12 best films of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

Best of the fest

With another Cannes Film Festival almost at an end, weve been taking stock of whats been a particularly strong year for movies.

From searing dramas, to big-hearted family films, to enormous-scale actioners, the Palais has played home to some extremely diverse films over the last couple of weeks.

Before the jury (headed up by the Coen brothers) hands out this year's prizes, we present our definitive countdown of the best films from the festival this year.

12. Dheepan

The movie: Jacques Audiard follows A Prophet and Rust And Bone with a challenging genre-splicer that tackles big themes with panache.

Our reaction: Jacques Audiards remarkable run continues with Dheepan. Its an unusual hybrid part intimate immigrant drama, part suburban thriller, with the emphasis emphatically on social realism for the bulk of its runtime. It shouldnt work, but it soars under Audiards supervision.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Dheepan here

11. Green Room

The movie: Jeremy Blue Ruin Saulnier directs this punks vs neo-Nazis siege thriller, starring Patrick Stewart as a white supremacist.

Our reaction: The spectacularly grim atmosphere, sinister soundtrack and, of course, the siege set-up give the film an Assault On Precinct 13 vibe. And Saulnier continues to impress as a filmmaker, with a particular knack for building tension and pulling the rug from under your feet in classic horror movie fashion.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Green Room here

10. The Lobster

The movie: Experimental filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos makes his English language debut with a remarkably bizarre love story, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.

Our reaction: Lanthimos is an equal opportunity satirist, skewering the clichs of singledom as much as he does the expectations placed on couples, but Davids (Farrell) love-conquers-all encounter with the Short Sighted Woman (Weisz) proves that Lanthimos is still a soppy old romantic at heart.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to The Lobster here

9. Sicario

The movie: Denis Villeneuve teams with Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro for a searing drug-trade thriller.

Our reaction: Sicario is not a modern masterpiece to join the ranks of, say, Zodiac or Zero Dark Thirty, but it is expertly crafted, fearlessly questioning and shockingly grim. Few US thrillers dare to be so adult.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Sicario here

8. Youth

The movie: Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel tackle big themes in Paolo Sorrentinos gentle drama.

Our reaction: It is an introspective work of tenderness, melancholy, joy, humour and considerable compassion, with the Italian directors signature visual flair ensuring that any and all contemplation comes with a blast of brio.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Youth here

7. Macbeth

The movie: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in Justin Kurzels (Snowtown) gritty Shakespeare adap.

Our reaction: Fassbender excels at playing conflicted characters, his physicality flecked with fragility, and his Macbeth commands the camera as he commands his soldiers, those pale piercing eyes and that tight, wolfish grin glinting with charismatic madness. This is a general who knows the true weight of the sword.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Macbeth here

6. Tale Of Tales

The movie: Matteo Garrones grimmer-than-Grimm fairytale is one of the oddest films to play at this years fest.

Our reaction: To say the darkly comic, often horrific, twists and turns are unexpected would be a gross understatement. The words Happily Ever After arent even part of the films vocabulary. Its a film that trusts its audience to go along with its loosely defined, but entirely believable, world.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Tale Of Tales here

5. Amy

The movie: Asif Kapadias heartbreaking documentary that delves beneath the headlines in search of the real Amy Winehouse.

Our reaction: Amy is a startlingly intimate affair, gaining access to friends, lovers and family and their treasure trove of photos and videos to caress the soul of an extraordinary artist, a vivacious young woman. The film succeeds in commemorating its subject's spirit and talent, with the tragedy of her loss once more feeling fresh and overwhelming.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Amy here

4. Inside Out

The movie: Pixars latest goes inside the mind of a young girl, and introduces us to the personified form of the five key emotions.

Our reaction: Theres a powerful, thought-provoking message here that marks Inside Out as one of Pixars most mature, heartfelt and, yes, heartbreaking tales to date. Were not afraid to admit we reached for a tissue on two occasions.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Inside Out here

3. Son Of Saul

The movie: A harrowing Auschwitz drama from first-time filmmaker Laszlo Nemes.

Our reaction: Nemes has no interest in thriller tropes or anything as tawdry as suspense or excitement. Son Of Saul is a film that plunges the viewer into a nightmarishly utilitarian recreation of the camps, laying bare the day-to-day chores that needed to be performed swiftly and repetitively to ensure maximum efficiency in the business of genocide.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Son Of Saul here

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

The movie: George Miller returns to the franchise with which he made his name, with Tom Hardy taking on the title role and Charlize Theron in full-on badass mode.

Our reaction: In the battle of the 2015 behemoths, the maxed-out madness of Mad Max: Fury Road sets an extraordinarily high bar then pole-vaults clean over it and smashes the entire rig to smithereens.

Read our full review of Mad Max: Fury Road here

1. Carol

The movie: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes sumptuous romantic drama.

Our reaction: Exquisitely designed, costumed, shot, scored and acted, Carol unfurls as an intoxicating fever dream in which volcanic emotions play out with great restraint. Blanchett, of course, is supreme, meticulously laying out Carols pain, melancholy, ardour, strength and wisdom. It is to Maras immense credit that she matches her co-star scene for scene, lust for lust, quiet agony for quiet agony.

Read our full Cannes 2015 reaction to Carol here

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