As 2015 draws to a close, it is time to look back on some of the films that made this year truly outstanding. As I come from the UK, there will be a few films on this list that came out in America in late 2014, but arrived here early this year, therefore are applicable. Also, I haven’t seen quite a few of the ‘big’ 2015 films such as American Sniper or Mad Max: Fury Road, so unfortunately they will not appear on this list. Without any further ado, let’s get into it:

#5 – The Martian

Before I get into this decision, I have to say that I’m really not the biggest fan of Matt Damon. As such, I went into The Martian not expecting a whole lot, aside from my adoration of director Ridley Scott and supporting actor Donald Glover. This only accentuated my surprise when I absolutely adored the film. Damon’s performance is fantastic and very nuanced, with a wonderful mixture of humour and drama, and the interesting plot and fantastic visual effects made the film all the more immersive. It was one of 2015’s biggest surprises for me, and although it hasn’t entirely changed my mind on Damon, has given me one of 2015’s best cinema-going experiences.

#4 – Ant-Man

As I said in my review, it felt like fate didn’t want me to go and see Ant-Man, as there were so many occurences that prevented me from getting to a showing. When I finally did see it, I was mightily blown away, especially when considering the behind the scenes drama that went down in the film’s production. Ant-Man is funny, touching and full of action, and provided a really nice parallel to all the serious, intertwined films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now. Although it’s not performed too well at the box office, Ant-Man really is one of the best superhero films in a while, and the recent news that a 2017 sequel is on the way truly proves that being little can get you far.

#3 – Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Now, this one is a complete departure from anything else on this list. After scooping four Oscars, I knew I had to give Alejandro González Iñárritu’s quirky character study a go, and I’m so glad I did. Michael Keaton is utterly spellbinding in the lead role of Riggan, and is accentuated even more by the fantastic performances of the supporting cast such as Edward Norton and Emma Stone. Iñárritu’s  direction is fantastic and helps Birdman be one of the quirkiest, most off-beat, and best films of 2015.

#2 – Whiplash

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to put Whiplash ahead of Birdman for solely one reason: it scared the hell out of me. Whiplash is one of the tensest and most unnerving films you’ll watch thanks to Damien Chazelle’s fantastic direction, which makes a story about drumming feel like the most intense war films you’ve ever seen. Although it’s been a pretty rough year for Miles Teller (looking at you Fantastic Four), his performance here is truly great, with the interplay between his and JK Simmons’ characters providing some of the most nail-biting scenes in recent memory. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but if you’re up for it Whiplash is one of the most satisfying film experiences of the year.

#1 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Is this really that much of a surprise? As a massive fan of the Star Wars originally trilogy, I was indescribably excited for the seventh episode of the saga, and when I sat down on the opening day, I knew I was in for something special. What unravels is one of the greatest sci-fi films of our generation, perfectly mixing action, comedy and drama. It will remind you of everything you loved about the originals while still providing something fresh and interesting, and has some of the greatest action and plot twists I’ve seen in a while. It’s hard to praise it since it’s all been said before by people far more qualified than me, but I urge you to see this, Star Wars fan or no, because it’s in my opinion the best film you can get your hands on from 2015.

What do you think of the list? What were your top 5 films of the year? As always, be sure to leave a comment and drop a like, and don’t forget to follow for more film news, reviews and lists every week. See you soon!