It’s been a bit of a journey over the last few days, so thank you for sticking it out. Here, at long last, are my top twelve films of 2022, based on UK cinema and streaming releases, presented in musical form:
To give a more detailed account:
1. Benedetta. A lustrous, gorgeous and electrifying tale of belief, fanaticism, politics, passion, love and the tension between faith and duplicity.
2. She Said. A gripping, urgent, distressing journalism thriller of investigation, institutional abuse and the power of voices and silence.
3. Happening. A grounded, unflinching, unsentimental and at times harrowing drama of solitude, desperate ingenuity and finding your way through an unsympathetic world.
4. The Batman. An intense, grim, brooding, brutal, intimate, deliberate, street level vigilante/detective revenge journey through brooding atmosphere, intricate plotting and the politics of vengeance.
5. The Innocents. An unsettlingly intimate and by turns chilling, charming and horrifying blend of superpowered discovery, childish cruelty and a secret world.
6. Nightmare Alley. A sumptuous, suffusive and superb modern noir of immersive style, ravishing detail, deceit, deception and dark desire.
7. Everything Everywhere All At Once. An extraordinary, bonkers and brilliant bonanza of concepts, emotion, cinematic invention and finding the meaning of existence(s).
8. Speak No Evil. A deeply uncomfortable, ferociously tense and thoroughly terrifying psychological horror of manipulation, escalating aggressions and social appropriation.
9. The Banshees of Inisherin. A beautiful and touching, melancholic yet humorous, whimsical yet quietly profound dark tragicomedy of wisdom and dullness, niceness and resentment, mental health struggles and the tensions of small communities.
10. Turning Red. Big meets The Incredible Hulk meets Metamorphosis in a super smart, super cute, super fluffy and truly magical animated comedy adventure of growing pains, familial pressures and the power of friendship, fandom and song.
11. The Worst Person in the World. A whimsical yet scabrous, sentimental but honest, beautifully observed and meticulous portrait of the messiness, complexities and contradictions of career, relationships, family and other aspects of life.
12. Belfast. A sublime and immersive blend of charm, tragedy and reflective nostalgia that explores family, community and maturation, the need for movement yet the pull of home, lovingly rendered through gorgeous images, long takes, 360 pans and the wide yet tear-tinged eyes of a child.
Honourable mentions go to:
A ferocious, intense and brutal revenge tragedy of stark visuals, iron resolve and the blurred boundaries of myth and destiny.
A sweet and charming yet spiky and astringent romantic comedy drama of hustling, coming of age and resisted desire.
A sweeping, gorgeous and thrilling, progressive and challenging but never preachy and thoroughly accessible epic of duty and defiance, war and alliance, family and community.
A moving, haunting and sublime visual poem of the beauty of nature, the power of the image and the wonder of wildlife.
A stunning and terrifying found footage What If? political warning of hubris and the perils of technology, infused with musical creativity and critical nostalgia.
A nerve-shredding and intensely vertiginous survival tale of ingenuity, friendship and the combined uses of humanity and technology.
An exquisitely composed, deeply uncomfortable and severely fucked up Welsh folk horror of shifting directions of consumption.
Black Swan meets Turning Red in a gripping and gruesome tale of monstrosity, maternity and maturation.
A compelling, terrifying and brilliantly ambiguous portrayal of body horror, psychological fear, occult suggestion and the terror of motherhood and isolation.
A joyous, exhilarating and witty action adventure of regret, camaraderie, redemptive nostalgia and aerial thrills.
A thrilling and visceral coming of age sci-vival horror that brilliantly balances homage and innovation.
An extraordinary amalgam of referentiality and innovation in a meta sci-fi western horror that captures the terror of open and enclosed spaces and the power of the gaze.
Psycho meets Creep with a dash of The Descent in a compellingly creepy and gleefully gruesome blend of body horror, identity politics and the rot of traditional America.
With so much excellent content, and after a genuinely difficult time deciding on my top twelve and indeed their order, I can honestly say that 2022 was a fantastic year for movies. 2023 is promising some heavy hitters, but it has a tough act to follow.