The 10 Best New Movies (Right Now)

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The 10 Best New Movies (Right Now)

When searching for the latest and greatest cinematic offerings, the shifting distribution landscape makes one thing abundantly clear: No matter how badly we’d like for the big screen to be the place for the best movies, it’s simply not the case. Sure, the theatrical experience claims plenty of worthy films, but with on-demand video rental and the overwhelming number of streaming options—two areas where indie and arthouse cinema have been thriving as theaters shove them aside for more and more Marvel movies—alternative viewing methods bear consideration if you’re after a comprehensive list of the best new fare.

This list is composed of the best new movies, updated every week, regardless of how they’re available. Some may have you weighing whether it’s worth it to brave the theater. Some, thankfully, are cheaply and easily available to check out from your living room couch or your bedroom laptop. Regardless of how you watch them, they deserve to be watched—from tiny international dramas to blockbuster action films to auteurist awards favorites.

Check out the 10 best new movies movies right now:


10. Ambulance

ambulance-poster.jpg Release Date: April 8, 2022
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Jake Gyllenhaal, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O’Donnell, Olivia Stambouliah, Jackson White, A Martinez, Cedric Sanders
Rating: R
Runtime: 136 minutes

If Ambulance, Michael Bay’s 15th feature currently basking in a gleeful critical reappraisal of Bay’s canon, feels as entelechial as Bad Boys II, it can only be because Bay has found himself in the absolute best time to be Bay. Though an ensemble of Angelenos fills out the film as it barrels to pretty much the only conclusion it could have, Ambulance is about as tidy as a Michael Bay film can get. Within ten minutes we’re deep in Ambulance: Strapped for money to pay his wife’s escalating medical bills, let alone care for their infant son, Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) agrees to join his adoptive brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal, always a joy to behold) on one last big score, a bank heist that goes inevitably wrong. Subsequently, they shoot a cop (Jackson White) and commandeer the cop’s ambulance, also occupied by the “best” EMT in L.A., Cam Thompson (Eiza González)—just one more embittered soul in the grand gray tapestry that is the City of Angels. As Danny loses control and Will more and more accepts his fate as the offspring of a fabled bank-robbing psychopath, their bank robber father spoken of in hushed tones and unbelievable stories, the entire militarized might of the LAPD descends upon the stolen ambulance, led by Captain Monroe (Garret Dillahunt), a man who festishizes the police enough that Bay doesn’t have to. Even when FBI Agent Clark (Keir O’Donnell) gets involved, he’s only invited into Monroe’s inner circle because he went to college with Danny. Bad Boys and the fever dream of Bad Boys II are about how Michael Bay thinks that cops must be psychopaths in order to confront a modern psychopathic world. In Ambulance, as much as his vision of the LAPD comprises sophisticated surveillance and world-killing artillery to rival the most elite military power of the U.S. government—making sure it all looks really fucking cool—he also makes sure to interrupt an especially destructive chase sequence (as he once had Martin Lawrence declare the events happening on screen obligatory and nothing else) among so many especially destructive chase sequences, to have Monroe’s left hand, Lieutenant Dhazghig (Olivia Stambouliah), tell him how many tax dollars they’re annihilating. Later, many, many police officers die in explosions and hails of gunfire, bodies indiscriminately everywhere. One detects glee in these scenes, as if Bay’s countering Monroe’s dismissal of so many flagrantly abused tax dollars by blowing up half the LAPD in a spectacle that practically demands applause. Maybe Michael Bay no longer sees the utility in unleashing psychopathic cops on a psychopathic world, but maybe he never did. In Bay’s L.A., there are no sides, no good guys and bad guys, just a person who “saves my life” or doesn’t—just people with holes punched into their bodies and people without. This is Bay’s distinction between the “haves” and “have nots”: People who have mortal trauma and people who don’t. The film’s disposable blue collar Italian lump, Randazzo (Randazzo Marc), puts it simply: “L.A. drivers! They’re all mamalukes.” Behold this urban wasteland of struggling mamalukes—it teems with more style than we’ll ever deserve.—Dom Sinacola


9. Dual

dual-poster.jpg Release Date: April 15, 2022
Director: Riley Stearns
Stars: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale
Rating: R
Runtime: 94 minutes

In Dual, everyone talks like they’re a robot. Perhaps that’s because they want to better integrate new Replacements, clones made of terminally ill or otherwise on-their-way-out people, into the world. Maybe it’s because the delivery is supposed to be as dry, strange and winning as the low-key sci-fi itself. Regardless, this idiosyncratic acting choice by writer/director Riley Stearns is just one of many over the course of his third and (so far) best movie. The world of Dual is near-future, or present-adjacent but in another dimension. Its video chat is Zoom-like, but texting has more of a coding aesthetic. Its minivans still run on gas, but you can make a clone out of spit in an hour. Its people still love violent reality TV, but its shows sometimes involve government-mandated fights to the death between people who discover they’re no longer dying and their Replacements. It’s the latter situation in which Sarah (Karen Gillan) finds herself. After puking up blood, creating a clone to take over her life and receiving improbable good news from a scene-stealingly funny doctor, Sarah finds that she has a year to prepare for the fight of (and for) her life. Stearns shoots the film in grim, hands-off observations sapped of color and intimacy, but with amusing angles or choices (like a long take watching characters do slo-mo play-acting) that add visual energy to the bleakness. As we see this unfurl, we root for Sarah’s success not because we want her to get her old, sad life back, but because the training process has opened her up to life beyond those walls. It can be read as a redemptive allegory representing a life-shaking break-up or other crisis, but Stearns’ deadpan script and wry situations rarely give you enough distance to consider Dual beyond the hilarious text in front of you. Gillan goes beyond a cutesy Black Mirror performance to find tragedy, obscene humor and warmth even in her relatively stoic roles, but the shining star of the show is Aaron Paul, who gets the biggest laugh lines as her intense combat instructor. Somewhere between a living instruction manual and the “Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit” Monty Python sketch, Paul’s character is a riot as he attempts to familiarize Sarah with weapons and desensitize her to violence. His performance is just as committed as his serious scene partner’s, but when the two are in the groove together, Dual transcends to such big-hearted, surreal silliness that I had a hard time calming my laughter down as the film reminded me that death was on the line. Stearns’ work has always been a bit of a specific flavor, a little like that of Yorgos Lanthimos where if you’re not in on the dark joke you can feel ostracized from the universe of the movie, and Dual is both his most successful and most eccentric yet. But if you’re blessed with matching taste, where you’ll put up with a bunch of over-literal, stiff-backed oddballs dealing with a clone crisis, you’ll find a rewarding and gut-busting film that’s lingering ideas are nearly as strong as its humorous, thoughtful construction.—Jacob Oller


8. Hatching

hatching-poster.jpg Release Date: April 29, 2022
Director: Hanna Bergholm
Stars: Siiri Solalinna, Sophia Heikkilä, Jani Volanen, Reino Nordin, Saija Lentonen
Rating: NR
Runtime: 87 minutes

Pubescent pressures are compounded by the presence of a horrifying mutant doppelganger in Hatching, Finnish director Hanna Bergholm’s debut feature. Written by Ilja Rautsi, the film is a domestic drama at its core, detailing the toxicity inherent to a controlling mother-daughter dynamic. However, what elevates Hatching to the upper echelons of the familial horror-drama is its inspired use of practical effects and puppeteering, resulting in a genuinely unsettling movie monster that appears all the more uncanny in its originality. While the finer plot details might not feel as fresh as its central doppelganger entity, Hatching hits the right emotional cues nonetheless—instilling its fair share of thrilling scares while stirring adolescent pathos. In an idyllic Finnish suburb, a seemingly perfect family lives a seemingly perfect life. At least, that’s the image that the family matriarch (Sophia Heikkilä) carefully curates via regular vlog posts. Her videos capture their home’s polished decor, making sure to highlight elegant floral details and crystal chandeliers. Just as aesthetically congruent as the home’s interior is the family that resides inside it: The father (Jani Volanen) is well-dressed and mild-mannered, their bespectacled young son Matthias (Oiva Ollila) endearingly precocious and their 12-year-old daughter Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) a rising local gymnast. As the anxiety surrounding an upcoming competition threatens to unravel her, Tinja finds a mysterious object in the woods surrounding her family’s home: A speckled egg, solitary in the world without a mother to brood it. Just a short time later, the egg grows ten times in size—and the being germinating within begins to emerge. A gangly, gnarly bird-like creature bursts into the world, viewing Tinja as its proper mother. In keeping its plot uncomplicated, and without nodding too heavily to its cinematic inspirations, Hatching is given the space to actually come into its own. By singularly focusing on the monster’s unique appearance and qualities, the film evades easy comparison—even if it does boast a handful of predictable narrative beats.—Natalia Keogan


7. Downton Abbey: A New Era

downton-abbey-a-new-era-poster.jpg Release Date: May 20, 2022
Director: Simon Curtis
Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Michael Fox, Harry Hadden-Paton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Douglas Reith, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West, Jonathan Zaccaï
Rating: PG
Runtime: 125 minutes

Will you enjoy a A New Era even if you’ve never seen a single second of Downton Abbey? As the Crawleys themselves might say, “I’d rather think so.” But this is a movie for the fans—almost a gift, really. The last two-plus years have been a lot for everyone, and to escape to late 1920s England and France in all its splendor is a delight. All the things we adore about Downton are still there. The lackadaisical pacing that invites viewers in. The Dowager Countess’ delightful barbs. The Upstairs Downstairs shenanigans. Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) rat-a-tat sibling rivalry. (When Edith remarks that going back to work will give her an opportunity to use her brain again, Mary replies, “Let’s hope it’s still there.”) The Crawleys and their staff still make up a well-coiffed, well-dressed and well-executed soap opera. What a treat to get to hang out with them for another two hours. The music and sweeping aerial photography immediately transport you to a different era. But A New Era is smart enough to not unravel well-loved plot points. No romances are undone. Characters aren’t broken up just so the movie would have something to do. Unlike other sequels and movies based on TV series (looking right at you Sex and the City), the true gift is that these characters remain true to the characters we know and love. With the remaining few lingering romances wrapped up and a plot twist I won’t reveal, there’s a sense of closure and finality as A New Era ends. But clearly series creator Julian Fellowes has proven he has more Downton stories to tell. I have to say I would be happy to continue watching for years to come.—Amy Amatangelo


6. Pleasure

pleasure-poster.jpg Release Date: May 13, 2022
Director: Ninja Thyberg
Stars: Sofia Kappel, Revike Reustle, Chris Cock, Evelyn Claire, Dana DeArmond, Kendra Spade, Mark Spiegler, John Strong, Lance Har, Aiden Starr, Aaron Thompson
Rating: NR
Runtime: 108 minutes

Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure isn’t afraid to delve into the behind-the-scenes reality of creating mass-marketed porn—all without pivoting into a long-winded metaphor or cautionary screed. As such, the writer/director’s observations are unvarnished and exact, detailing the nuances of one of America’s greatest cultural tenets while adhering to an admittedly familiar cinematic premise of a rising star in a tumultuous career. What’s so original about the film, though, is its assertion that performing on a porn set isn’t an idealized fantasy or a one-way ticket to self-abasement—it’s simply work. And like all workplaces under capitalism, these workers are under-paid, under-valued and under-protected. Pleasure follows Bella Cherry (an astounding breakout performance from Sofia Kappel), a 19-year-old Swede who arrives in L.A. with the sole intention of becoming a porn star. But first, she has to gradually wade into the murky waters of the industry she’s entering as a total outsider. It’s vital to note the tremendous research and personal immersion that Thyberg undertook, making Pleasure a warts-and-all depiction of porn that still retains the humanity of all the players involved. While Kappel delivers an incredible debut performance, her co-stars are all actual porn performers, agents and industry workers. Much of their inclusion in the film is predicated on the real-life rapport forged with Thyberg during her foray into the adult film world. The filmmaker resided in a “model house,” became a regular fixture on porn sets and developed genuine friendships with several actors as a result. While comparisons to Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls, Janicza Bravo’s Zola, and even Tsai Ming-liang’s The Wayward Cloud all hold water (particularly in regards to Verhoeven’s cult classic NC-17 satire), it’s safe to say that Pleasure has considerably more in common with Lizzie Borden’s Working Girls. Both films radically demystify separate sects of the sex industry, focusing on the everyday existence of the average worker as opposed to relishing in sensationalism. Of course, if Pleasure preaches anything, it’s that our preconceived notions of the industry aren’t as black and white as we might like to believe.—Natalia Keogan


5. In Front of Your Face

in-front-of-your-face-poster.jpg Release Date: May 6, 2022
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Stars: Lee Hye-young, Cho Yunhee, Kwon Hae-hyo, Shin Seok-ho
Rating: NR
Runtime: 85 minutes

In Front of Your Face, the latest film from master South Korean director Hong Sang-soo, finds Sangok (Lee Hye-young) returning to Korea after a prolonged absence. Temporarily sleeping on her sister Jeongok’s (Cho Yunhee) couch, the siblings seem content and comfortable in their reunion. Immediately upon waking up, the sisters decide to make the most of their morning—after all, they only have so much time together before Sangok’s “late lunch” meeting with a filmmaker to discuss her potential return to the screen. Once a somewhat successful actress in Korea, Songok ditched the profession in favor of moving to the U.S. with some guy she “barely knew” to open a liquor store. The duo sip coffee, smoke cigarettes by a babbling brook and visit Jeongok’s son’s rice cake shop. They spend their morning savoring each other’s company, even if some past conflicts can’t help but crop up. Largely taking place over the course of a single day, In Front of Your Face lingers on life’s little details. A bee pollinating a flower, a marvelous cup of coffee and the momentary salve of a cigarette add as much to the story as the film’s more intense emotional revelations. It’s true that the sisters don’t necessarily possess the fullest pictures of each other—but Jeongok’s perception, even for an out-of-touch sibling who hasn’t responded to her sister’s recent letters, is often scarily spot-on. The beauty of the sparse film is that Hong manages to preserve the daily inconsequence of these one-off remarks and interactions, though they hold so much significance. The significance of time—namely remaining tethered to the tangible moment at hand—is exemplified in one specific scene: A nearly 12-minute, uninterrupted take captures a drunken conversation between Sangok and director Jaewon (Kwon Hae-hyo), undoubtedly the film’s most emotional exchange. They discuss their respective careers, views on mortality, and even take a break to play some guitar. At once sloppy, endearing and just a tad too intimate to handle, the scene is a hyper-realistic feat from Lee and Kwon. To convey that sentimental range during an extended take is always impressive to watch, and the actors certainly benefit from Hong’s careful guidance. In Front of Your Face beautifully maximizes the minute details of daily life—a short-lived reunion between aunt and nephew, a spicy (and messy) bowl of tteokbokki, a sister deep in early morning slumber. In most other filmmaker’s hands, these seemingly inconsequential observations wouldn’t seamlessly create a tender and alluring narrative. Yet Hong Sang-soo seems to have it all down to a science.—Natalia Keogan


4. The Northman

the-northman-poster.jpg Release Date: April 22, 2022
Director: Robert Eggers
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Björk
Rating: R
Runtime: 140 minutes

Forged in flame and fury, Robert Eggers’ The Northman is an exquisite tale of violent vengeance that takes no prisoners. Co-written by Eggers and Icelandic poet Sjón (who also recently co-wrote A24’s Icelandic creature feature Lamb), the film is ever-arresting and steeped in the director’s long-standing penchant for period accuracy. Visually stunning and painstakingly choreographed, The Northman perfectly measures up to its epic expectations. The legend chronicled in The Northman feels totally fresh, and at the same time quite familiar. King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) is slain by his brother Fjölnir (Claes Bang), who in turn takes the deceased ruler’s throne and Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) for his own. Before succumbing to fratricide, Aurvandill names his young son Amleth (Oscar Novak) as his successor, making him an immediate next target for his uncle’s blade. Narrowly evading capture, Amleth rows a wooden boat over the choppy waters of coastal Ireland, tearfully chanting his new life’s mission: “I will avenge you, father. I will save you, mother. I will kill you, Fjölnir.” Years later, Amleth (played by a muscular yet uniquely unassuming Alexander Skarsgård) has distinguished himself as a ruthless warrior among a clan of Viking berserkers, donning bear pelts and pillaging a series of villages in a furious stupor. The Northman is an accessible, captivating Viking epic teeming with the discordant, tandem force of human brutality and fated connection. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that the film feels noticeably less Eggers-like in execution compared to his preceding works. It boasts a much bigger ensemble, seemingly at the expense of fewer unbroken takes and less atmospheric dread. In the same vein, it eschews the filmmaker’s interest in New England folktales, though The Northman does incorporate Eggers’ fascination with forestry and ocean tides. However, The Northman melds the best of Eggers’ established style—impressive performances, precise historical touchstones, hypnotizing folklore—with the newfound promise of rousing, extended action sequences. The result is consistently entertaining, often shocking and imbued with a scholarly focus. It would be totally unsurprising if this were deemed by audiences as Eggers’ definitive opus. For those already enamored with the director’s previous efforts, The Northman might not feel as revelatory as The Witch or as dynamic at The Lighthouse. What the film lacks in Eggers’ filmic ideals, though, it more than makes up for in its untouchable status as a fast-paced yet fastidious Viking revenge tale. The Northman is totally unrivaled by existing epics—and perhaps even by those that are undoubtedly still to come, likely inspired by the scrupulous vision of a filmmaker in his prime.—Natalia Keogan


3. Hit the Road

hit-the-road-poster.jpg Release Date: March 22, 2022
Director: Panah Panahi
Stars: Pantea Panahiha, Hasan Majuni, Rayan Sarlak, Amin Simiar
Rating: NR
Runtime: 93 minutes

The debut of writer/director Panah Panahi (yes, son of famed Iranian New Waver Jafar Panahi), Hit the Road is a sharp and endearing portrait of a family painted through a series of road trip conversations—often veiled, openly lying, or disguised by ballbusting humor. His ensemble includes a car karaoke queen mother (Pantea Panahiha), broken-legged father (Hasan Majuni), quiet driver son (Amin Simiar) and his scene-stealing fireball of a little brother (Rayan Sarlak). And a cute puppy, which means constant pee breaks. Together, they traverse the dry and rural roads fulfilling checkpoints for a mysterious quest that becomes clearer and clearer as they go. Panahi dwells on lived-in conversational rhythms as much as landscapes, both beautiful and affecting in their own ways. Sarlak’s manic little squirt often pays his respects to the picturesque horizon, but every long and loving sparring match between family members contains just as much reverence. It’s this adoration for closeness—and the confidence and trust in your cast to simply sit and shoot them rambling affectionate obscenities for long, long takes—that makes the film’s bittersweetness work so well. When Sarlak’s hilarious antics (he needs to get his contraband cell phone back because of all the people who constantly want to chat with him) and his parents’ deadpanned one-liners give way to fears about loss and separation, familiar modes of connective chatter become coping mechanisms and then reverse course, sometimes in seconds. Panahiha is particularly potent at this, letting it all play on her face—while singing her heart out, no less. For his part, the incredible Sarlak gets a musical moment as show-stopping as Mads Mikkelsen’s Another Round finale last year. It’s a movie where anyone can be a punchline, but nobody’s ever the butt of the joke. There’s too much love at hand, and even a child’s goofy babblings about the Batmobile can be transcendent moments of beauty. The road trip always has to have an end, but the excellent Hit the Road promises that the journey is as good as the people crammed in alongside you.—Jacob Oller


2. Everything Everywhere All At Once

everything-everywhere-all-at-once-poster.jpg Release Date: March 25, 2022
Director: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr.
Rating: R
Runtime: 146 minutes

Everything Everywhere All At Once follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a jaded, middle-aged laundromat owner who may or may not be involved in some minor tax fraud. Her tedious, repetitive life is thrown into total pandemonium, however, when her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan)—or at least a version of him—alerts her to the existence of the multiverse on the elevator ride to an IRS meeting. He then explains that a powerful villain named Jobu Tupaki is in the process of constructing a universe-destroying force that only Evelyn has the ability to stop. And so Evelyn reluctantly plunges headfirst into the multiverse. The facts: There are an infinite number of universes that exist simultaneously, containing just about anything you could possibly imagine. The rules: To acquire different skills, you must picture a universe in which you inhabit that skill, whether it be inhumanly strong pinky fingers or a mastery of knife-fighting. (If you can think it up, it exists.) What follows, then, are roughly 140 frenetic minutes filled to the brim with dense, complex science, colorful setpieces and scenes that feel like they’ve been pulled straight out of dreams far too abstract to describe. As you can probably gather, Everything is not dissimilar to its title—and a lot to wrap your head around. If all this sounds intimidating (which, let’s be honest, how could it not?), rest assured that Everything is grounded by an effortlessly simple emotional throughline. Indeed, the film contains as much emotional maturity as it does cool concepts and ostentatious images (yes, including a giant butt plug and raccoon chef). At its core, it is a story about love and family, carried by the dazzling Yeoh in a subtle and unsentimental performance. Where Everything’s emotional throughline is Evelyn’s relationship with her family, its visual thread manifests as a series of hypnotic, vertiginous action sequences, choreographed like a ballet by Andy and Brian Le. As a bonus, these sequences recall Yeoh’s iconic role in Ang Lee’s wuxia film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The directors do not shy away from the use of dizzying flashing lights, or rapidly shifting light sources that disorient the viewer. They also aren’t afraid to implement over-the-top images, like a person’s head exploding into confetti or a butt-naked man flying in slow-motion toward the camera. At the same time, movement between ‘verses feels seamless through Paul Rogers’ meticulous editing, as does the effortless fashion in which different aspect ratios melt into one another. If Everything Everywhere All at Once can be boiled down to one, simple question, it would be reflexive of its own title: Can you really have everything everywhere all at once? Whatever the characters’ answers end up being (I’ll let you discover that on your own), I am certain that the Daniels would say yes, of course you can.—Aurora Amidon


1. Nitram

nitram-poster.jpg Release Date: April 1, 2022
Director: Justin Kurzel
Stars: Caleb Landry Jones, Judy Davis, Anthony LaPaglia, Essie Davis
Rating: NR
Runtime: 112 minutes

The controversy around even the idea of Nitram was swift, loud and completely understandable. A movie depicting the events leading up to the 1996 mass shooting at Port Arthur, Tasmania—where 35 people were murdered and 23 others wounded—would inherently be profiting from the atrocity. It would humanize a man who committed inhuman acts. It would dredge up the unimaginable pain of the Tasmanian community for the sake of offering “a cautionary tale about gun control,” as if there weren’t enough of those already. Though the raft of objections caused trouble with funding and filming locations, director Justin Kurzel—who lives in Tasmania—persisted. Now there’s a film to judge on its own merits. In that film, the character is called Nitram (the first name of the actual perpetrator spelled backwards), and is played by Caleb Landry Jones. Nitram lives with his parents (Judy Davis and Anthony LaPaglia), both fatigued from the effort of keeping a vigilant eye on their dangerously erratic grown son. Unable to maintain a conventional job, Nitram meets Helen (Essie Davis) when he’s prowling the neighborhood, offering to mow lawns in exchange for money. Unlike most of the people he encounters, Helen—an oddball herself, albeit a less threatening one—invites him in, and the two embark on an unusual romance. For a while, the two misfits achieve a fragile equilibrium. Then tragedy strikes, and strikes again. Kurzel’s Nitram does a lot of things very well—foremost amongst them, retaining a commendable level of neutrality. Concerns that the movie would pity the killer, that he’d become a misunderstood hero who wouldn’t have chosen to take such a terrible path if he hadn’t been bullied at school or was loved more by his parents, quickly prove unfounded. Nitram doesn’t go too far in the other direction either, not treating its disturbed protagonist as cartoonishly evil. You never get the sense that Kurzel is trying to tell us how to feel about Nitram. We’re asked to observe, not to judge. In a film centered on such a traumatic event, the maintaining of a perspective not overshadowed by intensity of emotion is a notable achievement. Beyond its deeply unnerving character study, Nitram is a stark warning. Some of the objections to Kurzel’s movie could never be satisfied; for many, its mere existence is offensive. However, Nitram does exist, and it’s difficult to imagine how it could possibly have handled its harrowing subject matter with any more sensitivity or respect.—Chloe Walker