Hidden Gems of 2022

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Published January 25, 2023
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The Montclarion
It may be 2023, but before we forgive and forget 2022, let's not leave behind these underrated 2022 films.

In a modern landscape filled with cinematic universes and blockbusters, smaller, lower-budget movies can slip through the cracks. So, before we forget 2022, I’m sharing the movies of 2022 that deserve to be seen more.

1. “Resurrection” (Rated: R, Runtime: 103 Minutes)

Andrew Semans’ first feature in 10 years is an extremely captivating horror/thriller/drama mashup, revolving around Rebecca Hall as a successful single mother who finds her past being brought up in extremely mysterious and creepy ways. It is incredibly well-acted by Hall, who delivers an extraordinary five-minute monologue in the film.

“Resurrection” is weird and bizarre, but it is also engrossing, well-shot and is overall a very well-made movie that has not been seen enough.

2. “Emily the Criminal” (Rated: R, Runtime: 97 Minutes)

John Patton Ford’s directorial debut is about a young woman (Aubrey Plaza) saddled with student debt who decides to join a criminal underworld of credit card scamming in Los Angeles. Plaza is fantastic in the lead role, and the way the character grows and changes as she goes deeper into the criminal underworld is spectacular to watch. It’s all made possible through fantastic writing and acting, from Plaza in particular. The movie has a wonderful non-stop pace that keeps going and won’t let go. It is the perfect definition of a “gritty” thriller with some of the best use of tension I’ve seen in a movie all year.

3. “Lost Bullet 2: Back for More” (Rated: TV-MA, Runtime: 98 Minutes)

A sequel to one of my favorite recent action movies, “Lost Bullet.” This one starts right off from the end of the first movie and continues with a quick pace that is fascinating and exciting to watch, with not an ounce of filler or unnecessary scenes throughout the entire film. It’s a big improvement on the original, and the car chase sequences in this film are among the best I’ve ever seen; the main character drives a car with electrically charged spikes in front of it, which is all I will reveal.

4. “The Eternal Daughter” (Rated: PG-13, Runtime: 96 Minutes)

“The Eternal Daughter” is a very simple and straightforward movie about a filmmaker (Tilda Swinton) who goes back to the hotel where her mother used to live. Swinton plays both roles as the filmmaker and the filmmaker’s mother, and she does a fantastic job. The way she differentiates the two different characters is so well done, with beautiful but subtle differences in mannerisms and the way both characters carry themselves. It is quite heartbreaking to watch, and it is very slow, so don’t go in expecting an easy time.

5. “God’s Country” (Rated: R, Runtime: 102 Minutes)

A college professor (Thandiwe Newton) in the open terrain of the west goes head to head with two violent hunters who keep trespassing on her property. Newton is spectacular in the lead role, and the way she brings the character’s quiet but heartbroken nature is wonderfully done. It is director Julian Higgins’ directorial debut after directing a single episode of the show “House,” and he brings a wonderful, formal sense of style here that is so subtle and beautiful that I can’t help but think this guy has a great career ahead of him.

6. “God’s Creatures” (Rated: R, Runtime: 100 Minutes)

A mother (Emily Watson) in a small fishing village finds herself entangled in a crime her son (Paul Mescal) has committed. Watson and Mescal are both fantastic, and the way they present the mother-son relationship is so genuine and believable. There is love there, but with that love comes a constant sense of disappointment that helps tear the relationship apart. The subtle work of the camera movement even in simple dialogue scenes is great to watch, and the way the performances inform each scene is wonderful to watch as well.

7. “Armageddon Time” (Rated: R, Runtime: 114 Minutes)

A young boy (Banks Repeta) makes friends with a young African-American boy (Jaylin Webb) and finds himself witnessing the deep, constant systemic and societal racism he has to constantly face. It is a story about never-ending prejudice, but director James Gray manages to find hope and beauty even in the darkest of places. It is subtle with its approach and never feels phony or like Oscar bait. It is just simple, great filmmaking that easily could have been made in the 1970s. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen all year.

These seven movies are not only worthy of your time, but they are very important. They are not made by gigantic billion-dollar studios; these are the underdogs in the cinematic landscape. And they bring in poignant themes, genuine performances and unforgettable sequences that make them deserving of being watched.

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