After the rave reviews of its opening weekend, it comes as little surprise that the members of the Criticwire Network would collectively pick “Mad Max: Fury Road” the best film of 2015 so far. Appearing on over 63% of the ballots, “Mad Max: Fury Road” was the clear top choice, with a strong majority of critics ranking it in the first or second place on their lists.
We asked critics for their top ten films and then used a simple points scale (10 for first, nine for second, etc.) to compile the results. In order for critics to include it on their lists, a film needed to have been released in North America at some point during the year’s first six months (either theatrically or on VOD).
It’s rare to find a studio film ranked so highly in our survey. Back in 2013, when the trilogy-capping “Before Midnight” was in first place, you had to wander down to fifteenth place to find a mainstream title (“This is the End“). And last year, even though “The LEGO Movie” had a strong showing, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” ended up at the top.
2015 has also been a strong year for genre fare, according to our voters. Alex Garland’s artificial intelligence mind-bender “Ex Machina” joined Olivier Assayas’ meta-showbiz drama “Clouds of Sils Maria,” David Robert Mitchell’s throwback ghost story “It Follows” and Peter Strickland’s enigmatic “The Duke of Burgundy” as the list’s runners-up.
Rather than being dominated by recent fare or skewing more towards the beginning of the year, the releases of these top films have been fairly well spread out. Of the top ten, two of them opened in every month (except February). In order to get a clearer view of the first full half of the year, we set the deadline for critics’ ballots on June 26, which meant that four well-received June releases (“Dope,” “Eden,” “Inside Out” and “The Tribe“) didn’t make the cut.
One unique entry among these top picks is the lone short, Don Hertzfeldt’s “World of Tomorrow.” Criticwire’s Sam Adams described it as one of the best films of the year back in March, and seven critics agreed by placing it on their ballots, including three of them that listed it in first place.
Although many films on this list also appear on our ongoing list of the top-graded films of the year, this is a chance for films with less of a critical consensus to have a chance to be recognized. Six titles (“Saint Laurent,” “Blackhat,” “Ned Rifle,” “Results,” “White God” and “Maps to the Stars“) were able to crack the overall top fifty despite having a “B” Criticwire average or lower.
The top ten is included below:
The Top Films of 2015 So Far
1. “Mad Max: Fury Road“
2. “Ex Machina“
3. “Clouds of Sils Maria“
4. “It Follows“
5. “The Duke of Burgundy“
7. “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“
9. “The Tribe“
10. “Heaven Knows What“
For the full top fifty, including links to individual ballots and an overview of all participating critics, visit the survey homepage.