Alex’s Best Films of 2022
The new Avatar film, Avatar: The Way of Water was the last big blockbuster realization of 2022. A fitting end to the year because it shares similar parallels to its predecessor Avatar 1 when it was released. The whole world was in a recession and our pockets were being tightened by austerity. There were rising tensions in the Middle East that would eventually lead to a raft of revolutions destabilizing those said countries, I have your favourite film of the year? I hear you ask. Or, is Avatar 2: The Way of the Water your favourite film of the year? *Sarcastic laugh* no, haven’t seen it. No, in the decade or so between the two film releases I realize nothing has changed and what is the point? My love of massive blockbusters or Marvel films is at an all-time low. They will just keep making them, whether I like it or not so what is the point? I’ve forgotten what happened in the last film anyway, and they’ll make a billion dollars at the box office without me just fine. I’ll just watch them all when I turn 60 and just truly zone out from the world.
This isn’t to say that I’ve lost all hope for the silver screen. There were some still amazing, ground-breaking films released this year. Here are a few that struck a chord with me.
Now, I know what you’re probably saying, “you’re such a hypocrite, Alex. How could you go on a rant about how the blockbuster today is stale and monotonous but put Elvis on this list? Well, you’re right and I don’t care. I liked the opening, okay! Sue me. This whole explanation could make for a great Elvis song… conceivably they’ll use it in the sequel. Anyway, Baz Lemon’s Elvis, is exactly what you expect from him – over the top, glitz and glamour, pretentious editing cuts, and dramatic montages with at least 2 minutes worth of slow motion of Elvis either kissing girls whilst sweating profusely or crying/drinking in his hotel prison in Las Vegas, over classic Elvis songs, which is a perfect fit for Baz’s style. It’s his best film since Moulin Rouge.
I know, I know… another big blockbuster on the list, such hypocrisy, how can I trust anything this guy is saying, put any value into this list at all. This defence is a little more solid than the last. The Northman bombed at the box office so hard. No one saw it. This is a real shame because Robert Eggers is one of this generation’s true alters – his last two films, The Lighthouse and The Witch, both of which (haha, get it,) was almost overbearing atmospheric to the point where it was quite oppressive, instilling a sense of dread that something terrible is around the corner, and of course, a terrible event inevitably happened. The Northman is a slight departure from this formula. It still maintains its oppressive dream-like setting, multiple dream sequences are littered throughout, but the battle scenes are the most evidence of this. Blistering snowstorms atop mountaineers’ train, thousands of Men screaming, running full pelt to their demise, with a booming soundtrack that evolves all your senses, pulling you into the depths of the fight. What is different though is the protagonist. In Eggers’s previous works, they’re portrayed as being small, scared, and repressed by the environment around them. In Northman, the main character, Almeth, a Viking Prince warrior, is the polar opposite. The world Almeth inhabits gets increasingly smaller as his legend and thirst for revenge on the family that betrayed him gets ever closer. You know about the third way into the film how the story is going to pan out, but the journey and spectacle are truly a sight to behold.
The Triangle of Sadness
The Triangle of Sadness is explained early in the film. The place between your eyebrows is just above your nose. Carl, the main character, got this explained to them in a demeaning, sarcastic tone at a model audition by the assessor. This is the first glimpse of the satirical juggernaut that this film is. Endlessly poking fun at the Gen Z generation, as well as the juxtaposition between the hierarchy of the workplace and the rich. As the film slowly progresses the character’s roles change and their true nature is revealed. A special mention also goes to the cruise ship from hell. The funniest 20 minutes you could see in 2022.
The Banshees of Inisherin
The Banshees of Inisherin reunited the ultimate Irish dream team, Colin Farrell and Donald Gleeson. However, the “bromance” wasn’t quite as rosey as it was in 2008’s In Bruges. The juxtaposition of the youthful ninety of Colin’s character and the begrudgingly impatient father figure of Donald Gleeson s character has been replaced by an overwhelming sense of existential dread – again, a common theme that’s risen time and again in this list. Says a lot about me, doesn’t it? – particularly in Colm, Gleason’s character, who feels his mortality creeping up on him and needs to focus on himself, leaves a mark on this world. So he leaves his friend, Paldric, Ferrel’s character out in the cold, for no apparent reason, going so far as threatening to cut off his fingers one by one and gifting them to Paldric one by one if he keeps talking to him. As you can probably tell The Banshees of Inisherin is even bleaker, that’s not to say though it still doesn’t retain the humour with grown accustomed to, it’s still here. Paldric’s sweet relationship with his pony Rose, always wanting her in the house, much to the ire of Paldric’s sister. It has been well worth the 14-year wait for these two to return together and it’s well worth the wait.