Imagine the sprawling & cynical political bite of John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy filtered through the pulpy hyper-reality of the John Wick movies and starring Charlize Theron as James Bond: that is Atomic Blonde.
2014 world events had ups and downs, as did the collective art and media of our time. However, if you love movies as much as many others and I do, or simply are looking for engaging escapism to immerse yourself in, there actually were plenty of options to choose from. At the end of every year and the beginning of the next everyone from serious critics to the random passerby begins to form a “top list” of the movies they had seen. It is a celebration of the movies we enjoyed and a fun means to bring certain works to the attentions of their peers or to compare and contrast each experience they had at the movies. It’s not so much that these lists are some deep evaluation, but rather an entertaining way to group the stuff we like or rather what I liked.
So, here are the 20 films from 2014 I experienced & enjoyed and hope others check out:
John Wick is a criminal underworld fantasy that merges inventive and crisp action sequences on to heightened world-building that evokes the works of Walter Hill and Sergio Leone, elevating what could have been a generic shoot-em-up into one of the more fully realized genre flicks in recent memory. The premise is simple: recent widower John Wick (embodied by a coldly swaggering Keanu Reeves), is on a bloody mission of revenge after his time grieving for his wife is interrupted by a home invasion that leaves his puppy dead and his car stolen. Co-directed by veteran stuntmen David Leitch and Chad Stahelski (founders of the 87Eleven Action Design stunt workshop & studio), John Wick reconfigures choice pieces of genre fiction and action movies past to create their own unique contribution to the genre. It’s a remarkably self-confident film whose paper-thin premise and setup actually work in its favor as a tight and functional connective thread stringing together the whole picture.