The future of guerrilla warfare—waged by young people who barely understand themselves, much less their opponents—comes to life in Alejandro Landes’s atmospheric stunner, a movie that confronts the viewer like no other this year. Its churning, keening synth score by Mica Levi (Under the Skin, Jackie) confirms her as an all-time giant.
Didn’t see something you truly loved in 2019? You weren’t looking hard enough. Rarely have 12 months contained so much vitality, from old pros and young punks alike. Increasingly, film fans grapple with the delivery device: Netflix continues to attract major auteurs even as the big-screen experience gets deprioritized. Still, an international language was being spoken loudly and proudly by Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and Céline Sciamma’s fiercely cinematic Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Movie after movie, the ambition was stuck at an impossibly high place. Here are 20 times when the end results were just as stellar—and trust us, we could have gone longer.