The following is my contribution to the end of year film feature on Culture Fly.
This year Mathew Vaughn, the naughty schoolchild of the British film industry, delivered a super spy send up that was better than Spectre. Big, brash and crass, Kingsman may eschew too closely to Lad Culture banter and its politics may be off, but has there been a film as fun as this, this year (admittedly, I’m yet to watch The Force Awakens)? Mixing My Fair Lady with a splash of sixties Bond, Vaughn gives us interesting characters, a snappy pace and some of the best action scenes of the year. Watching Colin Firth go berserk in a church to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ is a delight you didn’t know you wanted. HB
There have been a lot of spy movies this year: Bond returned, Mission: Impossible did its thing and Melissa McCarthy saved the world as a divorced housewife from Iowa. So trust Steven Spielberg to deliver a spy film that revolved around talking instead of punching. Re-teaming with Tom Hanks (as steady a ship there can be), Bridge of Spies focused on the American-Soviet negotiations for the swap between Rudolf Abel (a great Mark Rylance) and Gary Powers (Austin Stowell). Spielberg does what Spielberg does best, raising questions about international relations in the process. Those afraid that the director would fill the film with his worst tendencies will be pleased to know he keeps the sentimentality and American jingoism in check. HB