Don’t Go (2018)

I’m not one for existential metaphors so I took a risk. Fortunately, this one paid off. Rather than another angsty cliche about loss, it turned out to be layered, nuanced poetry. As the main character teeters between delusion and spiritual experience, the story keenly walks a fine line between heavy-handed symbolism and enigmatic meaning. Other films have explored the effects of grief over time but this is by far the most beautifully written and superbly acted.

Libel (1959)

Rather than a lack of subtle clues and foreshadowing due to a meandering script, this story slowly unfolds just as it does for its subject: a former soldier, who may or may not be the man as whom he’s been living. When his identity is called into question, both he and his wife begin to wonder if the trauma he experienced during the war that affected his memory made it easier for him to inherit the life meant for someone else or if his personality genuinely changed. The evidence will reveal the truth and unlock the key to the nightmares and flashbacks that relentlessly haunt him.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

If you don’t own a copy, you’ve either forgotten about this movie or have never seen it. This is arguably each lead’s most famous role of their career. And for good reason: when an disparate team of jewel theives vie for their loot, Deception is the rule of law in what amounts to The Bermuda Triangle of relationships. Love and lust notwithstanding, greed and revenge bring out a range of emotions– and even slapstick– in those subjected to the whims of manipulative Wanda, a woman so dynamic, a beloved pet is named after her.

Bad Times at The Royale (2018)

Murder and mayhem are in store for deep characters based on historic figures devoid of characature, set in rich tones inspired by a real locale, steeped in the iconic style of Vintage era without a hint of kitsch, in which music is fully integrated into intricately layered secrets anchored by immaculate cinematography.

The Imposter (2012)

How does a foreign man suddenly end up a U.S. citizen, welcomed into the family of a long- missing child? While it’s impossible to fully understand the grief of those keeping vigil by the window, waiting for a phone call that may never come, it is curious that every expert agrees there are many loose ends. Is it merely that hindsight is 20/20 (as the old saying goes) or is there a more sinister explanation? Though the testimony of an identity thief certainly isn’t everything, it seems to corroborate the suspicion of at least one specialist…

Masterfully crafted, the details of this publicly documented incident are recounted chronologically by a rotation of several family members, some government employees, a smattering of friends/ neighbors and one relentless private investigator. During the lengthier portions of each person’s story, voiceover serves as narration for actors’ portrayals of the events being described. By the end of the film you have about as much information as everyone involved to decide for yourself what you think happened.

Masquerade (2012)

Why are 15 days worth of records missing from annals of the Joseon Dynasty? Though we’ll never know for sure, it’s fair to surmise that since the king was kind but cautious (some would say paranoid), it’s not impossible that arrangements were made in anticipation of a potential emergency. Like the switcheroo in American movie, […]

Wag the Dog (1997)

Who’s leading whom– isn’t the dog supposed to wag the tail? Of greatest importance is at whatever a politician is trying to distract you from looking. Incidentally, one time several major Hollywood stars (2 of whom– Oscars winners, no less– received no money up front) shot a feature length film in under a month with […]

Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)

Escaping an abuser, particularly one who obsessively aligns the labels on the canned goods and the stripes on the bath towels is nearly impossible; their attention to detail adds additional danger.¬†With just as much precision, this movie foreshadows and metaphorically parallels one woman’s journey towards escape. Like the psychological impact of Hitchcock’s unsettling imagery, this […]

Hanna (2011)

CIA operatives have seen and experienced more disturbing things than we could ever know. Even the most patriotic has a limit to what he’s willing to support. Usually, I like a bit of mystery because it’s enthralling to let the details unfold. But in this case it was hard to know who to trust so […]