Updated: Jan 27, 2022
The Power of the Dog (2021)
In the visually stunning, but unforgiving setting of a ranch in Montana, Jane Campion explores and even subverts notions of masculinity through the complex relationships that traverse the film's five chapters. The cast's depth - with Jo Jo Rabbit's Thomasin McKenzie, whose notable performances shot up in 2021, playing only a minor role - obfuscates the plot's central figures for much of the film, leaving open the film's many possible directions.
Where Campion fails to create believable characters in The Piano (1993), she succeeds in conveying motive and reason through The Power of the Dog's visceral exploration of power, sexuality, and duty.
Topping several lists for the best films of 2021, it was Benedict Cumberbatch's performance that stood out.
Queen & Slim (2019)
Queen & Slim tells the story of an unlikely duo forced to flee a crime they had no choice but to commit. What unfolds is a beautifully shot, arresting, and touching take on the racial landscape of America and the disparity between races and classes of trust in law enforcement.
The stellar performance from the two Brits shines a light on the criminalisation of Black people, as their Bonnie and Clyde-esque story inspires a counterculture movement.
This is a well-rounded film with brilliant performances from the two leads.