2018 was a mixed year for film. As with every year there are box office hits and box office bombs but 2018 saw the misfire of films that would have normally connected with audiences. For example, Solo: A Star Wars Story should have been a massive box office smash coming from the hugely profitable Star Wars Universe.
Overall though, the year appeared to belong to the blockbuster with blockbusters taking the top spots in the yearly round up of box office takings. Yet with that being said, box office success does not necessarily equate to a film that audiences will watch again and again. The most rewatchable films of 2018 were a mix of huge box office successes and smaller, critically acclaimed films.
10. Cold War
Set in Poland in the 1950’s Cold War, this film tells the passionate love story of a man and woman who meet and fall in love amongst the ruins of the war. But with fatefully mismatched politics, backgrounds and character flaws – can their love overcome their obstacles?
Cold War was a moderate box office success but received universal acclaim from critics and has been called one of the best films of the year. Cold War’s director Pawel Pawlikowski won the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and the film has been selected as the Polish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Cold War is predominantly a film about love and how it drives us. It is also shot in black and white and has striking visual appeal. These aspects combined together give Cold War a timeless quality. One can imagine rewatching Cold War not only in the coming months, but the coming years and beyond.
Whilst out shoplifting one day, Osamu and his son discover a young girl out in the freezing cold. Taking her in, the family scrape a living together through petty crime and live happily enough. That is until one day, when an unforeseen incident leads to hidden secrets being exposed and the family’s bonds being tested to the extreme.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, Shoplifters was also a commercial success. Shoplifters was chosen as Japan’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Director Hirokazu Kore-eda said of the film that he set out to make a film about what it means to be family, and the ways in which the term family can be assembled and dissembled. Shoplifters started as just a tagline – “only the crimes tied us together” then Kore-eda built around this, considering wider social and political concerns. The result is a film which has family values wholly at its core, a theme that is universal and that all audiences can relate to. Shoplifters is likely to be a film that stands the test of time.
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is an anthology film comprising of six parts and tells a series of stories about the American Frontier. Set in the nineteenth century post-Civil War era, these western vignettes follow the adventures of outlaws and settlers.
Directed by Joe and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the first film that the Coens have shot digitally. The film is comprised of short western themed stories that the Coens had written over a twenty to twenty-five-year period. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs had a short theatrical run before debuting on Netflix. The film was well received critically, with most critics individually ranking the six separate stories.
Anthology films are not commonplace and as such The Ballad of Buster Scruggs presented something new and unique for the audience. With audiences being able to watch the stories separately if they so wished or return to their favourite vignettes – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a film that has massive rewatch potential.
Black Klansman is set in the 1970s and tells the amazing true story of Ron Stallworth who was the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Stallworth sets out on a dangerous undercover mission – to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. With the help of colleague Flip Zimmerman, they work together to take down the violent and extremist organisation.
Another film which has ended the year with a number of appearances on the best of 2018 lists, Black Klansman was a commercial and critical success, receiving widespread acclaim from critics in particular. The film has been nominated for a number of awards and is being touted as an Academy Award hopeful. Black Klansman was also the recipient of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.
Black Klansman has important political and social significance as well. Although some of the events of the film have been dramatized, the underlying story is based on true events and shows an important message about hate and tolerance. The closing scenes of the film are highly impactful and are something that will stay with audiences long after the credits have rolled. Black Klansman is a film that is unfortunately still relevant to today’s society and as such will be a film that audiences go back to.
6. Ready Player One
Based on the bestselling novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One follows the life of Wade Watts who lives in a world on the brink of collapse and chaos. To escape the realities of everyday life, people find salvation in the OASIS – an expansive virtual reality universe created by the eccentric genius James Halliday. After Halliday dies, he leaves his massive fortune to the first player to find a digital Easter egg in the OASIS.
This sparks a worldwide contest which Wade is desperate to join. However, there are some people who will got to any lengths to stop the other players reaching the egg.
Ready Player One was thought to be a novel that was unfilmable, but in 2018 Steven Spielberg finally managed to bring the book to the big screen after several years in pre-production. The film needed to make around $440 million in order to break even at the box office. It made $582.2 million at the box office and received mostly positive reviews which particularly praised the film’s visuals.
One of Ready Player One’s unique aspects was the sheer number of Easter eggs within the film, and as such Ready Player One is a film that benefits from repeat watches.