10) Headhunters (Director-Mortem Tyldum)
An incredible thriller with moments of hilarious black comedy, Headhunters revolves around Roger Brown (Askel Hennie). Roger is Norway’s most successful Headhunter who also leads a double life as an art thief. This Norwegian film, adapted from the book of the same name by Jo Nesbo, is gripping from the first frame and remains the highest grossing Norwegian film of all time.
9) A Prophet (Director- Jacques Audiard)
Tahar Rahim gives a stunning performance as Malik, a young Muslim man sent to prison, in this rough prison drama. The film is told through Malik’s eyes which makes the violence stand out and have a far more emotional impact. Definitely watch this for the realistic characters and thrilling storyline.
8) City of God (Director- Fernando Meirelles)
This crime drama masterfully weaves a story about life in Brazilian slums and favelas. The vivid visual style that is very reminiscent of a documentary mixes with the engrossing storyline to create a fantastic film that can be enjoyed multiple times.
7) Blue Is the Warmest Colour (Director- Abdellatif Kechiche)
Adapted from the French graphic novel of the same name, director Abdellatif Kechiche crafts a gorgeous and intimate tale that is part romance and part coming of age. The story revolves around Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who becomes infatuated with Emma (Léa Seydoux) after a chance meeting on a street. Both actresses give amazing performances but where the film really shines is in its portrayal of the flaws in human beings.
6) The Raid (Director- Gareth Evans)
Rama (Iko Uwais) joins a police team as they conduct a raid on a tower block to capture a vicious crime lord. When the raid goes wrong, the team is forced to fight their way through the gangs who inhabit the block, in order to survive. The cramped setting of the tower block allows for some mad and brutal fight sequences that are breath-taking to watch. Simply put, this is one of the best action films of recent times and it spawned a sequel which is also one to watch.
5) Downfall (Director- Oliver Hirschbiegel)
Bruno Ganz gives a multi layered portrayal of Adolf Hitler in this fascinating dramatization of the leader’s last days. The best film from director Hirschbiegel, this German drama effectively tells the story in a subtle and matter of fact way.
4) Flame and Citron (Director- Ole Christian Madsen)
Mads Mikkelsen and Thure Lindhardt star in this incredible true life story about the two Danish resistance fighters. The film is praised for both actor’s performances, its gritty depiction of war and its intense moral dilemmas.
3) Oldboy (Director- Park Chan-Wook)
A compelling mystery/ neo-noir with a jaw dropping twist that still gets you even after repeated viewings. Oldboy follows Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) as he is released from his 15 years long captivity. Chan-Wook’s visual style is remarkable and is probably best seen in the now famous one-take hallway fight scene.
2) The Lives of Others (Director- Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
The late Ulrich MÜhe gives an amazingly restrained performance in this drama about the secret German police and wiretapping during the cold war. The debut of director von Donnersmarck, this film is beautifully shot and has an unpredictable narrative that covers themes such as obsession and repression.
1) Pusher (Director- Nicolas Winding Refn)
The first two Pusher films could have easily made it onto this list but alas only the first made it. The debut film of Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives), is a bleak yet riveting portrayal of the criminal underworld of Copenhagen. Following Frank (Kim Bodnia), a drug pusher, as he attempts to pay back money to his supplier. An engrossing drama/ thriller with well thought out characters, this film will blow you away.
Victoria, The Host, In The House, Train to Busan, All About My Mother, Das Experiment