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  • Writer's pictureMartin Cheney

Top 10 Films of 2022

We were certainly spoilt with some excellent films last year, making this list particularly difficult to assemble. Only films with a theatrical or streaming release in Australia between January 1 and December 31, 2022 were eligible. I didn't write a full review for every film here, so there'll likely be some surprises ahead. Due to a hectic work schedule, I didn't get to view anywhere near as many as I would have liked, so don't be surprised if you see some heavy-hitters missing (e.g. I'm almost certain The Northman would be on this list if I'd seen it).

These are the films that enthralled, shocked, entertained and moved me. 2023 has big shoes to fill.

Honourable Mention: Everything Everywhere All At Once

10) Glass Onion

The second film in Rian Johnson's Benoit Blanc franchise, Glass Onion is a smart, cheeky and spectacularly tidy sleuth caper that takes everything that worked about Knives Out and magnifies the scale. Uniformly strong performances from the ensemble cast led by Daniel Craig (who's clearly having the time of his life) make it very difficult not to be swept along for the ride, and the razor-sharp screenplay is the cherry on top. Delightful.

9) This Much I Know To Be True

Andrew Dominik's part filmed concert, part documentary is a fascinating and moving insight into the mind of Nick Cave. Set amongst performances from 'Ghosteen' and 'Carnage' are a collection of poignant, personal interviews that serve to demystify the enigmatic Cave, even for those (like myself) who aren't familiar with his work. It's a hypnotising experience.

(Full FilmInk review here.)

8) The Wonder

This atmospheric mystery drama from director Sebastián Leilo is a character-driven slow burn with a nuanced central performance from Florence Pugh, who can do no wrong. Pugh plays a nurse summoned to observe the case of a young girl who seems to have been surviving for months without food.

7) Spencer

It might seem strange to see Spencer on this list, given that most of the world lost its mind over it in 2021, but it technically wasn't released in Australia theatrically until January 2022, so on it goes. Kristen Stewart's evocation of Princess Diana in Pablo Larraín's ethereal faux-biopic is a trip, and Jonny Greenwood's score is a magnificent partnership.

6) The Batman

It's not likely you'll see a superhero movie appear on a Top 10 list of mine in the future, so enjoy it while it lasts. As I said in my short Letterboxd log, if all superhero movies were like this one, I'd watch them.

(Full review here.)

5) Charm Circle

Nira Burstein's gentle and empathetic documentary about her family was one of my first assignments for FilmInk and my fondness for it took me by surprise. Maybe (hopefully?) not in the specific circumstances, but it's hard not to see aspects of your own family reflected in the lives of others.

(Full review here.)

4) Smile

When the trailer for Smile dropped, I was absolutely convinced it was going to be terrible. I certainly wasn't expecting a top-notch 'metaphorror' with decent scares, brilliant sound design and a stellar performance from Sosie Bacon. The title card lives in my head rent-free.

3) The Menu

The latest infiltration into my Top 10, Mark Mylod serves up (sorry) a scathing review of pretentious foodie culture, but with enough sense to make you laugh in between the shocks. Ralph Fiennes achieves the impossible, imbuing our preposterous antagonist with recognisable humanity. It never takes itself seriously, and neither should you.

(Full review here.)

2) RRR

I can't think of another film that has ever contained the most impressive action and dance sequences of the year. You'll struggle to remember the last time you had this much fun watching a movie (just go in with an empty bladder and a full bowl of snacks). Pro-tip: search out the Telugu version if you can.

1) The Black Phone

The Black Phone is as moving as it is gripping. Scott Derrickson's brilliant horror thriller is a masterclass in set-up, suspense and stakes, and is also the 2022 winner of the Best Jump Scare Award. Mason Thames (pictured) gives one of the best performances of the year in a harrowing tale that's as much a meditation on faith as it is a relentless ride.

(Full review here.)


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