Treasure Hoard

This section is designed to highlight those few films which The Red Dragon deems especially worthy of acclaim and notice, for a variety of reasons. A gilded hall of the best currently reviewed on the site.

It has been mentioned elsewhere that when judging a film by any of the reviews it is necessary to consider the rating alongside the text that follows it, and that direct comparisons don’t usually make sense. Nevertheless, the following films have been ordered purely by their rating, with the highest listed first (I should like to stress there are plenty of other very good films on the site, all of the ones that follow simply have an additional unique quality all of their own).

The Imitation Game
Sitting in pole position for bringing the world’s attention to one of the most important, and yet previously very much unknown, stories of the modern era. Entertainingly and memorably delivered, with pathos in abundance

Everest
An incredibly realised film that on the big-screen really takes you there, and with its true story, great acting, writing and visuals it’s still bound to endure long after its theatrical release and I’m probably going to end up rating this as one of my favourite films of all time

Skyfall
Slight bias on this one, but nevertheless it demonstrates how a touch of class can
make all the difference to a franchise action film

Birdman
A technical and artistic marvel that sees everyone bring their A game and deliver a breathless and difficult to better snapshot of desperation, all amidst the realm of the performing arts

Bigger Stronger Faster* : The Side Effects of Being American
Amateur filmmakers show the professionals how to make a world class film with this documentary, which focuses on the use of illicit drugs in sport and combines extensive research with heartfelt insights

The Hunt / Jagten
Brutal, well balanced, and equally well acted, it manages to draw on the viewers empathy for not just the protagonist, but all of the secondary characters as well

Dear Frankie
A little known and understated film, and one that proves to be emotionally extremely powerful

The Happy Lands
Historical drama that’s as compelling as it is moving, detailing the 1926 miner’s strike in Fife

Frozen
One of Disney’s most beautiful films – not just of late, but of all time

Side by Side
Documentary taking us inside the modern movie industry and showing us how we arrived at the exciting threshold of digital film. Perhaps not ideal for people already familiar with the material, but it still managed to answer a few questions I’d been unable to source facts on elsewhere

Her
A love story between a man and his AI computer that proves aptly reflective for all relationships

We Are Northern Lights
Documentary exploring the possibilities of digital film and its general availability, filmed by the Scottish public over the period of a year; a series of short clips – I don’t agree with all of the inclusions, but it is fascinating to see what people have come up with

Senna
Compelling, thought provoking and moving – an amazing documentary about the life of Formula One driver Ayrton Senna and one not to be missed even if you don’t follow the sport

The Wolf of Wall Street
Controversial, visceral, amusing and very entertaining, a biographical tale of excess that was one of the best films of 2013

The Lobster
Highly original and enjoyable black comedy from the makers of Dogtooth

The Way Way Back
Very finely scripted, and acted, coming of age gem

Lincoln
A masterclass in filmmaking from Steven Spielberg

Steve Jobs
A completely unique approach to a biography; delivered with pace, panache and plenty to ponder over by a sterling cast and crew

American Hustle
Several wonderful character portrayals combine to create both a compelling and very amusing drama

In the Mood for Love / Fa yeung nin wa
It’s rare for tense and brooding romance to work so well on film, but there isn’t a trace of melodrama in this. A perennial favourite of critics and audiences alike

Star Wars Episode VII : The Force Awakens
Simply brilliant

Begin Again
Charming and inspiring film that not only survives multiple viewings, but actually gets better each time

Edge of Tomorrow
I’m fast falling in love with this film, attention to detail and a fantastic production make this an instant and wonderful sci-fi classic, one released just shy of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War, both of which are evoked by its memorable scenes of combat on the sands of Normandy and mention of another brutal battle for the French city of Verdun

12 Years a Slave
A thought provoking, but also completely brutal, depiction of slavery in the American Deep South and the true story of one man’s decade long struggle to escape from it

Princess Mononoke
If I were to rate Studio Ghibli’s films purely on entertainment value, I’m not sure I’d put this one first. However, this has a certain depth to it and survives multiple viewings, as well as holding a very special pivotal role in not only the artistic development of the company but also perhaps of cinema in general, as it would go on to inspire countless other animators and filmmakers alike, and also represents a milestone for stories featuring kick ass female protagonists

North Sea Hijack
A finely balanced, and little known, terrorist thriller with some wonderfully memorable comedic moments

Sin City : A Dame to Kill For
Guilty pleasure this one – numerous dull moments but some wonderful performances and a heady noir atmosphere that’s really satisfying if you’re in the right mood for it

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