New from Kevin Wozniak on Kevflix: Best of the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival

The 2022 Chicago International Film Festival has officially come to a close and what a great festival it was this year. Throughout this year’s festival, I saw twenty-one movies, twenty of them being 2022 films and one being an anniversary screening of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which was just as amazing as you’d think. Of the twenty new films I saw, there was not one movie that I would consider “bad”. There were some I wasn’t a big fan of, but they weren’t terrible movies. I also saw some of the best movies I have seen in 2022 at this festival, which was a pleasant surprise. These are what I consider to be the best movies and performances that I saw at the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival.

 

Best Movie: Broker

L to R: Dong-won Gang, Ji-eun Lee, Seung-soo Im, and Song Kang-ho in Broker (Neon)
  • Broker is a poetic, tender, emotional film about family, forgiveness, and finding a place in the world by master Hirokazu Kore-eda. Coupled with a tremendous ensemble led by the great Song Kang-ho, Broker is a beautiful movie about a group of people who live in a moral grey area and come together for a common goal, only for them to grow into a family none of them ever had. This is one of the most powerful film-going experiences I’ve had in 2022 and easily one of the best films of the year, if not the absolute best.

Best Director: Park Chan-Wook, Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave (Mubi)
Go Kyung-Pyo (left) and Tang Wei (right) in Decision to Leave (Mubi)
  • Nobody makes a thriller quite like Park Chan-Wook and Decision to Leave, one of Chan-Wook’s very best films in a stellar filmography, is a thrilling police procedural and a swooning, tragic love story that will have you in a trance.

Best Actor: Colin Ferrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Gleeson (left) and Colin Ferrell (right) in The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Colin Ferrell’s performance in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin might be the best of his career. Playing a simple man whose best friend decides he doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore, Farrell gives a layered performance full of heart, humor, tragedy, and ethos that should land Ferrell his first Oscar nomination.

Best Actress: Linnett Hernandez Valdes, Vicenta B.

Linnett Hernandez Valdes in Vicenta B. (Cacha Films)
  • The most surprising movie and performance that I saw at the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival was Carlos Lechuga’s Vicenta B. and a large part of the film’s success is because of the performance from its lead star, Linnett Hernandez Valdes. Valdes gives a complex, captivating performance as a woman who loses her ability to talk to spirits and read into the future and goes through an existential crisis trying to find her purpose. Valdes is in nearly every scene of the movie and carries the film on her shoulders.

Best Ensemble: Women Talking

L to R: Michelle McLeod, Sheila McCarthy, Jessie Buckley, Liv McNeil, Vivien Endicott Douglas, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, and Judith Ivey in Women Talking (United Artists)
L to R: Michelle McLeod, Sheila McCarthy, Jessie Buckley, Liv McNeil, Vivien Endicott Douglas, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, and Judith Ivey in Women Talking (United Artists)
  • Sarah Polley’s stirring drama features a top-notch ensemble featuring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Sheila McCarthy, Frances McDormand, and Ben Whishaw, all of whom are firing on all cylinders to bring Polley’s film to life.

Best Screenplay: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Daniel Craig in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
  • Writer/director Rian Johnson’s second Benoit Blanc mystery is just as good as the first film. The script is just as smart and even more twisty and surprising and had me laughing constantly.

Best Cinematography: Runner

Hannah Schiller as Haas in Runner (Killjoy)
Hannah Schiller as Haas in Runner (Killjoy)
  • Director Marian Mathias and cinematographer Jomo Fray capture the vast emptiness of the midwest plains in stunning fashion, adding levels to Mathias’s film about loneliness and connection.

Special Award: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, The Killing of a Journalist, Sr.

Robert Downey Sr. (left) and Robert Downey Jr. (right) in Sr. (Netflix)
  • I want to give a special shoutout to these three films for showing the power and importance of documentaries. Sr. is a heartfelt tribute to filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is a compelling look at the life and art of artist Nan Goldin, and The Killing of a Journalist is a tightly wound murder mystery and inspiring human story. These three films were some of the best that I saw at the festival.

OVERALL RANKING OF EVERYTHING I SAW

EO (Skopia Film)
EO (Skopia Film)
  1. Broker

  2. The Banshees of Inisherin

  3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

  4. Women Talking

  5. Sr.

  6. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

  7. Decision to Leave

  8. Saint Omer

  9. The Killing of a Journalist

  10. Sick

  11. The Year Between

  12. A Wounded Fawn

  13. She Said

  14. Vicenta B

  15. EO

  16. The Whale

  17. Return to Seoul

  18. Runner

  19. The Inspection

  20. If These Walls Could Sing

 

 

 

 

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