octane drama driving the narrative from startling beginning to thrilling end. There’s a little bit of Jan de Bont’s Speed in Retribution as a bank executive is forced to pay the bad guys after bombs are placed in his car. If he leaves his seated position, they’ll go off. What makes matters worse: his kids are in the car with him.

9. Mia Madre (Morretti, Italy)

Top 10 Films Hollywood Didn’t Make In 2015Directed by Palme d’Or winner Nanni Moretti, Mia Madre is a social drama hinged around the failing works of a film director trying to make a statement about worker’s rights. It was well-received by critics even if it didn’t find a large audience in the English-speaking world. Morretti, who features in the film as an actor also, coaxes some wonderful performances from his cast which includes John Turturro.

8. The Lobster (Lanthimos, Greece / UK + Others)

Yorgos Lanthimos’ First English-Language Film “The Lobster” Gets UK & Ireland DistributorCharacteristically obscure, Yorgos LanthimosThe Lobster divides audiences but nevertheless remains one of the most memorable films of 2015 thanks to its offbeat idiosyncrasies and bewitching dystopian premise.

7. Youth (Sorrentino, Italy)

"Youth" Is A Fascinating Love Letter To Lost OpportunitiesAn Italian film starring two Hollywood greats, Paolo Sorrentino’s comedy-drama features Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel reminiscing about past conquests, relationships and old age while holidaying in the Swiss Alps.

6. Ex Machina (Garland, UK)

Ex Machina, Alex Garland, UK Film, Top 10 Films, Science Fiction,Proving that Britain can do high concept science-fiction for a mainstream audience, albeit with an offbeat sense of humour, biting social relevance and nuanced character study, Alex Garland’s brilliant Ex Machina brings together the acting talents of Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac for a tale of striking beauty and scarring bite.

5. Ode To My Father (Yoon Je-kyoon, South Korea)

Top 10 Films Hollywood Didn’t Make In 2015If we’re talking about commercial cinema in 2015 there aren’t many films as successful as Yoon Je-kyoon’s Ode To My Father which is currently the second highest grossing movie in the history of Korean cinema. This epic story tracks some of the country’s experiences of real life world events through the eyes of its principle character such as the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Hungnam Evacuation.

4. Victoria (Schipper, Germany)

Top 10 Films Hollywood Didn’t Make In 2015Germany had high hopes for this one at the Academy Awards only for it to be disregarded because of its high percentage of English dialogue. Director Sebastian Schipper is perhaps better known as an actor, enjoying small roles in The English Patient in 1996 and Run Lola Run a couple of years later as well as numerous appearances in films from his native Germany. But if Victoria is anything to go by – which is an impressive example of single-shot cinema and nuanced drama – he’s got a long career behind the camera ahead of him.

3. Catch Me Daddy (Wolfe, UK)

Gut-Punch Thriller "Catch Me Daddy" Is British Cinema At Its Caustic BestAnother film that featured in our Top 10 British Films of 2015, Catch Me Daddy gives Room a run for its money in the “difficult to watch category”. This tale of honour and familial loyalty within the Pakistani Muslim community in northern England makes no assumptions, draws no clear lines, and leaves audiences unsettled, emotionally bruised and left to make up their own finality.

2. 45 Years (Haigh, UK)

Top 10 British Films Of 2015 - Top 10 Films - 45 YearsAndrew Haigh’s British drama featuring two terrific character actors Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay is bitingly unsettling thanks to its restrained, bare-bone authenticity that strikes an uncompromising uppercut to the frailties and fragilities of desire, love and the basic human need to be wanted. Top 10 Films editor Dan Stephens, who said 45 Years was the best British film of 2015, noted how Haigh “shirks conventionality to suggest that human beings’ capacity to love is as tragic as it is life affirming.”

1. Room (Abrahamson, Canada / Ireland / UK)

"Room": Contentious, Uncomfortable, Riveting And UnrivalledFew would argue with Lenny Abrahamson’s astonishingly effective drama Room being in the number one position of this top 10 list. It creeps under the skin and leaves its mark long after the credits have rolled. Brie Larson delivers a career-best performance.

Written and Compiled by Rory Fish

Over to you: what are the best films of 2015 that Hollywood didn’t make?

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About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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    Dan Reply

    Great to see such a fine contingent of British films – it was a great year for British cinema as well as British co-productions with others in Europe. Catch Me Daddy and 45 Years are incredible pieces of work.

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      Rory Reply

      Combine 45 Years, Ex Machina and Catch Me Daddy with British co-prods like The Lobster and, of course, the brilliant Room and it was a markedly triumphant year for the Brits. Just look what we can achieve when we work together! 😉

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        Dan Reply

        Was that a sly reference to the EU referendum just then Rory?

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          Rory Reply

          Not at all… keep politics out of it! 😉

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Nice list, rory. I haven’t seen most of these but I do agree that Room is knock your socks off good.

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      Rory Reply

      Yep – Room was my favourite film of the year. Probably. I think.

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        Rory Reply

        No it was definitely my favourite film of the year. Yes – definitely. I think. 🙂

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    CineGirl Reply

    A few for me to catch up with but I can say I enjoyed Retribution – it had a Hollywood-like level of excitement that should work for English-speaking audiences.

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      Rory Reply

      Of the non-English language films listed above I’d say Retribution is the one most likely to work for audiences who usually don’t like subtitled cinema.

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    Jason Wurtz Reply

    Retribution is terrific but the best film I saw last year was Ode To My Family. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

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      Rory Reply

      Of course I’ve seen it…

      …Oh, yes, I see what you mean!

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    ruth Reply

    I’ve only seen half of these and most of them are excellent. Youth was good but I don’t know if it ranks as the Best Picture category. I should check out the rest at some point.

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    Martin G Reply

    Great top 10.

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