The Ford On Film End Of Year Awards 2014: Best Director
Adam Wingard ‘The Guest’
James Gunn ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
Jim Jarmusch ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
Jennifer Kent ‘The Babadook’
Dan Gilroy ‘Nightcrawler’
David Fincher ‘Gone Girl’
Despite an ending that left me feeling more than a little deflated, Gone Girl was a mostly great mystery thriller. This was in no small part due to the ever-stylish direction of David Fincher, one of the most influential auteurs of the last decade. Visually, the film was up there with The Social Network and Fight Club, but it’s the performances that really showcase Fincher’s immense talent; Carrie Coon and Kim Dickens give great support, Ben Affleck did some of his best screen work to date, and Rosamund Pike is surely going to get an Oscar nomination. Fincher even directed Tyler Perry to a good performance, and that alone earns him a spot on this list.
Jonathan Glazer ‘Under the Skin’
It’s a shame that Jonathan Glazer has only directed three films in the last 15 years (one of which was the excellent Sexy Beast), because on the strength of his work on Under the Skin, he might just be one of the most interesting British directors around. The most out-there film of 2014, Under the Skin is a dark, hypnotic science fiction masterpiece, and though some could find its stark visual style and slow, hypnotic camera movements to border on the pretentious, I thought it was a fantastically effective and beautiful film.
Wes Anderson ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’
Perhaps the most visually stylish director in the world, Wes Anderson crafted his most gorgeous looking film to date with The Grand Budapest Hotel. Every single set, costume and frame of the film is lovingly detailed, and Anderson proves he can film action with a number of excellent set pieces. Working once again with an extraordinarily talented cast, Anderson did sterling work, and made one of the greatest films of his career.
Richard Linklater ‘Boyhood’
Much has been written about Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and how it was shot over twelve years. The discipline, time and effort it must have taken to complete such a difficult task is astonishing, and Linklater must surely be in contention to win every Best Director award going. Boyhood is an emotional and thoughtful film, with terrific work from actors who, it must be said, had to pick up from where they’d left their characters the year previous. It’s truly a film for the ages, a future classic, and Linklater is deserving of the many, many plaudits he is receiving.
Gareth Evans ‘The Raid 2’
There isn’t a better action director in the world today than Wales’ Gareth Evans. The Raid propelled him into the spotlight, but it’s The Raid 2 that really proves just how talented he is. I already discussed the prison yard fight as one of my best scenes of the year, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The film’s entire two-and-a-half-hour runtime is just about non-stop fighting, and Evans repeatedly finds new, ambitious ways of framing and filming every brutal hit. The standout moment in directing, and one of the most audacious camera movements ever, finds the camera travelling into a car to show a fight scene and moving back out the other side, all in one shot. My jaw dropped the first time I saw it happen. Away from the action, however, Evans proved he’s also the master of the cool character; Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl were two of the greatest characters of 2014, and leading man Iko Uwais gave a terrific performance as the badass undercover cop. For raising the bar on action cinema and finding amazing new ways to choreograph and shoot fight sequences, Gareth Evans is the well-deserved winner of my best direction of 2014 award.
By Harry Ford
- Posted in: End of Year Review
- Tagged: adam wingard, best director, boyhood, dan gilroy, david fincher, gareth evans, gone girl, guardians of the galaxy, james gunn, jennifer kent, jim jarmusch, jonathan glazer, nightcrawler, only lovers left alive, richard linklater, the babadook, the grand budapest hotel, the guest, the raid 2, under the skin, wes anderson