Latent Images
Staff Favorites: 2022 Catch Up
by Julian Hart

Here at Latent Images, we are passionate about leading student discussions on film and media. As part of a new ongoing series, each month we will be highlighting a different selection of favorites from our team of staff writers and contributors. Monthly selections will alternate, varying on different kinds of topics — from actors, to film scores, to noteworthy moments — giving students the space to discuss, recommend, and praise as they please.

As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to dedicate a space for writers to discuss some of the films that were not written about last year. Ranging from low fi horror sensations to esteemed international auteur cinema, these selections show what moved and captivated the Latent Images staff. Here’s to 2023!

Nope, 2022, dir. Jordan Peele, United States

Jordan Peele’s third feature only further cements his place in Hollywood as a brilliant creative mind with a knack for deeply effective horror and unforgettable theater experiences. The film follows two siblings, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer), who own a horse ranch in California’s arid, haunted inland empire. When they discover a UFO disguised behind a stationary cloud in the sky, following strange disappearances and otherworldly lapses in electricity, they aim to capture the unknown on camera. Meanwhile, child star turned theme park owner Ricky “Jupe” Clark (Steven Yeun) takes advantage of the desert’s alien superstar in other dangerously flashy ways. Peele proves his talent for orchestrating thrilling, arresting sequences, accompanied by terrifying visuals and, quite frankly, sound that you can feel, all coming together to create something profoundly unforgettable. In Nope, Peele both entrances us in and warns us of the addiction of spectacle, the endless chase towards a glimmer in the sky. – Karenna Umscheid

NOPE is currently streaming on Peacock. It can also be purchased or rented on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, Google Play, and Apple TV.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, 2022, dir. Laura Poitras, United States

Laura Poitras’s emotional and probing documentary finds famed photographer Nan Goldin at two points in her life: the late and most recent stage of her career in which she protests the Sackler family and the predatory nature of the pharmaceutical industry, and her adolescence and beginnings as an artist. While similar to other films of the genre (last year’s Navalny shares a similar restriction to portraying the main subject’s life), Poitras finds the nuances and conflicts in Goldin’s life with sensitivity and intimacy that prove emotionally stirring. One of the best decisions employed by Poitras is to frame several excerpts and collections of Goldin’s photography throughout the film, as a way to show Goldin’s talent and drive as an artist as well as document the circumstances that influenced her work. Images of downtown New York and penetrative depictions of sex are together with home videos and reporting of the Sackler family protests, creating a culmination of alienation, vulnerability, and anger. Poitras approaches this subjectivity with graceful control and pacing and All the Beauty and the Bloodshed feels like a marvelous achievement as a result. Among the numerous accolades and nominations accrued from critics and awards bodies, Poitras’s film was the winner of the Golden Lion at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. – Julian Hart

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is currently being shown in cinemas.

The Banshees of Inisherin, 2022, dir. Martin McDonagh, Ireland

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as two friends drifting apart. McDonagh paints a beautiful vision of Ireland detached from the bloodshed of the civil war. As if it were a folk tale told around a campfire, McDonagh writes Gleeson’s Colm to no longer want to be friends with Farrell’s Pádraic. Such a sudden and surprising decision, Pádraic can not help but question Colm why. Colm gives no definitive answer other than that he is too dull. Stellar performances from Gleeson, Farrell, Barry Keoghan, and Kerry Condon (who plays Pádraic’s sister Siobhán). Farrell, especially, does not even need a line to show the range of sadness he can portray through Pádraic. There can be no greater pain than losing someone and having to see and live with them on a small island off the coast of Ireland. Farrell’s pain and sorrow strikes through the core leaving the audience feeling the same. The civil war as a backdrop only heightens the tension with Gleeson’s Colm failing to realize that his fellow Irishmen, such as Pádraic, should be met with love not alienation. – Aidan Collins

The Banshees of Inisherin is currently streaming on HBO Max. It can also be rented or purchased on Youtube, Apple TV, Vudu, Redbox, and Google Play.

The Northman, 2022, dir. Robert Eggers, United States

Robert Eggers, who has gifted the world The Witch and The Lighthouse, brings us The Northman, one of the most faithful adaptations that the screen has seen yet. Out with the Shakespearans and in with the barbarians – who could know the inspiration of our melancholic prince was a blood-thirsty, brutish berserker? After years of warring and conquering, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård), a prince in exile, returns to his homeland to avenge his father, who has died at his uncle’s hand. Ever so rarely a film honors its source material with such thorough reverence! From the swing of an ax to the Valkyries’ night ride, The Northman screams Norse legend with its every fiber; an epic drama that makes you want to take off your cloth and go fight a bear barehand. – Richard Zheng

The Northman is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased or rented on YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, Google Play, and Apple TV.