Top 10 Films of 2022 – Mary’s Picks

It’s that time of year again when I realise that I have watched absolutely nothing. (If you’ve listened to our podcasts, you’ll also know this to be the case.) You only have to look at the lists from the bigger movie outlets to wonder just what, exactly, you’ve been missing out on this year.

Cinema has provided something for everyone, this year. From popcorn blockbusters that merit repeat viewing to thrilling, indie horrors that really get under your skin. Of course, there has been plenty of lively Twitter debate (while it still exists) as to awards nominations, film merit and the value of lists like this.

It was, as always, hard to narrow my viewing down to just ten films. Honourable mentions go to the likes of Europa, The Black Phone, Operation Mincemeat, Nightmare Alley, The Menu, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinnochioall of which very narrowly missed out on the top ten.

So, for your reading (and catch up viewing) pleasure, here are my Top 10 Films of 2022.

Good Madam Glasgow Film Festival10. Good Madam

Jena Cato Bass’s female-led horror screened at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. It’s a really unsettling slow burn that uses traditional horror elements (such as gore and jump scares) very sparingly. The sound design of this film is thoroughly brilliant – who knew that a repeated scrubbing sound could make you feel so uneasy? The performances are excellent, specifically Chumisa Cosa, who plays the lead with such subtlety and authenticity. This is a great film for horror fans who like to have their mind played with. Its dramatic climax is so well executed that Good Madam really does deserve to be seen by a bigger audience.

The Batman9. The Batman

Robert Pattinson became the ninth actor to play Batman in Matt Reeves’ dark, grungy adaptation, where Glaswegians could feel that home city pride as the titular hero rode through the Necropolis on a motorbike. The film luxuriates in tremendous performances from Pattinson, alongside Colin Farrell’s interpretation of the Penguin and Paul Dano’s exceedingly unhinged take on the Riddler. It feels like so much more than “just another” superhero movie. It’s well-paced and doesn’t ever take its audience for granted. Michael Giacchino’s score is worth the ticket price alone.

The Northman8. The Northman 

It is hard to believe that The Northman is Robert Eggers’ third film. The writer / director has made such an impact on the horror and thriller landscape in such a very short space of time. The film is perhaps his most conventional to date, but that doesn’t mean that it fails to deliver. Using the Norse legend of Amleth as its starting point, Eggers conjures a tale of violent revenge and desire. The landscapes, the fight direction, the cold and miserable weather are all utterly relentless throughout. Alexander Skarsgard and Claes Bang stand out in a cast full of riches. (Just ignore the slight accent salad that is going on.)

The Quiet Girl7. The Quiet Girl (An Cailín Ciúin) 

Writer / director Colm Bairéad has adapted Claire Keegan’s novel, Foster, to create the first ever Irish-language Oscar nominee. The film is a beautifully wounding portrayal of loss and lack; of family; of home. It is so gentle in its exploration of these potentially traumatic themes yet what you have seen will linger with you long after the credits roll. Carrie Crowley gives a stunning performance, full of hope and desperation, whilst Catherine Clinch positively shines in the titular role. This is not a film that needs to be brash or hysterical or lecturing – it’s in the stillness that you will do your thinking.

Boiling Point6. Boiling Point

Ever since 1917, it feels like cinema has been obsessed with “one take”. Well, this film really was shot in one take as the camera whirs around a busy London restaurant one night. Stephen Graham stars as the increasingly flustered chef, whose personal and professional life are battling for first place. The customers are rude and demanding; mistakes are made in the kitchen; shocking back stories are revealed. This 90-minute gem has to be one of the best British films to be made in a long time. Everything is note perfect – you truly feel like you are immersed in the dining area and the kitchen as the various plots (and some of the characters) unravel.

All Quiet on the Western Front5. All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues)

The image of Felix Kammerer’s debris encrusted face is just one of the utterly haunting visuals in Edward Berger’s film. The horrors of war are laid bare as young lad after young lad barely makes it “up and over”. Volker Bertelmann’s striking horn-blast score adds something of a jump scare element to the already horrific visuals. Kammerer makes an unbelievable debut in this adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, and plays beautifully off Albrecht Schuh’s “Kat”. This feels like more of a horror film than a war film – it really does offer some of the best (and most disturbing) battlefield cinematography that you’ll have seen in years. A book to screen adaptation that works.

Top Gun Maverick4. Top Gun: Maverick 

It has been almost four decades since we last saw Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. And yet, Top Gun: Maverick has been a blistering box office success. Tom Cruise puts his school of cadets through stomach-churning aerobatics as he is consigned to the classroom for churlish behaviour. There, he must confront old ghosts and new egos. Director Joseph Kosinski gets the tone spot on here – there are plenty of throwbacks to the original film but, equally, new stories and new stunts. Of course, with this being a Tom Cruise film, the flight sequences will have you on the edge of your seat (and possibly reaching for your sick bag), knowing that this is all very real.

Elvis - Austin Butler3. Elvis 

Baz Luhrmann loves the glitzy and the garish. Who better to explore the life of one of the most iconic showmen of all time? Austin Butler is the hip-swiveling, lip-curling King of Rock and Roll in this truly sensational piece of cinema. The soundtrack is thumping, the visuals are incredible and the dramatic parts are only marginally cheesy. It’s perfect. Tom Hanks’ pantomime baddie routine does bring it down slightly, but Butler carries off a huge acting challenge, here, making Elvis seem so much more than a man on a stage or a face on a t-shirt. This was a real cinematic experience that leaves you equal parts entertained and emotional.

The Banshees of Inisherin2. The Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s quiet exploration of despair is no howling Banshee. Instead, it weaves together career-best performances with a stunning script. The chemistry between Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson is what drives this film. They are both lonely, in their own ways, seemingly trapped by island life. Their performances are subtle and gentle yet rich and layered. Barry Keoghan steals every scene he is in – seriously, Oscar nomination, when? – as the heartbreakingly endearing Dominic. This may feel like a film where nothing happens, but The Banshees will make you ponder all those “what if” moments in your life.

The Worst Person in the World1. The Worst Person in the World

Joachim Trier’s Oslo Trilogy ends with The Worst Person in the World, a bruising exploration of life in your late twenties. It’s a time period that is so crucial for both personal and professional life yet who could possibly have all the answers? Renate Reinsve gives a refreshingly authentic performance in the lead role – her confusion, her searching, her frustration are all palpable just beneath the surface. There are moments of quiet devastation and scenes of joyous abandon. But it’s the honesty that will really strike home with so many viewers. This feels like a film that is speaking directly to you, forcing you to confront your fears and dilemmas. It’s neither showy nor over the top, it’s just thoroughly relatable. You will be thinking about it – and asking yourself the same questions Julie asks of herself – for months and months after viewing. Stunning.

Mary Munoz
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