The Best Films of 2022


Eric Banks’ best films of 2022.

With so many fantastic films to choose from, it’s hard to pick just 10 standouts from 2022. I simply don’t have room to spotlight honorable mentions such as X, Three Thousand Years of Longing, and Turning Red. Rest assured, they’re all incredible films, but not quite strong enough to be considered 2022’s strongest cinematic offerings. 

#10. Bodies Bodies Bodies – dir. Halina Reijn 

What happens when a bunch of coked-up, spoiled-rotten social influencers are trapped in a murder mystery? You get Bodies Bodies Bodies, a surprisingly effective blend of horror, comedy, and stinging social satire. Providing outstanding work from the director’s chair, Halina Reijn deconstructs the framework of a slasher whodunnit to deliver a biting critique on GenZ narcissism. She twists the genre’s cliches to great comedic effect, all while getting outstanding performances from her game cast. Even Pete Davidson is tolerable. 

 #9. The Northman – dir. Robert Eggers 

Having somehow swindled 90 million dollars out of a big league Hollywood studio, arthouse auteur Robert Eggers delivered audiences a gruesome and unabashedly weird revenge epic like no one else could. Abandoning any notion of medieval honor for pure savagery, The Northman serves as a (much needed) reminder that vikings were nothing more than loathsome fearmongers. This is the kind of movie where our protagonist spends less time ruminating on the ethics of vengeance than he does beating a man to death with his bare hands. With an unhinged lead performance from Alexander Skarsgard, The Northman is brutal, bloody, and downright feral. It’s awesome. 

#8. Nope – dir. Jordan Peele

The third film from savant horror filmmaker, Jordan Peele, Nope only provides further evidence of his mastery of the craft. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya star as two Hollywood horse-wranglers desperate to use a UFO sighting for fame and fortune. Both a heartfelt love letter to the unsung heroes of the film industry and a biting commentary on how capital corrupts spectacle, Nope finds Peele creating imagery on a Spielbergian scale. This is his biggest movie so far, yet still showcases all of the wonderful idiosyncrasies that made him a director to watch out for. 

#7. Barbarian – dir. Zach Cregger  

In a year filled with outstanding horror, I never would have guessed that the best came from one of the minds behind Whitest Kids U Know. Nevertheless, no film put me on edge quite like Zach Cregger’s depraved schlock masterpiece Barbarian. Showing some real promise behind the camera, Cregger turns one woman’s Airbnb stay into an unpredictable thrill ride. Georgina Campbell and Justin Long deliver career-best work here, providing pathos to an already visually distinct film. Plus it’s funny as hell to boot. 

#6. The Batman – dir. Matt Reeves

We got a lot of comic book movies this year, but Matt Reeves’ The Batman was hands-down my favorite. Moody, gorgeously shot, and self-reflective in terms of its treatment of the Batman mythos, The Batman is quite possibly the caped crusader’s most pensive cinematic outing. Providing effective class commentary along with the sumptuous visuals, The Batman began a universe begging to be explored even further. 

#5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – dir. Rian Johnson

Knives Out is one of my favorite films of all time, so you can bet the sequel had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, Rian Johnson’s ambitious follow-up mostly met my lavish expectations. Johnson doubles down on everything that worked with the original, delivering a byzantine plot with unpredictable twists and turns. The entire cast is having the time of their lives, delivering hysterical performances perfectly in line with the film’s campy tone. Featuring marvelous set design and a dynamite script, Glass Onion is an unapologetically quirky murder mystery as funny as it is thrilling.  

#4. Puss In Boots: The Last Wish – dir. Joel Crawford 

The most recent entry on this list, and certainly the most surprising, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish has almost no reason to be as good as it is. Taking heavy inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns, director Joel Crawford delivers a long-delayed sequel that blows its predecessor out of the water. Every frame of this movie is pushed to its absolute limit in terms of style, each shot a painting. Boasting some of the best action of the year, The Last Wish is a thrilling motion picture that provides plenty of laughs along the way. 

#3. The Fabelmans – dir. Steven Spielberg 

As a lifelong fan of his work, I was pretty much guaranteed to like Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical reckoning with filmmaking. I was not expecting to love it. But alas, The Fabelmans proved to be one of Spielberg’s best in decades, boasting some of his most accomplished work as a filmmaker. This is a heartfelt, deeply moving portrait of someone who turns to cinema when everything else feels out of control. We’re not just watching a man share his origin story, we’re watching an artist try to understand a broken family. Featuring a breakout performance from Gabriel LaBelle along with Oscar-worthy work from Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans is an impeccably-scripted masterwork from one of our generation’s great entertainers.

#2. Everything Everywhere All At Once – dir. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert 

There has never been a movie like Everything Everywhere All At Once, and there likely never will be again. The Daniels’ deeply surreal genre-melting-pot of a movie is one of the most inventive pieces of media ever devised for the big screen. It’s a thrilling action extravaganza, an uproarious comedy, and a profoundly affecting drama about both the Chinese immigrant experience and existential depression. Logically, it shouldn’t work. But thanks to masterful direction and note-perfect performances from Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere walks its tonal tight rope with nothing less than pure cinematic grace. 

#1. The Banshees of Inisherin – dir. Martin McDonagh

After five years of radio silence, master Irish auteur Martin McDonagh returns to the big screen with The Banshees of Inisherin, delivering his strongest work in years. A melancholy masterpiece of tragic comedy, Banshees finds McDonagh peeling back the layers of human neurosis through a one-of-a-kind break-up story. The way his script illustrates how human beings define themselves through relationships is both funny and deeply thought provoking. And on a personal level, this film helped me come to terms with a lot of my own feelings and misgivings about old relationships. For that, Banshees of Insherin has my eternal gratitude, and will forever be my favorite film of 2022.