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.
Drama 2020 109 mins Director: Leah Purcell
Leah Purcell writes, directs and stars in this gripping story about a fiercely protective mother struggling to survive in the harsh Australian outback.
Horror 2017 71 mins
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.
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 2000 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.
Documentary 2017 79 mins Director: Paul Wright
A folk horror wrapped up in an archive film, set to a soundtrack by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp).
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2000 84 mins Director: Peter Lord
Mel Gibson’s Rocky the rooster helps the chickens escape from fascistic farmers in Aardman Animations first foray into feature films.
Drama 2021 72 mins Director: Laura Wandel
The harsh world of playground politics is seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl in a gripping debut from Belgian writer-director Laura Wandel.
Drama 2021 95 mins Director: Alex Camilleri
Writer-director Alex Camilleri’s powerful neorealist drama is a rare home-grown Maltese production.
Anthology 2022 144 mins Director: Oliver Mason
The latest in Peccadillo’s critically acclaimed series features a fresh and exciting selection of the very best contemporary gay short films.
Drama 2021 109 mins Director: Jacqueline Lentzou
A highly anticipated debut feature from Jacqueline Lentzou about the glacial relationship between a father and his daughter.