Emma Clarendon selects some of her favourite films in 2022.
The Banshees of Inisherin: if I’m being honest I’m more familiar with Martin McDonagh’s work for theatre than with his film work – but oh my goodness what a gripping, darkly funny film this is. Featuring two stellar performances from Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson it is a fascinating look at what happens when a friendship goes horribly wrong. It is a quiet and understated film that explores the themes of male wounded pride and friendships that turn toxic in an engaging way thanks to McDonagh’s brooding script. If you haven’t seen it then I do highly recommend it!
Top Gun: Maverick: it is always hard to make a sequel when a film such as Top Gun was so popular with audiences originally. But here, everyone involved with Top Gun: Maverick has clearly worked hard to ensure this film not only stands up against the original but also able to stand out as a standalone film. Filled with all the action and drama that you would expect from any Tom Cruise film, it also manages to bring around the story full circle from the original, to add an element of nostalgia without taking away from the new plot.
The Batman: the one film that did take me by surprise in 2022 was this latest Batman film. Dark and brooding, this is a really thrilling take on the classic character’s adventures in Gotham City. Filled with detail and character depth, there is plenty to keep audiences on the edge of their seat – even if at times some scenes could have been tightened up. Robert Pattinson also makes for a compelling Bruce Wayne – giving the character plenty of angst and torment, he adapts to the character well.
Belfast: Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film is a beautifully shot, heartwarming and nostalgic film that works in its simplicity. Set against the backdrop of the troubles in Northern Ireland, it is more about the community and the people you find part of it as seen through the eyes of one family who eventually have to make a difficult choice about their future. Every aspect of the story has been framed perfectly and by filming it in black and white it takes on a whole new meaning.
Matilda the Musical: filled with fun and laughter, this big screen adaptation directed by Matthew Warchus is filled with energy and laughs to provide lots of fun for the whole family. With music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, the film has plenty of great big sequences to enjoy throughout that ensure the theatricality of the story from the stage adaptation is retained. We may also need to keep an eye out for Alisha Weir in the future as her performance as Matilda is perfectly pitched to capture the character’s loneliness as well as her intelligence and bravery.