Sundance 2021 is officially over and so much happened. I ended up finishing off the festival with 28 features watched, which I am really pleased about. The quality of these films are insane, and I am glad to be able to share my top ten films at the festival.
Obviously I did not see every film that showed at the festival. There are some big ones that I missed, particularly Prisoners of the Ghostland, Summer of Soul… and John and the Hole. However, my top ten includes some of the big players and some of the smaller films that you maybe didn’t prioritise at the festival, so I hope this list has something here for everyone.
Without further ado, here are my top ten films of the festival.
10. In The Earth – Ben Wheatley does decide to over-edit at times, but this was such a tight script for a horror like this and the effects were really well done. Definitely a movie to keep you up at night.
9. The Most Beautiful Boy in the World – A wonderfully crafted documentary, which is beautifully shot and captures the journey that Björn Andrésen has gone through the past fifty years. Some great pieces of commentary within it that helps shape the person Andrésen is now.
8. Writing With Fire – A wonderful documentary that showcases the incredible work these female journalists are doing in India. It is fascinating to see their transition from print to online media as they fight hard to get their voices heard.
7. Flee – Flee is an incredibly powerful film that uses animation to its full potential. It can be jarring to have this subject matter paired with cheesy 80s music, but it works in fleshing out our lead character and adding personality to this refugee story.
6. CODA – CODA was a fantastic way to start off this festival. A beautiful story that is so wonderfully captured on screen, and with characters that are so easy to connect with.
5. Pleasure – Aside from the abrupt ending, Pleasure is phenomenal. It is definitely a film that will make you uncomfortable, that you may never want to revisit, but will make such an impact on how honest and brutal the story is.
4. Misha and the Wolves – The documentary of the festival so far. I am so glad that this was picked up by Netflix, because the amount of shocks and surprises packed in this is insane.
3. The Pink Cloud – Shot before the pandemic, the director got so many things right and created a stunning vision whilst doing so. It’s hard to draw your eyes away from this one.
2. Judas and the Black Messiah – I’m going to echo the voice of others here, but Judas and the Black Messiah is incredible. If you don’t have Kaluuya winning Supporting Actor, you are simply insane at this point as he gives the best performance of year. A shockingly impactful film even for 2021.
1. Mass – We have the film of the festival with Mass, an emotional rollercoaster that continues to hit over and over again. Bring the tissues for this one, you will not believe this is a directorial and screenwriting debut from Fran Kranz.