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.
Thriller 2019 98 mins Director: Maya Werneck Da-Rin
Justino, a 45-year-old Desana native, is a security guard at the Manaus harbor. As his daughter prepares to study medicine in Brasilia, Justino is taken over by a mysterious fever.
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).
Documentary 2020 90 mins Director: Maite Alberdi
Increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of his mother inside a nursing home, Romulo decides its time to take action and hires a mole to spy on her, in this heartwarming documentary.
Thriller 2019 111 mins Director: Gerard Johnson
A directionless call centre salesman gets more than he bargained for when he joins a local gym, in Gerard Johnson's stunning dissection of masculinity.
Thriller 2019 104 mins Director: Ladj Ly
Ladj Ly’s extraordinary Cannes Jury Prize-winning debut obliterates the myth of cultural integration in France.
Thriller 2019 104 mins Director: Brandon Cronenberg
In the near future, a cool and ruthless assassin who uses other people’s bodies to carry out execution-style killings comes unstuck when her latest vehicle resists.
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.
Documentary 2020 82 mins Director: Jerry Rothwell
Award-winning director Jerry Rothwell's compelling documentary is a rare cinematic and sensorial insight into the world of non-speaking autistic people.
Fantasy 2020 77 mins Director: Quentin Dupieux
When Jean-Gab and Manu find a giant fly trapped in the boot of a car, they decide to train it in the hope of making a ton of cash.
Horror 2020 84 mins Director: Prano Bailey-Bond
A video nasties film censor becomes absorbed in her work in Prano Bailey-Bond's brilliantly adventurous first feature.
Documentary 2021 87 mins Director: Mark Cousins
Mark Cousins’ personal meditation on the power of looking.
Drama 2021 119 mins Director: Anne Zohra Berrached
A captivating relationship, told from a woman’s perspective, in the lead up to an act that changed the world.
Drama 2020 91 mins Director: Alexandre Rockwell
Three children embark on a wild trek across Massachusetts, crossing paths with a variety of eccentrics, in this poetic drama from 90s indie hero Alexandre Rockwell (In The Soup).