Best Movies 2020

Eye Candy

2020 was a devastating year for the worldwide cinema landscape for obvious reasons. As a result movies got delayed indefinitely, festivals had to go online, cinemas had to file for bankruptcy and a few biggies suddenly saw their premiere happening via streaming services. Still we somehow managed to see a lot of decent ones that kept our enthusiasm intact. Here are the ones we raved the most about this year.

POSSESSOR by Brandon Cronenberg
It’s far from being a flawless film, but Cronenberg’s follow-up to the underrated “Antiviral“ still is one of the most disquieting, fascinating and nihilistic movie experiences 2020 was offering as it draws a blood-red picture of a dystopian future where life is measured in economic value only.

The film’s premise - a demonic presence haunting an estranged family in rural Texas - isn’t necessarily the most impressive one, but under the direction of genre-aficionado Bertino “The Dark And The Wicked“ gets modified into this year’s premium fright fest.

WAVES by Trey Edward Shults
Yes, this is borderline grief-porn. Yes, the film occasionally feels like a showcase of Shults’ impressive stylistic spectrum as a director. Yes, the soundtrack is a bit too much on the nose. But, yes, having mentioned all that, “Waves“ probably still is the most complete and overall remarkable movie I’ve seen all year. Remember what “Magnolia“ did for Paul Thomas Anderson’s career? Guess “Waves“ will evoke a very similar thing for Shults.

Kaufman’s adaptation of Ian Reid’s acclaimed novel might follow the same rhythm and logic of a very unpleasant dream, but underneath its slightly surreal surface lies a heartbreakingly sad story about delusions of grandeur and the (in)ability to really connect to other people the way you hoped to.

Renowned non-fiction filmmaker France completed his trilogy on activism with his latest documentary, and it’s an urgent and harrowing reminder - if you ever needed one - of the horrors and traumas a totalitarian regime is able to inflict on any kind of random minority once it has decided to ignore human rights for good.

THE DEATH OF DICK LONG by Daniel Scheinert
Not too surprisingly, the follow-up to Scheinert’s “Swiss Army Man“ (which he co-wrote and co-directed) is an equally weird affair, a kinda backwoods equivalent to “Fargo“, if you will. It’s a pretty fucked-up comedy of errors, it’s deranged and darkly funny - but it actually shows a lot of empathy for its protagonists as well.

SWALLOW by Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Hunter, a Stepford Wife in the making with a troubled past, dull present and a highly uncertain future, starts to swallow tiny accessories as she struggles to become one herself in an unhappy marriage. Haley Bennett delivers a career-best performance in this impressive debut by director Mirabella-Davis that flawlessly turns an arthouse chamber play into a much bigger MeToo-parable.

PALM SPRINGS by Max Barbakow
Admittedly, a Groundhog Day-like romantic comedy about two seemingly unconnected wedding guests that fall in love with each other against all odds shouldn’t be an obvious pic for any kind of top ten. “Palm Springs“ though is offering just the right amount of carefree, sometimes even anarchic, fun you need to cope with your Groundhog Day-like lockdown routine.

THE OTHER LAMB by Malgorzata Szumowska
Celebrated Polish director Szumowska delivered one of the most visually striking movies of the year with her English-speaking debut that observes the rise and descent of a nameless rural cult through the eyes of young Selah (played by future A-lister Raffey Cassidy) as she begins to struggle with a role she never chose to inherit.

HORSE GIRL by Jeff Baena
Maybe I was in a whimsical kinda mood when I watched it, but I’m actually surprised that not too many people seemed to like Baena’s ambiguous drama about a young, highly insecure woman (Alison Brie) that falls towards full-blown delusion at rapid speed as much as I did.