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Top 10 Films of 2016

We come to the end of another year full of films both great, captivating and wholly disappointing. It wouldn't be right to see off last year without a round-up of my top ten films of 2016. Therefore here we are with the ten films I saw that make my Top 10.

Before we get underway I'd like to include a few honourable mentions. This doesn't mean the films were any less captivating or interesting to watch but is more an indication that I found the top ten to be of superb quality overall. Those that didn't quite make the list but thoroughly enjoyed include Quentin Tarantino's latest winter-set Western epic The Hateful Eight, Square Enix's CGI tie-in to its newest RPG release FFXV: Kingsglaive, the Texas-set modern crime Western Hell or High Water, the superb animated feature Batman: The Killing Joke, the latest entry in the Rocky franchise/soft reboot film Creed and director James Wan's follow-up to the fantastically horrifying possession movie set in Enfield, London, The Conjuring 2. Additional mentions see the likes of Marvel's latest hero and origin story brought to the big screen Doctor Strange, the humourous and somewhat educational about the housing market leading up to the financial crisis The Big Short, and Russell T Davies' biopic tinged with his typical directorial flair and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joy.

If you get the chance do watch any of those mentioned above as they are all great films from throughout the year. With those out of the way, let's move forwards to the top ten films of 2016.


Although I caught this film later in the year, the story of pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who investigated the effects of repeated concussions on American football players being the cause of potential brain damage made for a heavily dramatic feature. Heavyweight Will Smith again shows his acting capability to take on a mature and serious role in Nigerian-born Dr. Omalu, the first to discover the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in American football players. The supporting cast is no slouch either with the likes of Alec Baldwin, David Morse, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Eddie Marsan and Luke Wilson contributing their acting talents to the story of Dr. Omalu's struggles with getting the NFL to admit the link between repeated concussions experienced by NFL football players and brain damage post-playing career.

Aside from a small amount of CG used to demonstrate the impact of collisions on the brain for the NFL players, the messages and statement made by Concussion is not heavy-handed nor too Hollywoodised. The film communicates an effective message about a matter the American NFL chose to bury for years and how they attempted to defame the name of Dr. Omalu in the process. Not unlike the link between smoking and certain cancers, the adamant belief Omalu carries throughout the film of the importance of this link being acknowledge and accepted is what makes Concussion a picture that will provide food for thought long after the end credits roll.

Before I begin writing this entry I can already feel a disturbance in the force; one of absolute disdain for me placing this year's release of prequel and standalone film, Rogue One, so low on the list. I won't deny the film was a highly enjoyable one to watch but its competition was just that good.

The first in Disney's films released to broaden the Star Wars universe beyond its numbered entries, Rogue One sees young thief turned rebel Jyn Erso (played here by Felicity Jones) join The Rebellion in its attempts to recover the plans of The Empire's looming planet destroyer, the Death Star. Jyn is joined on her mission by a group of individuals fighting for the same cause and consisting of rebels, force-aware monks, defectors from the Empire and even extremists such as Forest Whitaker's part-man, part-machine; Saw Gerrera. It makes for a compelling group to get behind through the film as they journey into Empire territory and eventually to the Pacific island-like planet of Scarif to retrieve the Death Star plans from the databanks watched over by the Empire's Director of Advanced Weapons Research, Orson Krennic.

Rogue One does have steady pace in the first act which I find to be deliberate and entirely fine due to the rising stakes throughout the film right until the closing set piece which is both grand and unique in its execution and display. The film is also no slouch in its healthy referencing of the Star Wars universe with tie-fighters, stormtroopers, blasters and the force (or at least faith in it) all being present. A few familiar faces also show up in Rogue One including one you can't miss if you look closely at the poster above (I won't spoil those scenes for you here as they are best enjoyed whilst watching the film).

Mature, entertaining, compelling, well acted and adding additional substance to the film that directly follows it, Rogue One is a great first attempt at bringing another tale in the Star Wars world to the big screen.