The year of 2022 had been very good, so far. Nicolas Cage is back with “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”, Ti West returned with “X”, Robert Eggers made a great Viking epic with “The Northman”, the Indian cinema is getting recognition for “RRR”, if you complain about the box office, people are kind of getting back to theatres. Tom Cruise ruled the world with “Top Gun Maverick”, one of the best legacy sequels in a while. It’s also good to see original content like “Everything, Everywhere All At Once” Even someone like Michael Bay made one of his better films in “Ambulance”.
So we’re getting lots of good content and we’re still far away from award season. Yet, among so many good films it’s possible that you can overlook some that didn’t have the best distribution or the hype. These ten films, which all are in different genres and have different kinds of appeal, might include some films that would interest you.
10. Here Before
Andrea Riseborough’s name should often be mentioned if we talk about anything “underrated” or “overlooked”. A very unique, versatile, incredibly talented actress who takes on such challenging roles that, unfortunately, many people miss. Yes, in cinephile communities, people had seen “Mandy” and “Possessor” but her great work in the latter one still went unrecognized. Just a few years ago, she was amazing in “Nancy”, another film that almost bi one had seen. Once again, she’s the center of a great character study called “Here Before”.
The film sets in Northern Ireland, the native place of the director Stracey Gregg who makes her directorial debut. She’s doing a great job at building the atmosphere, which is slowly unsettling and involving, almost horror-ish. Andrea plays a grieving mother who becomes that the girl next door is her daughter, now back from the dead. Obviously, the directing is important to carry a story like this but the most important factor for a film like this to work is acting.
Andrea Riseborough’s performance is just perfect, she brings so much complexity and intensity in an understated way to her character that, you just get floored by watching it. Everything feels authentic and realistic in the film. The great score and camerawork also help to build the tension. Now the ending might be somewhat divisive for the audiences but still, it’s a great ride.
9. You Won’t Be Alone
Strange things are happening in a Macedonian mountain village in the early 1880s. A young girl is taken from her mother and turned into a witch by an ancient, shape-shifting spirit. Left to the wild, the young witch regards nature with curiosity and wonder. After accidentally killing a villager and taking over his body, she gradually takes on the guise of various other people living here. She lives among the villagers for years, observing them and mimicking their behavior until the ancient spirit returns.
An absolutely mesmerizing film with a great cast, amazing locations, and haunting cinematography. The story is great too but if you’re a horror fan, you might have seen some of the tropes in other films. Why does it work here so well then? Because it’s different than many others. It takes such a poetic approach to the material and is very humanistic also. Obviously, it’s an instant no for the audiences seeking mainstream entertainment, they might find it a little too artsy but for horror fans who’re looking for something different, the film takes you in it and doesn’t let you go. One of the finest folk horrors in recent years. Kudos to Noomi Rapace for often taking such challenging films to star in.
In a future where human cloning is available to everyone, terminally ill Sarah who was already a depressed alcoholic before receiving the news decides to clone herself. Her copy will continue her life. However, when she suddenly unexpectedly recovers from her illness, she is forced to engage in a life-or-death struggle with her own clone.
Riley Stearns is a director with a voice of his own and what’s so good about him is that his films are not similar to each other. If you liked or disliked “The Art of Self-Defence”, it doesn’t matter because this is a different kind of film. What connects them all together is that they all have some of his humor, so deadpan that you might not be too sure if you get it. Not that his other films have stormed the box offices but they did well for what they are.
“Dual” has unfortunately flopped at the box office which is not good for the original independent film scene. Of course, there are things that hold the film back to be truly “great” because one could have explored these themes in a richer way but still, it’s an original and smart film well-led by Karen Gillan in dual roles. If you’re looking for a sci-fi that has something to say, and if you’re bored of recent mindless films and look for something smart, then “Dual” might be the right choice.
7. Dark Glasses
In summertime in Rome, a mysterious serial killer murders high-class prostitutes under the sign of a solar eclipse. He always strangles the women with a cello string. He has chosen Diana, who offers her services in the hotels of the Via Veneto, as his fourth and final victim. The killer follows her in a van. She desperately tries to escape from the madness. As the killer rams her, she crashes into another car. She has lost her sight now but the killer is still behind.
It fits to follow genre films with another genre film. This time a horror by the master Dario Argento. It’s not something unusual or groundbreaking in the genre, no doubt about that. If you’re not familiar with Giallo cinema or expect this to be some sort of masterpiece, you should stay away. But you should check this out if you’re looking for an old-school horror, type of film that we don’t get often anymore. Argento’s signature details are all over the place. It’s not the next “Suspiria” that will storm the world, it’s not his next masterpiece. It doesn’t have to be, because it’s great for what it is. Just when the first killing happens, or when you observe how great the music is used, you immediately recognize that it’s an Argento film and that’s a great feeling.
6. All the Old Knives
Maybe it’s the slow pace, maybe its lack of distribution, or something that killed the buzz for this film. It’s a lot going for a spy film. The film sets in early 2020, a CIA officer is informed that there had been a leak from their station where he and his ex-girlfriend worked. He is now sent out to interview his ex-girlfriend to find out what actually happened. A big part of the film is narrated through flashbacks and the editing deserves props here so that it doesn’t get confusing. The film has a lot to say about current political affairs, foreign policy of the United States, war with terror as well as it mixes up very well with the romance subplot. Espionage stuff works really great too, you keep involved with the characters and it has the elements of all the better spy films.
Probably the only problem is Janus Matz Pedersen’s direction is a little too cold, he directs the whole film with the same tone and for a movie like this which has a lot to deal with, it might be a little alienating thing to do for the audiences. Yet, the film still works because Chris Pine and Thandie Newton are both putting on compelling movie star performances and in almost every scene something happens to keep your attention. When the film ends you’ll have moral and ethical questions about the characters’ decisions and these days when movie gives you something to discuss and talk about, it always should be appreciated. In an era of quality spy films are getting less and less, this one is good stuff.