While many moviegoers are enjoying the main slate of big blockbusters to be released throughout the year, film fans are being fed with independent films that at times surpass the big films coming out this year. Films like The Green Knight, Zola, and Minari have received critical and audience praise. The singular reason that these films have anything in common is the highly recommended studio, A24. The studio is in charge of placing small-time filmmakers on the road to success and allowing auteur filmmakers to spread their wings creatively. Sure, their very expensive online store is questionable and at times unnecessary, however, they do put out quality titles year after year, and here are some of the best they have put out.
5. The Lighthouse
One filmmaker that has caught the eyes of many is horror creative, Robert Eggers. He is only two films deep and has mastered the authentic realism of the time period he has displayed on-screen through the dialogue and set pieces while creating something uniquely terrifying underneath the film’s surface. In his latest film, The Lighthouse, Eggers creates something terrifying, the fear of the unknown and the tension between souls. The film is elevated by two career-defying performances by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe who capture Egger’s twisted screenplay perfectly. The Lighthouse has a charm to it that cannot be matched, as the film progresses the crazier it gets and the stakes and tension become more heightened. Where can you find Willem Dafoe farting and drinking than in Robert Eggers The Lighthouse.
4. Eighth Grade
From comedian Bo Burnham comes a startlingly realistic portrayal of maturing in the digital age and the fear of letting go of your childhood. Eighth Grade will become the next Superbad; it is funny, unflinchingly honest, and personal towards Burnham. Elsie Fisher shines as Kayla, showing her highs and lows as she struggles to meet new people and experience new things. Burnham’s direction is unlike anything seen in the past decade making something everyone can relate to. Bo Burnham has a bright future when it comes to directorial work.
3. A Ghost Story
Beautiful, melancholic, emotional, and moving; these are just a few words that describe David Lowery’s breathtaking film A Ghost Story. A film about grief and what it’s like for the love of your life to move on so quickly and how you’re soul could impact a person’s life more than they realize. The film is shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio to show its closeness to the characters and how each memory seems like a picture taken. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are captivating and play two lost souls and how they will do anything to see them again. If you’re looking for a good cry, please check out David Lowery’s A Ghost Story.
2. Uncut Gems
Probably the best up-and-coming filmmakers come from brothers Josh and Benny Safdie who continue to capture the anxiety-fueled paranoia that is real life. They were in charge of causing a resurgence for Robert Pattinson’s career in 2017 with Good Time and did it again with Adam Sandler with Uncut Gems. The direction here is as chaotic as Sandler’s performance, while also being emotionally exhausting by the end of its two hours. The sound editing also adds a level of anxious ability that only the Safdie’s can accomplish. If there is one movie people need to see this decade, it’s Uncut Gems.
1. Spring Breakers
What do you get when you combine former Disney Channel stars, James Franco and wild auteur filmmaker Harmony Korine. You get a dream-like and interesting perspective on the youth culture that also turns out to be one of the best pieces of fiction to come out of this century. Gone goes the hazy backdrops of Korine’s earlier films in which he goes for the unsettling and brutally honest here. The film is simply about an escape from these girl’s reality, blurring the lines between the dream world and reality. When these girls ultimately accept their fate they realize their dream is nothing short of a messy reality. It’s loud, bombastic, and visually stunning, and the perfect representation of teen culture seen in any sort of media. Spring Breakers is a triumph!