As the attempt to catch all the must-see films becomes increasingly harder, with the confusion of delayed releases and the multitude of streaming services vying for attention, it’s inevitable that some fantastic pictures flew under your radar in 2021.
Here are ten films, ranging from the heartbreaking, to the nail-biting, to the insightful, that you may have missed.
Note: We classified a 2021 release as a film that was released in Australia in 2021, no matter the format (theatrically, digitally, etc). Come Play, for example, had its U.S. release in October 2020 and was released in Australia via Digital Download in August 2021.
- Blue Bayou (Directed by Justin Chon)
“An emotional, wonderfully performed drama. […] Subtle, no, but the steadily-growing emotions do reach a fever pitch that may smack you silly during the finale. […] Blue Bayou is an affecting drama that knows what it wants to say.”
- You Cannot Kill David Arquette (Directed by David Darg & Price James)
“You don’t have to be a fan of either wrestling, or Arquette’s previous work, to find enjoyment in this unusual story. […] a unique, interesting and genuinely entertaining documentary.”
- Concrete Cowboy (Directed by Ricky Staub)
“Holds various nuances and revelations along the way. The film is, at its heart, a father-and-son story, but it is also a snapshot of a forgotten (or unknown) aspect of Black America. […] First-time feature director Ricky Staub captures an unusual culture with the upmost sincerity and lets the peculiarity and contrast of its imagery convey a multitude of messages – the strongest of which being themes of father absence.”
- The Killing of Two Lovers (Directed by Robert Machoian)
“A drama about the human condition that not only assaults the viewer like a punch to the gut, but also showcases exemplary talents both in front and behind the camera. […] It is a film that requires personal investment, and it holds you to that commitment right to the very end. “
- Nine Days (Directed by Edson Oda)
“Simultaneously uplifting and devastatingly sad. This is a unique, engaging and often beautiful existential drama, that neither the written description nor trailer can do justice to. It is one of those movies you just need to experience.”
- Land (Directed by Robin Wright)
“An introspective drama about loss, disconnection, and the healing power of nature. […] Robin Wright’s directorial debut effort is undeniably marvelous.”
- June Again (Directed by JJ Winlove)
“A crowd pleaser. It is deep without being depressing, and it is funny without being silly. It is well written, well directed and well acted. […] It will certainly win the hearts of most who see it.”
- Oxygen (Directed by Alexandre Aja)
“Oxygen certainly deserves plaudits for trying to do something interesting with its approach to race-against-time suspense. […] It’s solidly crafted, unpredictable and, importantly, well worth seeing.”
- French Exit (Directed by Azazel Jacobs)
“An emotionally sterile-yet-biting comedy.[…] A sombre deadpan dramedy that explores the manner we hold onto grief and the insecurities of wealth. French Exit as humorous as it is crushing.”
- Come Play (Directed by Jacob Chase)
“A firmly atmospheric horror film, rather than an exploitative one. […] A fresh take on an old formula that flirts with the viewer’s preconceptions and offers up a whole lot of substance.”