Founded back in 2012 by three guys in New York City, A24 has been on the up when it comes to outstanding releases. The first film that properly launched their name into the mainstream consciousness was 2013’s Spring Breakers; a film about the fickle nature of consumerism and pop culture. Since then, they’ve helped to produce and distribute a whole host of excellent cinema and have made huge waves in the Hollywood world.
So, for some well-deserved recognition, we decided to choose five outstanding releases from them this year alone. The list is in no particular order, but instead a representation of how incredible their line-up has been. Here goes:
Moonlight tells the infinitely relatable story of growing up. Regardless of whether its mature content and lofty themes can be entirely empathised with, there’ll be something in this Best Picture winner’s runtime that each and every one of us can feel on an emotionally resonant level.
It’s true that Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight released back in October of last year for those over in the US, but over here in England, we didn’t get to enjoy this beautifully-shot story of adolescence until February, 2017. If you’ve not got around to seeing what all the fuss is about, then you should try and amend that as soon as possible.
In this interweaving tale of betrayal and violence, gunshots are merely the backdrop to what’s ultimately a much funnier, much more character-driven story than anybody really expected.
Set almost entirely in a warehouse, the film opens to a gun deal between a whole host of shady figures. Sharlto Copley shines as a charismatic instigator, but he’s accompanied by a plethora of memorable and excellent actors who really sell the concept to its fullest.
If you’re a fan of single-location stories that heavily play on the eccentricities of their characters, then Free Fire is certainly recommended.
It Comes At Night
With what is probably one of the best horrors in years, It Comes at Night managed to solidify the idea of the unseen horror being just as cripplingly scary as what’s shown on-screen.
Telling the relatively simple story of a family in the woods – led by the excellent Joel Edgerton – the film slowly unravels into a story of paranoia and fear. It didn’t perform as well as hoped, but this was perhaps due to some questionable marketing that implied a straight-up screamfest. Instead, what we got was a tantalisingly slow-burn that stuck with you for much longer than the likes of this year’s Blair Witch reboot. The lingering final shot still dampens my mood every time it comes to mind.
The Florida Project
It might have gone under the radar of mainstream movie-going audiences, but auteur director Sean Baker delivered an unapologetic look at impoverished America with his film, The Florida Project.
Combining some gorgeous, pastel-fuelled cinematography with talented, first-time actors made for a lovable film that’s as enjoyable as it is crushing. Willem Dafoe stands out as the conflicted motel manager, Bobby, but he’s supported by several other brilliant performances that could be just as viable for some Academy Awards.
It’s certainly not one for fans of a traditional story arc, but it’s hard to deny how watchable The Florida Project really is.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Now here’s a really special one.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a film that first appears to be an uneasy drama about a man with his fingers in multiple pies. It establishes a peculiar tone early on, with straightforward dialogue that can be cringe-inducing in its honesty, but quickly descends into something much more distressing.
Masquerading as something perhaps more zany, the film becomes one of the best psychological horrors we’ve had in a long while. Colin Farrell portrays his paternal character, Dr. Stephen Murphy, in a typically great fashion, but it’s the film’s antagonist – Martin Lang (Barry Keoghan) – who really hits it home.
Part horror, part absurdist comedy; The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a fascinating film that never relents.