Connecting nicely to Louise’s list, my five favorite movies of 2020 will fill out our combined top ten of this very odd year. This means that I won’t be including movies that are already on Louise’s list, for the sake of brevity – that said, before we begin, I would like to put forward some honorable mentions. Like Louise, I loved The Vast of Night, Birds of Prey (you know, that movie that’s better than Joker), and especially His House. Let’s get started!
Bong Joon-Ho’s Oscar winner is as good as everyone says it is. The South Korean filmmaker continues his career-long hot run of form with this parable about the symbiotic relationship of his home-countries work-force, economy, and class system. It’s also really, really funny, and about one of the finest ensemble casts brought together in recent memory. Plus, my little cat likes to re-enact scenes from it every chance she gets.
4. The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse might be the perfect expression of the past year of our lives. A year in which we have had much of our normality and luxury taken away. It’s certainly been this way in the Boyle-MacGregor-cat household, as the cat has assumed Willem Dafoe’s role and has broken our spirits so much that we even let her write an article for this here blog. In all seriousness, The Lighthouse proves that director Robert Eggers is a genuine talent, that Dafoe is still one of the best character actors we have, and that Batman is, in Robert Pattinson, in safe hands.
3. The Invisible Man
Leigh Wannell has done it again. With Upgrade, he gave us the objective ideal of a Venom movie that destroyed the actual Venom movie that was out in the the same year. Now, with his third directorial effort, The Invisible Man, he has rescued this intellectual property from the clutches of Universal’s failed Dark Universe to deliver a clever, tense, and deeply unnerving look at the effects of an abusive relationship. Anchored by a brilliant performance from Elisabeth Moss, The Invisible Man continues the proud tradition started by HG Wells himself: hat being able to turn invisible makes you a real prick.
Brandon Cronenberg is well and truly his own man with his sophmore feature. After skewering celebrity culture and obsession in his debut, Antiviral,, he has chucked the undercover cop story through the meat grinder that is his brain to come up with the deeply unsettling Possessor. It’s a frankly horrible, cerebral film, packed with upsetting images, gross body horror, and characters all along the spectrum of moral greyness. I loved every second of it.
Going criminally under the radar this year is the horror gem that is Relic. As I said in my review, I love stories that are packed with metaphor, and horror is the ideal genre for it. The personification, the possible monstrosity of losing your mind as you get older is perfectly balanced through the tale of three generations of women from the same family, and the film is merciless in the exploration of how the deterioration of the grandmother infects everything around her. It’s an elegant, moody film that needs you to step in to its peculiar, unsettling world – something that’s not hard to do when it happens to be this good.
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By Kevin Boyle
Header Image: Financial Times