So here are seven more memorable scenes from films in 2016 – in hindsight we could surely have had many more of these. Some of the following movies alone have enough tantalizing moments to fill a whole page on their own. The big performances of the year’s first half not too far behind this, so enjoy our choices. There are some plot spoilers here so be warned. Please comment in the section below to share with us your favorite scenes of 2016 so far.
Reality On The Outside (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Through the edge-of-your-seat guessing games, the scissor melting, the girl in the photo not who we all thought, the uncomfortable dinners, the doomed woman smashing her head against the vault glass, the human urge to simply know the reality whether the world is under attack or that your captive is a nutbag. The marvel of 10 Cloverfield Lane is that it plays yo-yo with your own expectations and suspicions throughout the cinematic experience, and in so many different and effective ways. When the courageous heroine Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), home-made shower-curtain safety-suit-clad, finally breaks free from the clutches of the disturbed Howard (John Goodman) and his apocalyptic-prepped bunker, she is apprehensive about her new freedom in the outside world. So much has passed, both physically and mentally. When she accidentally tears her suit Michelle promptly shits herself, quickly taping it back up – she has the fear that Howard was indeed right. But when she sees birds freely flocking above her the whole dynamic of her semi-brainwashing turns on its head and she removes the mask with a traumatized and overwhelmed relief. A helicopter-sound prompts her to leap atop a car to reveal what she can see, those noises become more surreal and louder – that is no helicopter, but an alien spacecraft. Michelle now believes with her own eyes, but this is just too much to take as she exclaims “Oh come on!”. The ensuing moments leading to the movie’s close have Michelle fighting for her life all over again, but under very different circumstances. A sobering scene from a terrific movie.
Arms In The Air (The Fundamentals of Caring)
I could go on to list a bunch of scenes that made my black, misanthropic heart feel something but I’ll stick to the one that stood out for me the most. No more than a few seconds long, a shot of the bohemian Dot enjoying the waves of the wind against a hand resting outside the car window when the muscular dystrophic Trevor reluctantly follows suit with half-clenched fingers, signifying his free-fall into deliverance never before experienced, a self-determination never before dared. It’s a quiet, not particularly cinematic scene, not promising to be memorable in the slightest. But it becomes both; a thrilling jab of hope poked straight into the soul with a slight budge of muscles usually too stubborn to cooperate. And as per usual, when you have much to say, silence speaks louder than words.
Bicycle Ride (Our Little Sister)
Appreciated for their simple charms, Koreeda Hirokazu’s sensitive examinations of contemporary Japanese society are only deceptively simple – these are mature, astute works of highly idiosyncratic art, and quite impeccably directed by Koreeda. His subtle craftsmanship is often all the more effective for being so subtle, but it is in his films’ more conventionally memorable moments that his true ability shines through, showing an artist who can so easily shift from a gentle, observational style to one more directly impactful, with precious little strain. Our Little Sister’s best scene is such a moment; the film itself may not be among Koreeda’s finest, but this scene indisputably is. Asano Suzu has moved to live with her three half-sisters in Kamakura following the death of their only shared blood relative, their father. Their subsequent story of bonding takes many gentle emotional shifts, but none register as strongly as Koreeda’s depiction of sheer, sweet joy. Suzu’s ride on the back of a bicycle along a road lined all the way along with cherry blossoms in full bloom, accompanied by Kanno Yôko’s lovely score, is not only the most joyous scene in the film, but surely among the most joyous scenes of the whole year.
Paddy Mulholland @screenonscreen
Caleb’s Possession (The Witch)
It does not look good for poor Thomasin, her big sister credibility thrown almost entirely out of the window in a matter of moments, firstly her baby brother disappears completely in from of her eyes (while playing peekaboo no less), then bares witness to Caleb’s vanishing, later returning suffering cold sweats and demonic possession. It’s a horrifying enough state of affairs for her own parents who now cast the accusative net also on their daughter – while Caleb is being ripped apart by pure evil, the twin siblings lash out at Thomasin who they claim to be the witch. It’s a terrifying pandemonium, shot in an enclosed, dark room that’s supposed to be full of joyful family memories, but instead full to the brim with fear and panic. And as an audience member you feel the dreaded delirium. Of course we’ve seen possessed children before on film, but the urgent, relentless bedlam and horror here is too powerful and affecting to forget.
A Beautiful Lie / Death of Thomas & Martha Wayne (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)
For all of the shortcomings of Snyder’s epic superhero brawl between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, there were some well-done scenes throughout the film, illustrating Snyder’s talent as a visual storyteller. For me, the opening sequence of Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the Batman is the standout of the film. Those of you who grew up with the Batman mythos know how it goes: young master Wayne and his parents, Thomas and Martha, are coming out of a movie theater when a common thug named Joe Chill guns down Bruce’s parents’ right in front of his young eyes. The act turns his world upside down as it inspires him to go on a self-imposed exile from Gotham in order to study the criminal underworld and return to prey on criminals who use fear to keep the citizens from taking back their city as the Caped Crusader. Snyder’s visual cues are all on display: slow motion takes, fading cuts of past to present, etc. – all used to great effect as one word is uttered thought the exchange: “Martha…” The last shot of Bruce is of him falling into a well, being carried to the light by a swarm of bats, arms extended wide to give the appearance that he himself is transforming into a bat himself. The scene sets up, for better and worse, what will follow thought the rest of the picture, but I tip my hat to Snyder for expertly capturing all the feeling and atmosphere of this pivotal moment in the story of Bruce Wayne.
Jonathan Holmes @MisterBrown_23
Would That It Were So Simple (Hail, Caesar!)
Up-and-coming actor Tobey has already in quick succession called his director “Mr. Laurence” three times, and thus corrected with “Laurentz” each time – “I’m so sorry, Mr. Laurentz.” – the Coens have a knack for this kind of snappy repetition wit. Later, calling him Mr. Laurentz, Toby is told to use “Laurence” which confuses the poor kid: “We can use Christian names, my good dear boy, Laurence is fine.” Laurence Laurentz. Of course. What follows is a simply hilarious exchange between the two of them regarding the pronunciation of one basic line, to which the hapless actor is asked to repeat it exactly as Laurentz is about to. Sounds so simple. Laurentz delivers the line with such professional ease it is almost one short sound “Wouldthatitweresosimple.” whereas Tobey misreads the emphasis on “it’were” to say “Would that it twuuuh so simple.” “My dear boy, why do you say that? Why do you say, twuuuuuh?” exclaims the director with ample disgust. The short scene soon builds much more hilarity, when Laurentz expresses the line with his hand gesture, to which Tobey mimics in return only to get a rapid hand slap “Keep your head still.” or when he asks him to say “Would that it’were so simple. Trippingly.” the boy responds “Would that it twuuuuuuh, so simple. Trippingly.” “Don’t say trippingly. Say the line trippingly.”. Ralph Fiennes is truly brilliant here, and there’s a chance by the time you’re watching the over-lapping repetition of their respective takes on the line you’ll be watching through tears of laughter.
Drive It Like You Stole It (Sing Street)
A sort-of musical from John Carney, Sing Street makes the best conceivable argument that it’d only be a better movie in its best musical sequence – its only sequence to surrender completely to the lure of this under-served genre’s traditions. Carney gives his film’s catchiest song (among stiff competition), ‘Drive It Like You Stole It,’ the full song-and-dance treatment, imagining it as the kind of music video his wannabe rock band frontman protagonist, Cosmos, could only dream of, although with the charmingly slapdash production values that characterize his own attempts. The song is a corker, and the scene’s chief attribute, though the decoration Carney provides via choreography, winning costuming, and occurring at a crucial juncture in a plot that otherwise follows conventional patterns a bit too closely, is what takes this scene from enjoyable to classic. It’s great fun, which is what just about every musical, and every sort-of musical, ought to aspire to be.
Paddy Mulholland @screenonscreen
Coming Next: Some of the choice Performances from 2016 so far.