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.
Period drama 2018 136 mins Director: Jennifer Kent
A young Irish convict enlists the help of an Aboriginal tracker in her quest for vengeance, in this ferociously powerful revenge drama from Jennifer Kent (The Babadook).
Thriller 2018 94 mins Director: Amanda Kramer
Welcome to Ladyworld, a shadowy dwelling where tensions run high and nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Thriller 2018 111 mins Director: Kim Nguyen
Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård are sensational as scheming cousins on a lucrative but ethically dubious mission, in this fast, funny and topical technological caper.
Thriller 2017 79 mins Director: Ana Asensio
A day in the life of an undocumented Spanish immigrant turns increasingly bizarre in this searing social drama with a bold genre twist. Winner of the 2017 SXSW Grand Jury Award.
Thriller 2018 88 mins Director: Isabella Eklöf
A lavish trip to the Turkish Riviera goes horribly awry in this disturbing tale of power, exploitation and complicity from the writer of Border.
Crime 2018 159 mins Director: S. Craig Zahler
As brutal and uncompromising as its title would suggest, the third feature from S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) is another instant classic crime drama.
Best Films of 2018
Drama 2016 103 mins Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Three strong, independent Israeli-Palestinian women try to square their liberated, hedonistic lifestyles with the stultifying restrictions of conservative family life, in Maysaloun Hamoud's charming and vital drama.
Drama 2017 105 mins Director: Francis Lee
A troubled young sheep farmer falls for a hired hand in this stunning debut from Francis Lee.
Documentary 2017 115 mins Director: Sophie Fiennes
Grace Jones is laid bare in this intimate and electrifying insight into the fascinating world of a pop-cultural phenomenon.
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.
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.
Comedy 2018 103 mins Director: Cédric Le Gallo
After making a homophobic remark on live TV, an Olympic champion swimmer is given a chance at redemption by coaching a water polo team to the world’s biggest LGBTQ+ sporting event, the Gay Games.
Drama 2019 113 mins Director: Pedro Almodóvar
In one of his most personal works, Pedro Almodóvar presents a vivid portrait of a filmmaker confronting age-related anxieties.
Drama 2018 86 mins Director: Camilla Strøm Henriksen
Camilla Strøm Henriksen’s astute and atmospheric adolescent drama follows a young girl having to grow up quickly in an intensely adult world.
Documentary 2017 73 mins Director: Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave makes her directorial debut with this impassioned documentary about the ongoing refugee crisis.
Documentary 2019 86 mins Director: Ljubomir Stefanov
When a nomadic family move in and break Honeyland’s basic rule, the last female wild beekeeper in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.
Drama 2017 143 mins Director: Robin Campillo
Pulsating with life and pounding with urgency, Robin Campillo’s extraordinary account of 1990s AIDS activism is a rousing, sensual and heart-breaking celebration of personal and political resistance.