During the LFF 2022 there were several films that we saw and, without even a complete review, we summarize how they impacted us. From tragicomedies to films that portray a real-life event, such as the beginning of the #MeToo movement, and still with room for the return of Jennifer Lawrence or the joining of Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy in a single project.
The Banshees of Inisherin is a tragicomedy in the style of Martin McDonagh: truly hilarious and deceptively inconsequential until it ceases to be. Despite the expected tonal change, the narrative follows an even darker path than expected, and the turning point is capable of leaving some viewers “lost” for a while. Still, the filmmaker delivers a brutal and shocking story about friendship and the importance of taking time for ourselves. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are absolutely brilliant, just like Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan. One of the most dazzling works of the year – beautifully shot by Ben Davis – in addition to being accompanied by a soundtrack that is both beautiful and haunting (Carter Burwell).
Decision to Leave is far from the best of Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy” and “The Handmaid”), but it is nonetheless an intriguing and complex story about obsession and “forbidden love”. It captures the viewer’s full attention during the first engaging part, where the main theme and the respective novel appear to be in sync. However, the momentum is lost with the repetitive and too long second half in which the same narrative points are approached without the same impact. Surprising humor provides a good balance, but strangely it ceases to be used after a certain point.
causeway has detailed and subtle features by Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry – excellent chemistry – who truly carry the film on their shoulders. Lila Neugebauer it doesn’t bring anything new to the military sub-genre of “veteran returns home”, but it knows how to give the spotlight to the actors, making the best possible decisions for them to shine. Formulaic and predictable, but interesting enough for fans of these types of stories.
She is Love possesses, no doubt, a remarkably unique style, but one that fails to emotionally grip the audience. Haley Bennett and Sam Riley share wonderful chemistry, Marisa Abela brings some fun to the film and the cast’s improvisational quality is admirable. However, the extreme close-ups, camera shake, abrupt cuts, and chaotic montage make viewing frustrating. Whenever a scene is able to break through the screen barrier and reach the hearts of everyone watching, a creative/technical decision comes to remove all associated emotion. Definitely out of the “taste” of the general public.
The Menu is one of the biggest personal disappointments of the year. It features performances inspired by the entire cast – highlight for Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Hoult – and some clever satirical moments, but pretty much nothing else works. Humor is completely off the mark – sequences à la Masterchef Australia get away with it. Argument follows surprisingly generic paths, being partially a mystery without any minimally impactful shock. Characters lack depth and the anti-elite message is too obvious and unimportant. It should get an overall positive reception.
She Said proves that a formulaic and even too long work can perfectly be incredibly captivating and emotionally powerful. The shockingly true story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse is approached with honest care, dedication and respect for victims. Everything is elevated by absolutely brilliant performances from the cast, especially Zoe Kazan. Even without major innovations, Maria Schrader keeps the narrative interesting with the help of the soundtrack by Nicholas Britell. It deserves to be seen by everyone.
All in all, the London Film Festival 2022 offered a series of films that could win over all types of audiences. Many will be able to arrive in Portugal only in 2023, but they are premieres to anticipate and keep an eye on.