5 Movies That Went Under the Radar in 2022
Updated: Sep 15, 2022
We are slowly approaching Oscar season and I thought it was the perfect time to talk about 5 overlooked movies that I loved from 2022. Before they get buried under the spotlights, this is a reminder that we had some pretty terrific genre movies coming out this year. I can’t watch every movie coming out but I’ve seen at least 70 new films released in 2022 and I wanted to talk about the 5 films below.
This year was also a very much welcomed return to form for cinema in general… Tom Cruise saved theatres with Top Gun: Maverick and it was the biggest year at the box-office since 2019. That being said, surprisingly, some of my favourite films of the year came out of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max. Let’s get into 5 movies that went under the radar in 2022.
I have a soft spot for this one because it was released right in the middle of a snowstorm where I live in Canada, on February 25th. I was browsing for something new to watch and stumble on this new Hulu release, No Exit. It’s a solid flick with a great dose of suspense and it takes place during a snowstorm, so I immediately felt connected to the setup. It actually kept my interest because of how genuinely well-made it was.
Synopsis: "During a blizzard and stranded at an isolated highway rest stop in the mountains, a college student (Havana Rose Liu) discovers a kidnapped child hidden in a car belonging to one of the people inside."
No Exit is a tightly constructed & intelligent atmospheric thriller à huis clos, anchored by a standout newcomer Havana Rose Liu. This is one of her first films and I was stunned by her performance. The director Damien Power honestly nailed the winter atmosphere and the sense of isolation, being trapped somewhere you don't want to be with a bunch of strangers you can’t trust. The temperature and the weather are a character in the movie and they take good advantage of that. The movie also has an old-school 90's thriller vibe going for it. I’m not going into details of the story because the less you know, the better.
I read nothing about the plot, or the reviews, and I would suggest you do the same. I just tuned in on a cold winter night where we had a snowstorm. It just happens to be part of the plot of the movie so I felt immediately at home and was hooked. By the end I was hugely satisfied and I also felt like I discovered a brilliant new actress in Havana Rose Liu.
No Exit is streaming on Hulu.
That’s probably going to change by the end of the year, but at the time I’m writing this, it’s still in my top 5 of 2022: I LOVED it. Steven Soderbergh is such an efficient & creative filmmaker and he proves it again with Kimi, a timely paranoid techno-thriller with well-crafted sound design, an eerie score from Cliff Martinez & a captivating performance from Zoe Kravitz. Soderberg creates some small miracles behind the camera keeping the energy at a high level. Even as the world is going back to normal, this feels highly relevant.
Synopsis: "An agoraphobic Seattle tech worker uncovers evidence of a crime."
Part Rear Window, part Blow Out, this film blends some of the best from Hitchcock and De Palma thrillers. We're all tired of the pandemic so needless to say we don't have to address it in every movie, but Kimi integrates it in the story in a smart way with the paranoia and the isolation. Zoe Kravitz plays the role of a tech worker who suspects something is wrong with the company she’s working for. This is all going on during the pandemic and she’s an agoraphobic. There is a strong commentary on the role technology is playing in our lives.
The collaboration between composer Bernard Hermann & director Alfred Hitchcock in the 1950’s gave us some classics movies like Psycho & Vertigo. Hermann also worked with Brian De Palma on Obsession, which is one of my personal favourite scores of all time. For some reason the musical work on Kimi reminded me of those collaborations. Cliff Martinez and Steven Soderbergh seemed so in-synch on this project and they nailed the atmosphere right from the start. Kimi is full of surprises and it’s also the perfect showcase of Zoe Kravitz’s talent as an actress, I would highly recommend this film to most people because of the acting, the music and the direction.
Kimi is streaming on HBO Max.
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
One of the best animated films of the year truly went under the radar and it’s coming from one of the best working directors today, Richard Linklater (Before Trilogy, Dazed & Confused). Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood takes the unconventional route of rotoscoping animation to tell the story of the first moon landing through the eyes Stanley voiced by Jack Black (Adult Stanley) and Milo Coy (Young Stanley).
Synopsis: "A coming-of-age story set in the suburbs of Houston, Texas in the summer of 1969, centered around the historic Apollo 11 moon landing."
Richard Linklater is a brilliant director and Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is another gem in his filmography, I thought it was a delightful & creative animated journey through 1960's pop culture. It just made me feel good from start to finish watching this, a real nostalgic treat and you don’t need to be born in that era to enjoy it. The style of animation was on-point, everything is so colorful and the aesthetics from the 60’s are gorgeously brought the life by the creative team. You can tell there's a high level of craft & care that was put behind the making of this film and the story is just as captivating.
It’s something for the dreamers, there’s a certain fantasy approach to the story and if you ever thought of going to a space camp before this is going to resonate with you. On a personal level, my grandfather used to tell me a lot of stories from that era and how he might’ve contributed to an inspection for some parts that ended up going on the Moon on the first mission in the 1960’s. He told me that story multiple times and it actually checks up when I ask some of family members. Is it true or not? Does it really matters? Apollo 10 ½ perfectly captures this feeling of wonder and imagination when you're a kid and you're making up fantasies in your head while giving us a taste of what it was like living in the 60's.
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is streaming on Netflix.
This is a movie that I’ve been recommending to basically everyone since I saw it this winter, I truly adore Mark Rylance in The Outfit, one of my favourite movie characters this year and I feel like more people need to see it. When I saw it in theatres last March I was completely alone in the theater, another proof that the movie went under the radar, but that sometimes makes a memorable movie-going experience. This mobster film takes place in one location and managed to be thrilling right until the end. This is a great example of how keeping it simple is sometimes better. It’s simple and elegant.
Synopsis: "An expert cutter must outwit a dangerous group of mobsters in order to survive a fateful night."
The Outfit is a smart crime drama with a few twists & turns, it’s one of those films where every single actor that shows up brings personality and adds something to the story. Meticulously acted & edited, it's not flashy at all but I thought it was sharp and the script really comes to life under the direction of Graham Moore (he also co-wrote the film). Because it takes place in one location, it does have a stage play feel to it but I personally don't see it as an issue since it’s so well-made, I love Zoey Deutch so much and the dynamic between her and Mark Rylance was the best thing about this film.
It’s the first of two projects that Dylan O’Brien and Zoey Deutch made together this year, the other one being Not Okay (which I was not a big fan of). They have a great chemistry here in The Outfit and Dylan O’Brien’s Chicago accent is to die for. I thought the score was fantastic as well I had no idea who made the music until the credits rolled and I saw his name... Alexandre Desplat, two-time Oscar winner for The Shape of Water & Grand Budapest Hotel. Beautiful piece of piano, perfect orchestration during the whole film, two thumbs up there.
My biggest surprise however is probably actor Johnny Flynn who plays one of the mobsters, I’m sure we’re going to see more from him in the future because he was excellent. Overall yes, this might feel like going to see a play instead of a movie, but it’s a quality that we don’t find very often in movies these days and that ends up being refreshing. This is a strong recommendation for me.
The Outfit was released in theaters in March 2022 and is now available on demand.
Crimes of the Future
David Cronenberg is back with Crimes of the Future, and this new body-horror experience is not for the faint of heart. It’s his first film in 8 years and he went back to his original roots as a filmmaker: the exploration of gore and body transformation with a psychological approach. This movie cannot be explained better than Kristen Stewart herself in the movie: “Surgery is the new sex.”
Synopsis: “Humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice, Saul Tenser, celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances.”
The movie opens with a spectacular landscape of a wrecked ship on the beach over the eerie theme masterfully orchestrated by the legendary composer Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings, Hugo, The Departed). The collaboration between Howard Shore and David Cronenberg started in 1979 and he went on to score 18 of his films, so it’s no surprise that he’s coming back but his presence on this project was extremely welcomed. The music is a perfect companion to the dystopian world Cronenberg is presenting to the audience, it looks like he had a lot of fun playing around with synthesizers and this really adds to the texture of the movie.
It’s a film that thrives because of the atmosphere, Cronenberg’s vision and the bizarre nature of the story. However, this is definitely the least accessible film on my list and it’s not exactly something I would recommend to everyone. If you’re familiar with his prior work (The Fly, Videodrome, Scanners) and you know what you’re getting yourself into you might have a blast because the craft behind this film is extraordinary from the highly creative practical effects to the dark & inspired cinematography.
There’s also a strong presence in front of the camera with Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart who all seemed to be very comfortable in the hands of David Cronenberg. It’s not exactly the most engaging film of the year but it really kept my interest with its themes and impressive visuals. I’m glad that we live in a world where Cronenberg gets to make a $35M obscure sci-fi horror trip.
Crimes of the Future was released in theaters in June 2022 and is now available on demand.
Share your picks!
What are some of your personal favorite films of the year so far? At the top of my list I have Everything Everywhere All At Once, Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman and Elvis but I also suggest you give one of the movies listed here a chance because I had a blast with them!
See you at the movies.