Jonathan is a long-standing contributor of film reviews to Screen International. He writes for The Observer, Sight & Sound, Film Comment and others, and teaches at the London College of Communications.

Jonathan Romney

Click here for more Screen critics’ top films of 2015

Top Five

  1. Son Of Saul
    Laszlo Nemes

    This masterfully executed first feature by a former Bela Tarr AD is a deeply troubling film, and one of the few 2015 titles that looks likely to leave a mark on cinema history. It completely rewrites the possibilities of filmed Holocaust drama with its story of a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz — a prisoner forced to assist in the daily business of extermination. The film is horrific as much in what it obscures as what is shown and, in its rigorous anti-sentimentalism, it raises pressing questions about how much mainstream cinema has come to accept atrocity as spectacle. Acclaimed by documentarist Claude Lanzmann as the “anti-Schindler’s List”, Son Of Saul will no doubt go on to be one of the most discussed release titles of 2016.

    CONTACT Films Distribution 

  2. The Forbidden Room
    Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson
    CONTACT Mongrel International

  3. Inside Out
    Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
    CONTACT Disney 

  4. Arabian Nights Trilogy
    Miguel Gomes
    CONTACT The Match Factory

  5. Anomalisa
    Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
    CONTACT HanWay Films

Best Documentary

De Palma

De Palma
Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow

Though hardly the year’s most heavyweight doc, this is brimming with cinephile pleasures: a cheerfully pugnacious masterclass on technique, casting, Hitchcock reinvention, (dubious) sexual politics and the laziness of name actors. A muscular, no-nonsense look at the realities — and sometimes, indignities — of Hollywood film-making from a master raconteur.


Best UK Film

45 Years
Andrew Haigh

The director of Weekend and TV’s Looking offers a fine-tuned chamber drama that is the year’s most eloquent vote for simplicity. The story of a woman belatedly discovering the fault line in her 45-year marriage, the film uses its narrative elisions with sublime subtlety. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are at their finest.

CONTACT the match factory

Undiscovered Gem

Winter Song

Winter Song
Otar Iosseliani

Not so much undiscovered as overlooked, this is the latest from the inimitable Georgian veteran. In his characteristic multi-character, multi-narrative frieze style, Winter Song skips from the French Revolution to the present day. A deadpan, quietly celebratory tableau of crime, folly, love and mischief — the whole Human Comedy with liberal splashes of booze and absurdity.

CONTACT Les Films du Losange