5. Nightcrawler

The Best Films of 2014

Jake Gyllenhaal's finest hour to date follows an oddball cameraman as he feeds grisly crime and accident footage to an increasingly deranged LA news scene. Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed provide strong support as Lou's colleagues who have, more and less willingly, sold their souls. Dan Gilroy's satire skewers its targets with aplomb; it's a darkly humorous, utterly damning indictment of the modern age.

Read our full review of Nightcrawler

4. Mr Turner

The Best Films of 2014

Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall conspire to create a fitting monument to British master JMW Turner and the result is an instant classic that's pure perfection from the off. Characterful, insightful, achingly sad and surprisingly funny, it's a portrait of a gruff, grunting genius slicing through elite society, winning respect through his undeniable talent and foresight, and leaving emotional wreckage strewn along the way.

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3. Under the Skin

The Best Films of 2014

This audacious adaptation of Michel Faber's novel is unapologetically and seductively strange cinema. A triumphant marriage of realism and the otherworldly, dynamically helmed by Sexy Beast's Jonathan Glazer and featuring a sensational Scarlett Johansson, it's an entirely unique, alien's-eye-view of humanity that lives up to the promise of its title by working its way deep into your consciousness, and beyond.

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2. Only Lovers Left Alive

The Best Films of 2014

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are unimprovably cast as Adam and Eve, two vampire lovers still deeply devoted after hundreds of years but living apart, who are reunited due to rock star Adam's mounting, troubling ennui, with Eve arriving to soothe his existential pain. Indie auteur Jim Jarmusch offers his idiosyncratic, wonderfully laidback take on vampire mythology in what simply has to be the coolest film of the year.

Read our full review of Only Lovers Left Alive

1. Boyhood

The Best Films of 2014

Attracting twice as many votes as its nearest rival, Boyhood, from director Richard Linklater, is a worthy winner: a labour of love filmed over 12 years that's more than just a remarkable logistical achievement. Witty and soulful, it’s a joyous gem capturing the very essence of childhood as we watch Mason (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) grow up and fly away from home, breaking the heart of his mother Olivia (a never-better Patricia Arquette). When this near three-hour emotional epic is finally over audiences may find themselves similarly bereft.

Read our full review of Boyhood

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