The Top Ten:
You Were Never Really Here (dir. Lynn Ramsey)
Lynne Ramsay in a career that has spanned three decades, four films, six shorts, and one music video has never produced a project that wasn’t filled with artful intent and purpose. … You Were Never Really Here is a character study of a man of violence and the decay that has caused to his mind, body, and soul. Ramsay who wrote, directed and produced the film has pushed this material beyond the conventional trappings and clichés to something more artful, less defined. By its end You Were Never Really Here will leave one with more questions than answers. In any other director’s hands, this would be a critique. This is not only a compliment but a virtue in Lynne Ramsay’s hands. The film wants to provoke and confound, to cause a reaction, to have more questions than answers. In our homogeneous times of four-quadrant entertainment, this film stands proudly apart as defiant art.
A Quiet Place (dir. John Krasinski)
There are few films that scratch a cinematic itch as this one does for me. It’s post-apocalyptic. It’s a Sci-Fi Horror film. It’s about a father connecting with his children. It’s about Emily Blunt being a badass (in the traditional and non-traditional sense). Beautifully shot, directed, and acted. This is the kind of studio production that not just takes risks but succeeds in giving us what few of the bigger budget counterparts can; a gratifying ending.
Mandy (dir. Panos Cosmatos)
I’ve been working on a larger piece about Mandy since it was released back in September. The film continues to rattle in my head. Confounding as much as it delights me. Panos Cosmatos is a true artist, painfully drawing out a story of nightmare images and feelings from the deepest recesses of his heart and soul. The result is a brokenhearted LSD Frank Firezzta inspired revenge film like you’ve never seen.
The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest still shows his disdain for humanity but in an entirely new package. This bawdy costume drama is part Barry Lyndon and part deranged pitch-black screwball comedy. At its very core, the film is a toxic romantic triangle. With pitch-perfect script, direction, and acting it is sure to make Lanthimos new rabid fans while keeping his staunchest of supporters happy. The Favourite is the darkest of Dark Comedies in an Awards Contender’s clothing. It’s all the better for it.