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The Best Films of 2020

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Cinema aficionados have had plenty of reason to rejoice over the past year, with some truly excellent films coming out in 2020. Now, with Oscars season almost upon us, it’s a good time to cast an eye back over the last 12 months and select the best and brightest films from 2020. Which ones have you seen?

Uncut Gems

The Safdie brothers served up one of the surprise packages of the year with Uncut Gems, a tightly coiled thriller starring Adam Sandler in a role that wasn’t ridiculous for once. Sandler shone as Howard Ratner, a harried jeweller battling against mounting debt levels, while the relentless pace and non-stop adrenaline of the movie as it charted his fortunes called to mind the excitement of playing slots at a casino online. Not to be missed.

Bacurau

This intoxicating thriller from Brazil focuses on the fictional settlement of Bacurau. Returning for the funeral of her grandmother after many years away, Teresa finds a pervading sense of dread has settled on her hometown. Not only has the village disappeared from all maps, but bandits roam the neighboring countryside and a siege mentality sets in among the locals. Political, unpredictable and highly engaging, Bacurau is a treat from start to finish.

Waves

There are some films which just blow you away at first viewing. Waves, released last January, is one such effort. The “epic and emotionally devastating” rollercoaster follows teenage sports prodigy Tyler as he tries to navigate a potentially career threatening injury and a tempestuous relationship with his girlfriend. Shot in lurid colors and soaked in an atmospheric soundtrack, the film takes directions you’ll never see coming and puts its audience through the emotional wringer before even half of its runtime has elapsed.

The Vast of Night

This smart-talking sci-fi flick takes a novel approach to the standard alien invasion premise. Set in the 1950s, the film follows a group of high school students who experience interference while hosting their late-night radio show and uncover something quite remarkable in trying to figure out what has gone wrong. With several beautiful long-take shots and the snappiest dialogue this side of a Guy Ritchie film, The Vast of Night marked out debut director Andrew Patterson as one to watch for the future.

Mangrove

The first of Steve McQueen’s five-part Small Axe series of films for BBC, Mangrove is a historical drama focusing on the real-life restaurant of the same name which became a focal point for the civil rights movement in 1970s London. Sensitively and powerfully written, the film not only charts the fortunes of the restaurant, its owners and its clientele, but also the increasingly volatile race relations of the time.

Parasite

No list of the best films of 2020 would be complete without mention of the one which made history at last year’s Oscars. Parasite, directed by South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho, became the first non-English language movie to win Best Picture, with the film also claiming Best Director and Best Screenplay. The story follows a family of impoverished grifters as they attempt to squat in the property of a wealthy employer – and what happens when things don’t quite go according to plan.

 

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