★★★★☆ American director Darren Aronofsky has made a career out of exploring individuals who are physically and psychologically self-destructing in the throes of obsession. It could be the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle; building a boat to avoid a genocidal flood; ballet or wrestling; drugs or food.
★★☆☆☆ After his girlfriend is killed in a brutal attack, former boxer and paramedic Jan (Milan Ondrík) falls into profound despair. Exploring themes of guilt, masculinity and justice, boxing-inflect crime film from Slovakian director Peter Bebjak shows much promise, but fails to coalesce into a coherent vision.
★★★☆☆ Bulgarian documentarian Andrey Paounov turns his hand to fiction in this adaptation of Yordan Radichkov’s 1974 play. January is an intriguing, eerie, ponderous narrative set entirely within the confines of a forest cabin. Religious allegories, monochrome photography and folk horror trappings ensue.
In 2022, Netflix promised to have fifty video games available to its subscribers by the end of the year. To its great credit, the streaming platform managed to achieve that lofty goal, despite ending a year still struggling from a massive stock crash that saw a third of its value wiped off in a single day.
★★★☆☆ Five years on from his neo-Scandi fairytale Border, Ali Abbasi returns with a noirish serial killer thriller. As we have come to expect from the Iranian-born director, Holy Spider combines genre thrills with social commentary, though its balance isn’t quite as finely tuned as much of his previous work.