12 Years A Slave – Steve McQueen

12 Years a Slave raced to critical acclaim on immediate release. Telling the tale of Solomon Northup, a free black man sold into slavery, 12 Years looks intimately at the often forgotten period of depravity in North America. Steve McQueen’s film is an honest, brutal glimpse into man at his best and at his worst.

The Dallas Buyers Club – Jean-Marc Vallée

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto conspire to put to film the story of a former abusive, homophobic bull-riding lay-about who after contracting HIV befriends a straight-up transgender fashionista. Jean-Marc Vallée sees in The Dallas Buyers Club an opportunity to bring to light some truths belonging to the era, but that can still be relevant in this day and age.

Anderson Silva – Like Water – Pablo Croce

Anderson Silva is a mixed martial artist, considered the best of all time by many in the sport. Like Water is a decent attempt at addressing the physicality of the sport in all its glory, yet never really manages to say anything meaningful about fighting or the mental state of the fighter.

Berberian Sound Studio – Peter Strickland

Berberian Sound Studio is Toby Jones and Peter Strickland working seamlessly together to produce the distorted story of destruction and devastation. This is Toby Jones at his best. This is Peter Strickland working wonders. This is undoubtedly a boon for British Cinema.

The Deep – Baltasar Kormákur

Baltasar Kormákur’s 2012 film based on the real scenario of a ship overboard in freezing Icelandic waters controls its rudder effortlessly, churning out a rather understated yet poignant tale of man against the odds. Where some films venture into adventurous waters marking themselves out as epic yarns, The Deep keeps itself to itself and lets the work face of an Icelandic fisherman do all the talking.

Close-Up – Abbas Kiarostami

Close-Up lives up to its title by critically examining the factuality of film, politics whilst professing one of the key ideas to living: the ability to dream. Kiarostami is on fine form here with some of the most reflective portrayals of life and beyond to be committed to film.