With over 100 movies in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, here are some small thoughts on the films at the festival our critic didn’t elaborate on.
While the 2021 Sundance Film Festival is long since over, the memories of the festival remain. With over 100 movies in various parts of the competition at the festival, you’ll be hard-pressed to write about everything. Below are a few thoughts about other movies from our critic:
John and the Hole is a dark comedy about a young teenager in a family who decides to, one day, throw his family in a large pit behind their home. A bizarre coming of age story, John and the Hole ultimately waste its amazing cast. The film at times appears to value raising questions over answering them. While fun, the movie’s humor falls flat at the end of the day.
Prisoners of the Ghostland is a crazy ride from acclaimed director Sion Sono in his English debut. Featuring Nicholas Cage as a bank robber forced at bomb-point into rescuing a woman from a wasteland, the movie recalls everything from Face/Off to Mad Max and more. It’s a thrill ride of a movie and will be the perfect movie for you… if you think it will. Take a look at the trailer before you watch, otherwise, you may end up disappointed.
Two foreign films with a similar premise, Human Factors and Knocking each tells the story of a woman dealing with the aftermath of events that leave her in doubt by those around her. Knocking is about a woman recently released from a mental health facility that hears a knocking through her walls, inexplicable and seemingly only heard by her. Human Factors, meanwhile, is about a home invasion that leaves a woman scared of her own home, with a husband that finds her claims impossible.
Both films feel far more committed to the mystery than they are in telling relatable stories. But the lead performances of both are spectacular in their own different ways, one following a woman that feels like she is losing her mind, and another attempting to reclaim her mind from a disbelieving husband. Regardless of whoever is right, the consequences on the lives of both women are vast by the end of the film.
Two of my least favorite movies of the festival were disappointing in similar ways, especially in how captivated I was at first. Superior is about twin sisters (played by actual twins Alessandra & Ani Mesa) who slowly swap identities to find new freedoms for themselves. But the Parent Trap aspects of the movie become lost as the movie descends into a thriller nature.
Mayday, meanwhile, has a cast of some great talents put to waste. Grace Van Patten stars as a woman who finds herself becoming an Alice in a very dark Wonderland. After escaping her monotonous life (and a potential rape) to a fantasy world of women killing male soldiers, our protagonist begins to question what is real and what is worth living. The movie is creative visually, but the story quickly becomes too fantastical and repetitive to hold up for long, and the ending feels abrupt without much entertainment.
With so many movies at Sundance Film Festival in 2021, it can be hard to recommend everything. But between this list and the other films available at the festival in our other reviews, it was a great selection of movies to be on the lookout for.