It’s been an insane year for the cinema – and for all of us in general. Because of the obvious changes and sacrifices we have all had to make, the film and entertainment industry has already been pulling the strings for much of 2020.
While the theaters struggle to make ends meet and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is the last big blockbuster on the big screen, many big studios postpone their big projects until 2021 or (in the case of Disney and Warner Bros.) they take the bait and go straight to the streaming.
Suffice it to say that 2021 will be a busy year for the film industry, with a busy schedule and many films competing for supremacy.
But despite all this, 2020 is a damn good year for the cinema. So, without further ado, everyone here at TheReviewGeek counts down our 10 favorite 2020 movies!
10 – The devil all the time
The lessons we give our children play an important role in the way they grow up. In his book Robert Kiyosaki explains how wealth and prosperity start with your mentality; a bad mentality means a poor life and a rich mentality means a rich life.
These life lessons form the basis of Netflix’s titillating thriller, Devil All the Time. The thriller may be a bit long considering the 130 minutes, but the film has exciting and dramatic highlights.
This story is mainly about a small provincial town and especially about how a group of people deal with the harsh reality that life imposes on us.
In an impetuous cocktail of religion and violence, young Arvin Russell is the protagonist, who plays a key role in this story in the second part.
The first part takes us back in time to follow Arvin’s father, Willard Russell. He is a man haunted by the spirits of his past after a particularly difficult period during the war. After getting to know his faith, Willard finds a new life through Charlotte, a waitress with whom he eventually lives.
What follows are two separate stories that come together for a climax that contributes to a bloody, violent and thought-provoking ending.
Click here to read our review of the movie Devil’s All Time!
9 – The Invisible Man
A good horror movie seems a rarity these days. If the Invisible Man isn’t particularly frightening, it’s a claustrophobic, exciting and thrilling film that manages to bring the genre to life while bringing one of the best mainstream films to the cinema before they close.
With a good dose of show don’t tell, for the first 10 minutes we introduce Cecilia Cass, a woman trapped in a poisonous and abusive relationship with a man named Adrian. Cecilia, who controls everything in her life, from the clothes she wears to the words she utters, makes the daring decision to leave her isolated house in the middle of the night.
After this segment we skip two weeks and find a petrified Cecilia who lives in fear and struggles to regain her independence and trust. When she finds out that Adrian committed suicide in his absence, what should have been the beginning of a new life in a dream soon turns into a nightmare when Cecilia realizes that Adrian is now invisible and that he watches her every move.
Between the cinematographic creation, the cleverly written script that imposes itself very organically on the thin exhibits, and the truly intense atmosphere, Invisible Man is one of the biggest surprises of the year.
Click here to read our review of the movie Invisible Man!
8 – Borat 2
The fact that Borat’s entourage… Giving the American regime a dictated bribe to do good for the once glorious nation of Kazakhstan is not the strangest thing that could happen from 2020.
At first sight, Borat 2 seems a useless sequel. After all, this year was rather satirical. And yet Borat is not only a timely film, but also a really solid and well written sequel. Borat 2 skillfully combines a series of well-written sketches with a simple but effective father-daughter story.
For those who don’t know Borat or his satirical nephews and nieces on the big screen, this film is played as a lifelike sketch, interviewing many protagonists and various spectators and revealing their dark secrets.
Although it does not quite match the masterful rhythm of the original, it is a damn good sequel in itself and worth watching.
Click here to read our review of the movie Borat 2!
7 – Me and I
You and I are starting out weird and getting weirder and weirder. But at the same time, it’s very beautiful. The set shows a couple, Soo Hyuk and Yi Young, leaving Seoul for the countryside. Husband’s a teacher, wife stays home. They seem perfectly happy together.
But at night, the woman seems to channel the ghosts. They buy time, hide and run the business together until someone finds out.
Halfway through the film he goes from one strange circumstance to another. Police Detective Hyun Gu tries to find out what’s going on and somehow viewers will see this detective come to life through a complex and absolutely fascinating story. Keep your eyes open and you will see clues that are intertwined but not necessarily the same, resulting in one of the most polarizing films of the year.
Although beautifully filmed and full of details, if ambiguity bothers you, this film may not be your friend! However, it remains one of the best Asian films of 2020.
Click here to read our film review for me and mine!
6 – Access roads
Driveways is a beautiful independent movie. It’s one of those movies that’s not too different from the other Parts of Life dramas, but what it does, it does it incredibly well.
With deeply moving ideas, a trio of well-played characters, and a third act that hits like a hammer, Driveways is easily one of the best movies of the year.
The story revolves around Katie and her son Cody. When Katie’s sister dies, the two go to her house to clean up, but soon discover that she is a fundraiser. With a lot of work ahead of him, Cody forms an unlikely bond with the older man next door, Del.
The songs are a very simple but very effective drama. It is a film about our journey through life and how age knows no bounds. It is as much a commentary on how to accept one’s grief as it is on how to find meaning and expression in the noisy world around us.
Click here to read our drive-in movie review!
5 – 1917
1917 is one of those films that manages to feel both too familiar and refreshing and exciting. For years, war films were a staple of mainstream cinema, and the biggest hook of 1917 is that a single camera shot in 2 hours is both the best and the worst part of the film.
If you can set yourself up in style, it’s easy to get fully engaged in the show and enjoy the tense atmosphere that pervades every part of the image.
The story is the story of two British soldiers, Corporal Blake and Corporal Scofield, whose mission is to cross enemy territory to deliver a message to the front lines. Their situation is all the more desperate because the imminent attack will almost certainly lead them into a trap of the Germans.
Exciting, captivating and unlike all other war films, 1917 is certainly one of the most exciting films released this year.
Click here to read our report on the film of 1917!
4 – Still rare
Never Rare Sometimes Always is one of those movies that quietly bring you in and don’t let go until you’re addicted. An uncompromising view of the world of teenage pregnancy. This independent film is never boring, rarely boring, sometimes excellent and always honest.
The story revolves around autumn, 17 years old, who discovers she is pregnant and goes to a local clinic to find out what to do. Determined to have an abortion, she travels with her cousin Skyler from Pennsylvania to New York, hoping to find medical help.
The tone and feel are very methodical and slow and are in no hurry to do the right things. If you can endure the slow start, here’s a great film about the American health care system and the difficulties of teenage girls trapped in this difficult situation.
Click here to read our review of the movie Never Rare Sometimes Always!
3 – Sunday
The Sun is a simple (but rather long) story about a dysfunctional family that tries to heal the wounds of the past through a tragedy that brings everyone together. But if you dig a little deeper, this Asian film has many hidden layers in its aesthetics, themes and underlying message that make it a profound and surprising cinematographic gem.
Chieng Jung Ho (or A-Ho, as he is better known), a problem solver, is only sent to a juvenile prison after he has cut off a boy’s arm. This is the last straw for his father A-Wen, who refuses to acknowledge the existence of his son and puts all his efforts into the hands of his perfect brother A-Hao.
When tragedy strikes suddenly, a broken family tries to heal and overcome its painful differences.
Giving much more is bad for the story, but it’s worth persevering because the slow pace and the long distances make it difficult, especially during the first 45 minutes.
However, if you can stick your head out, the sun opens up in the best possible way and brings with it truly powerful messages of healing, forgiveness and inner peace that traverse much of the painting.
Click here to read our review of the movie in the sun!
2 – Portrait of a lady in flames
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a beautiful film. It’s a cleverly written and beautifully shot film that uses a very simple concept, highlights the three main actresses and is built around a premise that ingeniously changes the way you look at things at the end of the two-hour shoot.
The story takes place in the 18th century. For centuries on an uninhabited island. Artist Marianne arrives and gets a very simple assignment: painting a wedding portrait of Éloïse for her upcoming wedding. The trap? Eloise can’t know that and has to put everything out of his head.
It is a simple starting point, and one that you immediately want to look at the characteristics of this notorious lady, with particular attention to things you would not notice at first sight.
Without pampering herself, Portrait takes an unusual turn in the second act and what begins as a simple drama soon turns into a much more beautiful and gripping story about femininity, sisterhood and love.
1 – Chicago lawsuit 7
In its simplest form, The Chicago 7 Trial is a courtroom drama that depicts a lifelike trial that shocked America in the 1960s.
As with 12 Angry Men and When They See Us, if Chicago 7 works so well, it’s partly because of its relevance today. The peaceful protests that turn to violence reflect what we see in our world today; the unbalanced scenes in court strangely resemble the way these big companies get away with things in Scotland without worrying.
Everything is in the most up to date line of the entire film that the whole world is watching. And the whole world should be watching this movie. Not only is it politically suggestive, it is also incredibly well played and full of crackling dialogues.
There is a masterful tonal balance between the genres here, bouncing regularly between comedy, drama, tension and even action, making The Trial of Chicago 7 one of Aaron Sorkin’s best directing efforts yet. It’s just an incredible movie and definitely our best movie of the year.
So here it is, our top 10 movies of 2020! It was a turbulent year with ups and downs. 2021 is the year of the rise and fall of cinema. As our world changes and the big studios try to find ways to make money outside of film channels, 2021 could be one of the most important years in the history of cinema.
Nevertheless, the last twelve months of 2020 have brought us some great films. What do you think of our selection? Don’t you agree? Are there any conspicuous omissions? Tell us your favorites this year in the comments below!
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