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. You Were Never Really Here was made with the support of the BFI using funds from the National Lottery.
Horror 2017 71 mins Director: Sebastian Godwin
Nothing is as it seems when a woman visits her new husband’s family with chilling results.
Thriller 2019 130 mins Director: Rian Johnson
Daniel Craig is the Kentucky Fried Poirot with all-star suspects - Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Toni Collette among them - in this nimble and brilliant crime caper.
Drama 2020 95 mins Director: Philip Baranttini
An emotionally scarred London chef (Stephen Graham) struggles to keep it together in this formally extraordinary and beautifully acted single-take thriller.
Horror 2021 93 mins Director: Jim Cummings
Indie actor-director Jim Cummings returns after his breakout hit Thunder Road with a pacey down-the-rabbit-hole thriller about a Hollywood talent agent who becomes ensnared in a sinister world of sex, lies and murder.
Thriller 2020 112 mins Director: Dominic Cooke
Benedict Cumberbatch is gripping in this true-life spy thriller charting the story of unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne as he is recruited into the Cold War effort.
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.
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 2020 94 mins Director: Clio Barnard
Clio Barnard’s latest film is a tremendously warm and tenderly written love story.
Drama 2021 123 mins Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Almodóvar at his very best, presenting a riveting drama about two mothers from very different backgrounds whose lives become intertwined.
Documentary 2022 84 mins Director: Nigel Askew
Nigel Askew's documentary explores the punk movement, featuring revealing insights from designer and punk icon Vivienne Westwood.
Horror 2021 86 mins Director: Jane Schoenbrun
This remarkable debut from Jane Schoenbrun is destined to be a cult classic.
Drama 2021 96 mins Director: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic
Tensions rise between restless teenager Julija and her oppressive father Ante when an old family friend arrives at their Croatian island home.
Drama 2021 107 mins Director: Juho Kuosmanen
Juho Kuosmanen’s grungy train journey to Siberia, in a Finnish student’s shared sleeper carriage with a volatile Russian labourer, won the 2021 Cannes Grand Prix.