THE WRETCHED – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Make no mistake, The Wretched is a strikingly polished feature debut that’s a thoroughly fun way to kill an hour and a half. A film that succeeds in its exploration of child abuse but is less accomplished in its broader gender politics, The Wretched is clearly driven by a spirit of nostalgia for older horror adventure films, it’s just a shame it let some pretty outdated clichés come along for the ride.

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THE PLATFORM – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Outside a time of crisis, The Platform is a brilliant film that defines the wholly unique ability of science fiction to allegorize the human condition. But in the face of a devastating pandemic which already has caused incomprehensible levels of social, financial and political chaos around the world, The Platform is suddenly so much more than this. A powerful parable about community, responsibility and survival, The Platform is exactly the film we need right now.

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THE ROADS NOT TAKEN – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Sally Potter’s lesser efforts – of which The Roads Not Taken is sadly one – are still undeniably superior to the vast bulk of movies being made today. This film is direct evidence that even Potter’s slight misfires are something most other filmmakers could only ever dream of aspiring to.

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THE WHISTLERS – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

There’s something playful and very exciting in the way that Corneliu Porumboiu experiments with language in The Whistlers, a heist thriller enhanced by the clever but never smug exploration of the power of language. The film exemplifies how the genius of the Romanian New Wave continues to take new and exciting forms.

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BLOOD ON HER NAME – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

While focusing on a killer’s guilt is nothing new, the particular way that Blood On Her Name brings this emotion and the satellite of interrelated other feelings to life is impressively refreshing. Something about this film at its very core demands that we acknowledge the elephant in the room: yes, murder is a great plot device, but just imagine how bad it feels.

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I AM FEAR – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Through its unapologetic visceral thrills, I Am Fear invites us to experience recent history “through the gut” in what is effectively a supernatural horror film combined with the political thriller subgenre of the terrorism movie. The film seeks to use genre as a tool to answer a very simple question, but one almost overwhelming in its scale: why is the world such a terrible place? It sure as hell gets points for trying to say something meaningful about the world at a time when so many others are pretending it’s business as usual.

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THE LONG WALK – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

While a fascination with guilt, regret, memory and the bonds of memory (all seen through an unapologetically feminist lens) permeates her work, it is in The Long Walk that Mattie Do reveals the depths of her talent, the extent of her humanity and the potential to even further consolidate her status as one of the most important Asian filmmakers working today.

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SEA FEVER – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

It is to the briny depths that Irish filmmaker Neasa Hardiman turns for her feature debut, Sea Fever. A stalwart and highly experienced television director, as both writer and director Hardiman demonstrates a steady hand as she captains the film throughout what in generic terms is thrilling yet rather pedestrian ocean-monster science fiction territory.

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THE OTHER LAMB – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

There is a palpable anger at patriarchal institutions that bleeds from Catherine S. McMullen’s pen as much as it does through Szumowska’s camera as they unpack the precise mechanics of dominance and submission, and how such abuses can become naturalized and institutionalized until stepping back and asking ‘why?’ becomes a radical act in its own right.

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SWALLOW – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The risk of spoilers with Swallow is high, so to avoid this suffice it to say that the journey taken by Hunter (Haley Bennett) through her eating disorder takes her exactly to where her story should logically go. Swallow is a film as much about striving for creative freedom as it does a woman desperately clawing her way towards a sense of autonomy, one mouthful at a time. Brave, challenging and desperately needed right now, Swallow is a perfect film about facing our imperfections.

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