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.
The Bourne Identity
Crime 2002 118 mins Director: Doug Liman
The spy thriller that overturned the genre stars Matt Damon as the amnesiac searching for his true identity.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Thriller 2007 115 mins Director: Paul Greengrass
Director Paul Greengrass returns for the third Bourne film, famed for its incredibly tense opening sequence in London Waterloo station.
The Bourne Supremacy
Crime 2004 108 mins Director: Paul Greengrass
Britain’s Paul Greengrass takes the helms for the spy sequel, shaping the series with his penchant for documentary-style realism.
Beauty and the Dogs
Drama 2017 100 mins Director: Kaouther Ben Hania
Kaouther Ben Hania’s bold and defiant fiction debut tells the story of a sexual assault in nine stunning single-take sequences.
A Simple Favour
Thriller 2018 117 mins Director: Paul Feig
Paul Feig's delicious postmodern noir, with Anna Kendrick as a blogger investigating the disappearance of her best friend (Blake Lively).
The Little Stranger
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).
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.
God's Own Country
Drama 2017 105 mins Director: Francis Lee
A troubled young sheep farmer falls for a hired hand in this stunning debut from Francis Lee.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
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.
The Death of Stalin
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.
The Florida Project
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
Kill the Day
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 2001 93 mins Director: Lynne Ramsay
Samantha Morton plays the enigmatic title character in Lynne Ramsay’s dreamy and atmospheric road movie.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
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.
My Death Is a Mockery
Crime 1952 69 mins Director: Tony Young
Hop aboard for a choppy Channel crossing with this bleak, bullet-spattered sea-smuggling crime drama.
Room at the Top
Drama 1958 117 mins Director: Jack Clayton
Jack Clayton directs this romantic, love-triangle drama featuring Simone Signoret in an Oscar-winning performance.
Mary Queen of Scots
Period drama 2018 124 mins Director: Josie Rourke
Saoirse Ronan is Mary Stuart, facing off against Margot Robbie's Elizabeth I in this striking, feminist take on 16th-century history.
Drama 2018 121 mins Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet give blistering performances as a father and son in this gripping story of a family dealing with addiction over many years.
Biopic 2017 112 mins Director: Wash Westmoreland
This witty, Belle Époque-era biopic stars Keira Knightley and Dominic West as literary couple Colette and Willy, whose relationship rewrote social and gender rules.
Documentary 2018 98 mins Director: Marcus Lindeen
Imagine Big Brother at sea, but with no evictions. Director Marcus Lindeen innovatively uncovers the human stories behind a 1970s social experiment, salaciously dubbed ‘The Sex Raft’.