2015: #1 Son of Saul

Directed by: László Nemes
Written by: László Nemes and Clara Royer
Starring: Géza Röhrig, Sándor Zsótér, Urs Rechn, and Levente Molnár
Distributer: Sony Picture Classics
Country: Hungary
Language: Hungarian/German
Rating: R
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Date released: 12/18/2015
Date seen: 1/23/2016
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $874,200
# of Oscar nominations: 1 (Best Foreign Language Film)
# of Golden Stake Nominations: 4 (Best Set-Piece, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Actor)
# of Golden Stakes Won: 1 (Best Cinematography)

Son of Saul is in some ways a rather unusual choice to by my number one film of the year.  It’s the first time I’ve put a film at number one without giving it Golden Stake nominations for either its screenplay or any of its actors, in part because it doesn’t exactly operate like a normal film.  It’s a highly visual experience, almost more like a painting, albeit a rather horrifying painting, than your average film.  It’s a film that takes a decidedly unsentimental yet sober look at the evil that humanity is capable and doesn’t try to soften it with some false undercurrent of uplift, but it’s also a very human drama of what it is to endure such evil.  As a visual experience the film is a major accomplishment made all the more amazing by the fact that it comes from a first time director.  To be honest this is something of a safe choice, it’s in many ways simply the movie that I have the fewest reservations about and also the one I don’t feel like I have to do much to defend, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a unique and powerful movie that earned its slot.
Full Review

#2 Year End Honors