It was a year filled with triumph, tragedy, action, laughter and everything in between. 2018 was an exceptional year for film but there are moments where we, as an audience, are able to feel more when watching certain scenes. The ones that transcend the medium; that transport us, as if we are there co-experiencing what the characters are seeing. Moments that are able to defy our own imagination and become something more. In 2018, there were many instances of this but in this ranking, we will count down the ten scenes that went beyond the calling of the movie. So, here are Talkies Network’s picks for the ten best film scenes of 2018!
10. Killmonger’s Vision – Black Panther
I made the case back in February that Killmonger is the greatest cinematic villain Marvel has ever crafted. Not only was he sympathetic in his motivations, but he never strayed away from the “dark side,” unlike other villains who eventually saw the light in some fashion. For Killmonger, his goal was to defeat Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa in order to seize Wakanda’s throne, and he succeeded. Following this, Erik takes part in a Wakandan ritual and enters the ancestral plane, where he sees a vision of his father. In a heartbreaking sequence, Killmonger talks to his father about how N’Jobu’s warped philosophy in which Wakanda should be the leader of the world and command all others has impacted the life of the young Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. He tells his son “they will say you are lost” to which he sons replies with a gut punch of his own “maybe your home is the one’s that lost.” N’Jobu wasn’t buried with his people due to being abandoned in Oakland and the scene perfectly captures how Erik is cut off from his true heritage.
9. The Car Conversation – Widows
Covering themes of the loss, betrayal and consequences – Widows is a layered and thought-provoking film. Director Steve McQueen’s intricate way of communicating character information is by far the most interesting aspect of the film. The scene in question finds Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), the son of a corrupt political dynasty, and his campaign manager (Molly Kunz) driving from a campaign event celebrating “Women At Work” to the family mansion. Dropping his nice guy façade, Mulligan spews racist idiom while lamenting his chosen profession, but McQueen has little interest in focusing on Farrell during this moment. Instead, he mounts the camera on the hood of the car and captures the scope of the Chicago projects, dividing the rich and poor. As Mulligan voices his frustrations, McQueen expertly divides the viewer’s attention between the white privilege of Mulligan and the struggling people of colour around him. It’s a powerful moment wherein McQueen is able to examine the message of one nation, where the rich and poor co-exist and in an unfair system.
8. Daniel’s Speech – If Beale Street Could Talk
An allegory for the injustices faced by black people in the United States, If Beale Street Could Talk is one example of a thousand stories that all happens for similar reasons. For Brian Tyree Henry’s Daniel and Stephan James’ Fonny, they have been friends forever, sharing an almost brother-like relationship. In a scene about midway through the feature, the men recognize how much they lean on each other in an incredibly haunting but powerful speech from Henry’s Daniel. He begins speaking about what being black means in America while Miles Davis gently plays in the background. He reflects on his time in prison as director Barry Jenkins camera moves slowly between both actors. As Henry’s only scene in the film, he personifies how proud he is to be black but also the problems being who he is brings.
7. Thor’s Arrival in Wakanda – Avengers: Infinity War
The biggest film of the year also had one of the most crowd-pleasing moments of 2018. Joe and Anthony Russo were tasked with bringing almost every Marvel Cinematic Universe character back for one massive film in Avengers: Infinity War and were able to construct three stories that intertwine in the film’s third act. While Iron Man is leading his sect of The Avengers and The Guardians of the Galaxy against Thanos on Titan, and Captain America and Black Panther lead the battle on Wakanda, Thor is off forging a new weapon to defeat Thanos with Rocket and Groot. Using all of his might, Thor holds open the forge, allowing the heart of a dying star to construct his axe, Stormbreaker. Once completed, the film cuts back to Wakanda, where we see Cap’s Avengers and Wakandan forces on the brink of defeat until suddenly, the bifrost appears. As Alan Silvestri’s score begins to build, the axe swings through the jungle. Thor makes his triumphant return to earth as The Avengers theme finally hits, stunning everyone on the field. It’s a truly enthralling moment that had the entire theatre cheering until the scene finished.
6. Bathroom Brawl – Mission: Impossible – Fallout
The Mission: Impossible franchise is one that moviegoers arguably did not expect to see last as long as it has. With every film, the series has constantly gotten better and better, increasing the action to levels rarely seen before. With Fallout, it was clear that director Christopher McQuarrie not only wanted more action, but he wanted to evolve it. One scene in particular exemplifies this perfectly: the brawl in the bathroom. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and August Walker (Henry Cavill) tag in and out when their target (Liang Yang) refuses to sit quietly in a club bathroom. McQuarrie phenomenally assembles all of the “bathroom-fight” trademarks—broken sinks, cracked mirrors, pipes—but what really sells the scene is the actors. Cruise is thrown around like a ragdoll but never shies away from the fight, Cavill is raw as ever as the CIA brawler assassin and Yang is a marvel to watch as he gives it his all against our heroes. While the series is known for its dangerous stunts, it’s this simple hand-to-hand combat sequence that truly embodies the “impossible mission” aspect of the series.
5. The Accident – Hereditary
Hereditary is terrifying. The entire film has such an unsettling edge to it that it’s almost impossible to sit comfortably during the entire runtime. In one of the most visceral moments in Ari Aster’s film, Peter (Alex Wolff) drives his sister to the hospital as she jerks from a severe allergic reaction in the backseat. Aster, instead of focusing more on how scary the situation truly is, uses expert sound design to convey what is happening. Charlie (Milly Shapiro) crazily grasps for air as Peter swerves hard across the road, leading to the hard thud of Charlie’s head being decapitated by the telephone pole. Peter hits the break and then it goes silent; dead silent, as we only eventually hear Peter breath slowly. Silence again takes over until the next morning when we hear the pained screams of Toni Collette film the screen.
4. Miles’ Leap of Faith – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best comic book film of 2018. It’s a colorful, emotional, action-packed animated film with a real heart, and it might just be the best Spider-Man movie yet. The moment happens late in the story as Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is at his lowest. Following the death of his uncle, Miles is confined to his room by Peter B. Parker’s Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) due to not being ready to “truly be Spider-Man.” Parker tells Miles that he needs to take a leap of faith to be “Spider-Man.” After hearing his dad through the door of his room talk about how much he loves his son, Miles is finally able to control his newfound powers and sets off for Aunt May, where she gives him a suit and spider-gear. In a fantastically constructed sequence, Miles takes the leap of faith and swings through the streets of Brooklyn in his own Spider suit. He embraces his inner Spider-Man, finding the spark inside of him his dad (Brian Tyree Henry) spoke of. It’s a commanding scene, hammering home the message of “anyone can wear the mask,” as Miles accepts his roles as his earth’s new Spider-Man.
3. The Crater – First Man
The story of the lunar landings may seem like a massive narrative to put to screen but Damien Chazelle and writer Josh Singer were able to ground the story and make it a bold exercise in limited perspective. Chazelle puts viewers inside the spacesuit of a stoic, detail-oriented astronaut, who copes with pain and loss by focusing on what the next task at hand. For Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), the mission to the moon caused his a great deal of sorrow as he watches his friends around him die for the goal of getting to space. Once the mission is given the go-ahead and Neil reaches the moon, the film becomes a liberating experience. Justin Hurwitz’s amazing score plays as Neil sees the vast, scary and beautiful lunar surface. He begins walking when he reaches a crater and suddenly stops. Scenes intercut of Neil’s deceased daughter Karen before he takes out a bracelet of her’s. In a heartbreaking moment, Neil drops the bracelet in the crater, immortalizing Karen and the moment for himself, before departing back for earth. For such a historic moment, it was something as small as a bracelet that really had the biggest impact on the man who took “one small step for man.”
2. “Shallow” – A Star is Born
“Tell me something boy, aren’t you tired of trying to fill that void.” These were the first words of “Shallow” that Ally (Lady Gaga) sang to Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) in the supermarket parking lot. The song itself was not new for audiences as it was already heard in trailers, on the radio and on YouTube. And yet, the moment Ally steps foot onto the stage of Jackson’s concert, the world stops for a moment. Chills run down your spine as Ally stands beside a guitar-playing Jackson and sings that very same first line of “Shallow.” It’s Jackson who pushes Ally to embrace her full potential, even if it’s scary, but once she’s out there, her confidence builds with every second, until she literally grabs the mic with both hands and pours her heart out, belting the lyrics and holding the entire audience in her hand. Cooper’s Jackson experiences a career and life revitalization through Ally and in this moment, a star was truly born.
1. The Beach Embrace – Roma
Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma is a black-and-white masterpiece. Every scene in breathtakingly crafted and shot as we follow the day-to-day workings a young nanny and maid to an upper-class Mexican family. The nanny, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), after suffering through the birth of her stillborn baby, attends a family trip to the beach. As Sofia, the mother, takes her youngest daughter away for a moment, Cleo watches the two middle children swimming in the ocean. The tension gradually increases as Cleo realizes the current has pulled the children under and, despite not knowing how to swim, she charges in to rescue them. Cuarón presents the sequence as if it is one uninterrupted shot but in actuality, several shots were stitched together as the setting was digitally manipulated. The sequence perfectly encompasses the emotional journey of Cleo, as if she is reborn following her tragedy. Her dedication to the family is enduring as they embrace her on the beach following the rescue.
Those are our picks! Did we miss any? Comment below what your favourite film scenes from 2018 are!