2018 saw a plethora of great content hitting screens, and while a lot of the big releases were rightly given the spotlight, there were many great films and documentaries that didn’t get the attention they deserved.
We take a look at 10 works (7 films and 3 documentaries) that we think should have been more widely recognised in 2018, from international cinema to emotional short docos on Netflix. Note that the following titles received Australian release or Netflix release in 2018, even if some international releases were distributed at other times overseas.
Be sure to check out our list of Ten of the Best Movies of 2018 right HERE.
A heartbreaking and joyous, emotional journey that encapsulates the essence of childhood more profoundly than I can recall seeing before. It is superbly acted and beautifully earnest, and features one of the most fulfilling end scenes I have seen in many years.
See You Up There
With stylish visuals and almost fantasy aesthetic, See You Up There juggles the serious and the whimsical with great success. While it might have an offbeat sensibility, See You Up There’s themes are universal and it emerges as a lyrical, funny and inventive movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen.
Menashe is a sweet-natured film that affords an opportunity for its audience to peek into a world that they perhaps wouldn’t do so ordinarily. It doesn’t offer up any easy answers and its grey morals make it all the more humanistic. Regardless of our background or our religion, we are all the same, trying to make the world right for ourselves and, hopefully, for each other.
A Prayer Before Dawn
While A Prayer Before Dawn is full of intense material, director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire doesn’t feel the need to overdramatise, and lets the film’s brutal setting speak for itself. While its narrative shortcomings may stop it from sticking with you for years to come, A Prayer Before Dawn’s ability to instill in you the isolation and fear of its protagonist makes for a fascinating experience.
Ultimately it’s that sense of humanity that gives Journey’s End all its power. There are plenty of stories about the futility of war, and more often than not when a movie is about a hopeless situation it can be difficult to justify your investment. But what makes Journey’s End special is the knowledge that it’s not what they were doing when they died we should remember, it’s the people themselves.
The Cleaners is a compelling, engaging and thrilling experience. At times confronting and always fascinating, it flows over with information, giving the viewer a lot to mentally unpack. It gives us food for thought and something to consider next time one of our lame attempts to push the envelope on social media is intercepted.
American Animals is an undeniably well-crafted picture, balancing heist film and documentary to highly entertaining results.
McKellen: Playing the Part
The audience is given a ringside seat to 90 minutes of unfiltered Ian McKellen, distilled from 14 hours of interviews. And straight off the bat, it needs to be mentioned what an absolute joy it is to be in his company. Heartwarming and enlightening.
Hold the Dark
Hold the Dark is a terrific, methodical thriller that further cements Jeremy Saulnier’s position as one of the most exciting directors currently at work. It is dense with warped, alarming character motivation and plot deviations you won’t see coming. The deliberately slow pace leaves you unprepared for the outbreaks of violence and while Hold the Dark might not be Saulnier’s most straightforward movie, it’s still a great one.
We’re all just human, so turn to your left and realise that the person next to you has more in common with you then you realise. A touching portrait of people’s final days, End Game will likely not be your first choice when you turn on Netflix, but it is well worth pursuing.