Lynne Ramsay’s stark inversion of the noir thriller is a devastatingly brutal portrayal of one man’s battle with repression and abuse, anchored by a rage-fuelled, Cannes-winning performance from Joaquin Phoenix. Joe (Phoenix) is a Gulf War veteran and former FBI agent turned killer-for-hire who lives at home with his ailing mother. When Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov), a US Senator’s daughter is kidnapped, he is contracted to dispense with the perpetrators and save the girl. Having located Nina in a seedy New York brothel, Joe’s escape plan suddenly derails, unleashing a maelstrom of violence that ultimately takes him deeper into the hallucinatory darkness and closer to the truth.
Working from Jonathan Ames’ 2013 novel, Ramsay (who jointly won the best screenplay award in Cannes) is more concerned with the psyche of her unhinged protagonist than she is with the action, and she eschews the spoken word in favour of Phoenix’s eloquent, line-ravaged face. Reuniting several of her key collaborators on We Need to Talk About Kevin, her taut, syncopated cinema is intensified by Jonny Greenwood’s pulsating score, Thomas Townend’s expressive camerawork and razor-sharp editing from Joe Bini who rejects exploitation, cutting away from the action rather than to it.
Drama 2021 76 mins Director: Darragh Carey
Affluent YouTuber Leah is drawn to shy youth Benji as the subject for her Brixton documentary, but her desire for edgy footage leads them both down a dangerous path.
Drama 2020 91 mins Director: Michael Sarnoski
Nicolas Cage regains his indie mojo with his extraordinary performance as a reclusive truffle hunter who's forced to re-enter society in search of his beloved stolen pig.
Thriller 2019 98 mins Director: Maya Werneck Da-Rin
Justino, a 45-year-old Desana native, is a security guard at the Manaus harbor. As his daughter prepares to study medicine in Brasilia, Justino is taken over by a mysterious fever.
Thriller 2018 111 mins Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) directs this Gothic mystery, with Domhnall Gleeson as a doctor helping the heir of a haunted stately home (Ruth Wilson).
Documentary 2020 90 mins Director: Maite Alberdi
Increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of his mother inside a nursing home, Romulo decides its time to take action and hires a mole to spy on her, in this heartwarming documentary.
Thriller 2019 111 mins Director: Gerard Johnson
A directionless call centre salesman gets more than he bargained for when he joins a local gym, in Gerard Johnson's stunning dissection of masculinity.
Best Films of 2018
Drama 2017 105 mins Director: Francis Lee
A troubled young sheep farmer falls for a hired hand in this stunning debut from Francis Lee.
Comedy 2017 71 mins Director: Sally Potter
Following some unexpected revelations, a celebration quickly takes a turn for the worse in Sally Potter's razor-sharp comedy.
Comedy 2017 107 mins Director: Armando Iannucci
Chaos and comedy ignite in Armando Iannucci’s acerbic satire, as Soviet officials frantically react to the passing of their glorious leader.
Drama 2017 112 mins Director: Sean Baker
Tangerine director Sean Baker presents another visionary take on the wild ups and dangerous downs of life in America’s underbelly, featuring an Oscar-nominated turn from Willem Dafoe.
Drama 2017 127 mins Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Andrey Zvyagintsev (Elena, Leviathan) delivers a masterpiece in this caustic look at contemporary Russian society, a failed marriage and the disappearance of a child. A major prize winner at both Cannes and BFI London Film Festival.
Drama 2017 106 mins Director: Michael Pearce
The hunt for a Jersey serial killer sparks a dangerous awakening in a young woman in this astonishing psycho-sexual thriller, which sets all the senses aflame.
Featuring Joaquin Phoenix
Drama 2013 117 mins Director: James Gray
Marion Cotillard plays a Polish immigrant struggling to survive in 1920s New York, in this acclaimed drama from James Gray (We Own the Night).
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Drama 1996 18 mins Director: Lynne Ramsay
An ex-drug addict reflects on life in and out of prison in this short by BAFTA-winner Lynne Ramsay, based on real accounts.
Drama 2010 112 mins Director: Lynne Ramsay
Tilda Swinton gives a BAFTA-nominated performance as the mother of a teenager who commits a high school massacre. With Ezra Miller and John C. Reilly.
Drama 2004 120 mins Director: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh’s acclaimed story of a selfless woman who performs unlawful abortions in 1950s Britain; both an affecting drama and vital social history.
Crime 2020 89 mins Director: Jeanette Nordahl
When reserved 17-year-old Ida goes to live with her aunt and cousins, she soon becomes embroiled in the family’s aggressive business affairs in this tense, brooding and utterly gripping thriller.
Comedy 2021 103 mins Director: Marley Morrison
AJ discovers it’s not so bad being on a family holiday when she meets flirtatious lifeguard Isla in this smart and funny first feature.
Documentary 2020 117 mins Director: Bryan Fogel
When journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappears in Istanbul, his fiancée and dissidents around the world piece together the clues to a murder and expose a global cover up.
Drama 2016 126 mins Director: Takuro Nakamura
Differing cultures collide and pent up feelings explored in this exquisite melodrama from Japan.
Drama 2019 118 mins Director: Rupert Goold
Renée Zellweger pulls off a show-stopping performance with her BAFTA and Oscar®-winning portrayal of Judy Garland.