Hello, as the title suggests, here is a list of my favourites films from 2022 – another tumultuous year. I don’t know about you but I would love a boring year where politics is not crazy but dull and perfunctory, Russia is not waging war on anyone, world cups aren’t in the winter and the weather does not go above 40c. Hope you enjoy the list, click here to see my favourites from 2021.
5) The Stranger –
A tense psychological drama directed by Thomas Wright, The Stranger is a gripping, slow burning crime flick with brilliant performances by Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris. Inspired by real events, Edgerton plays Mark who after a chance meeting with Harris’ Henry befriends and invites him to work in the criminal underworld. If you have not heard of the events this is based on, it is best to go in a bit blind as this is a deeply satisfying crime drama with a nerve shredding and ominous tone. Available to watch on Netflix.
4) The Batman –
This is a much welcomed return to form for the DC superhero. Planet of the Apes director (‘Dawn’ and ‘War’) Matt Reeve tured his eye to the dark, menacing tone of the Nolan years – in this bat flick with a cleverly woven plot, visceral action and some scene stealing villains – Paul Dano as a maniacal Riddler and Colin Farrell as a wise cracking Penguin. Then there’s Robert Pattinson as a tormented and brutally aggressive Batman, anyone who doubted him ate a lot of humble pie, and Andy Serkis as a rougher, tougher and gruffer Alfred.
3) Barbarian –
Zach Cregger‘s directorial debut and a surprise hit, Barbarian is a terse horror that mixes dread, a sense of unease, eye watering violence and wonderfully placed humour to great effect. It may stick to genre tropes but is expertly made and entertaining to the last, with some great twists and turns. Georgina Campbell is mesmerising as the dogged but scared witless Tess, with Bill Skarsgård and Justin Long putting in memorable performances, especially the latter as the selfish and unintentionally hilarious AJ.
2) The Northman –
A viking epic with a Shakespearean plot, The Northman is an ambitious tale of revenge set in ninth century Iceland with enough intrigue, double crossing, blood and surrealism to sate fans of Game of Thrones and The Last Kingdom. Director Robert Eggers has created a bold and beautiful film that goes big in every way – in scale, violence, weirdness and its climax. Alexander Skarsgård plays the lead Amleth with an obsessive lust for revenge, Anya Taylor-Joy is her charismatic self as sorceress Olga and Nicole Kidman is captivating as the soft yet conniving Gudrún – Amleth’s mum.
1) Everything Everywhere All At Once –
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a one of a kind mishmash of science fiction, adventure, drama and comedy. Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn Wang is in trouble with the taxman and via an unlikely sequence of events finds herself, and her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), traversing parallel worlds trying to save the universe from a malevolent force. Whilst it may be a baffling assault on the senses and hard to follow, just go with it as the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Scheinert) have made a deep, surprisingly moving and utterly hilarious film that you will not forget in a hurry. You will never look at bagels or hotdogs in the same way again.
Occupying sixth to tenth place are The Wonder (Florence Pugh is a marvel in this dark, psychological drama), Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (An extravagant and entertaining murder mystery sequel), Bullet Train, The Menu and Top Gun: Maverick.
The battle for the wooden spoon was hotly contested between Gray Man, Windfall and Scream. The latter is a satirical take on the long running slasher franchise that quickly becomes tired, clichéd and derivative. The former is a big blockbuster spy thriller directed by the Russo brothers and starring Chris Evans (Captain America) and Ryan Gosling (Drive) which, despite having everything and the kitchen sink thrown at it, is a garbled mess with a nonexistent plot and bits borrowed from much better films. But the winner is Windfall, a Hitchcockian thriller about a burglary gone wrong that turns a promising concept and a decent cast (Jessie Plemons, Jason Segel and Lily Collins) into a painfully slow 90 minutes where three forgettable characters talk rings around each. You needn’t have asked but yes, 2 of these are Netflix specials.
As for TV, season four of Netflix’s Stranger Things was among my highlights – it is darker and better than previous iterations with each episode a mini film with strong Nightmare On Elm Street overtones. BBC’s The Tourist was a compelling, light and breezy surprise, 50 Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan wakes up from a car crash with no memory and a whole host of people wanting his guts for garters. The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe on ITV is a dramatic retelling of the famous John Darwin disappearance case – it is an unbelievable story of greed, guilt and selfishness with John and Anne Darwin performed by Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan.