5. Support the Girls – Andrew Bujalski
For his deftest film to date. His salty handling of the characters and his detailed sense of editing/pacing has never been more impactful.
4. Widows – Steve McQueen
For, in accepting his pulpy instincts, making his best film to date. Although he’s utilizing all the familiar elements, it is no surprise that McQueen’s interpretation of a twisty (however ludicrous) heist film would be this acidic.
3. Life and Nothing More – Antonio Méndez Esparza
For managing every beat with astonishing calmness. The working class American and particularly Black American lives, expressions, collisions, and contexts as seen by both insiders and outsiders to such communities are in perfect sync.
2. First Reformed – Paul Schrader
As soulful a compendium of Schrader’s oeuvre, sensibilities and influences (chiefly Bergman and Bresson here, but also Dreyer, Tarkovsky, Chekhov and his own collaborations with Scorsese) as one would both hope for and expect. His usual lack of ostentatiousness, affected though it is, crystallises into something politically and philosophically shattering.
1. If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins
For his humanity, intertwining the love of cinema with the love of lovers with riveting specificity. His heartrending compositions (a mix of Almodovar, Wong Kar-Wai and Jonathan Demme) are in lyrical-mode, beckoning you to look closer.
Runner Up: Cold War – Pawel Pawlikowski
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