Get us in your inbox


The 15 best movies to see at the Tribeca Film Festival from now through closing night

Joshua Rothkopf
Written by
Joshua Rothkopf

The Tribeca Film Festival is in full swing—of course, you already knew that, because you've consulted our handy list of the 20 best movies to see, you've perused our five-star reviews of The Survivalist and In Transit, and you've taken a peek at the fest's best events. But there's still plenty of Tribeca left to experience: Even if you didn't score tickets to see Saturday's special closing-night presentation of a restored Goodfellas (long since sold out), you have tons of options. Here are 15 of them:

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival

Among the Believers The battles make the headlines, but the war for the future of Pakistan is being fought far beyond the reach of the public eye. Defined by its jaw-dropping access, Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s sobering new documentary drops viewers into the heart of an organization known as the Red Mosque, a network ofmadrassas that aims to spread its jihadist ideology by targeting the most vulnerable Pakistanis: lower-class children. Regal Battery Park; Fri 24 at 5:45pm • Bow Tie Chelsea; Sun 26 at 3:45pm

Being 14 It’s not the easiest age, we can all agree. In French director Hélène Zimmer’s catty yet quietly sympathetic drama, female junior-high-schoolers unleash a frightening amount of verbal pain on each other, nudging their squabbles into uncomfortable territory. Subtly, a theme emerges from the viciousness, indicting not the girls but the systemic peer pressure that occupies their every waking moment. (Lunkheaded, sex-obsessed boyfriends don’t help.) Allegiances flip with the seasons—your head will spin. Bow Tie Chelsea; Wed 22 at 6:45pm

The Birth of Saké Not too far-removed from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Erik Shirai’s The Birth of Saké is a contemplative portrait of a year inside Japan’s Tedorigawa saké brewery, a small company renowned for its elegance and finesse. Both atmospheric and informative, Shirai’s film looks for the small changes that define a vocation rooted in tradition. Regal Battery Park; Thu 23 at 5pm • Bow Tie Chelsea; Sun 26 at 3:30pm

Crocodile Gennadiy Captured in a Blade Runner–like Ukraine of decaying buildings and smoke-belching factories, Steve Hoover’s outraged documentary follows pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a furiously committed intervener who drags drug-addicted kids into clinics and confronts the pharmacists who sell them codeine. The film toys with notions of vigilantism (perhaps for fame), but the overall takeaway is complex. Galvanic, shaming and inspiring, this is the social-issue movie of the festival, with a nightmarish synth score co-composed by Gone Girl’s Atticus Ross. If Mokhnenko is at your screening, expect a deafening standing ovation. Regal Battery Park; Fri 24 at 8pm

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon Charting a transition from Harvard campus newsletter to a national brand that encompassed movies, albums, tours and books, Douglas Tirola’s upbeat doc on National Lampoon already feels essential for celebrating a hard-fought moment of American comic subversion. The gang, which included John Belushi, Harold Ramis and a brilliant team of writers and artists, lived hard and suffered consequences, but they went as far as they could go. Until the defunct magazine starts magically arriving in your mailbox again, this excellently titled pic will do nicely. Regal Battery Park; Fri 24 at 8:45pm

Hyena On the surface, this London-set crime thriller resembles many of its kind: a corrupt cop and his even shadier boss; brutal drug dealers; a helpless female victim of a sex-trafficking ring. But in his follow-up to his seedy 2009 serial-killer drama Tony, writer-director Gerard Johnson manages to put his own vivid stamp on familiar material, moving beyond dirty realism to a heightened intensity that’s appropriate for the misadventures of these coked-up bad lieutenants. Startling, claustrophobic and penetrating in its analysis of compromise, Hyena is the most powerful British crime flick since Sexy Beast. Bow Tie Chelsea; Thu 23 at 9:45pm, Fri 24 at 11:30pm

In My Father’s House Che “Rhymefest” Smith rose to fame after cowriting Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” but his own album flopped, and his career fizzled. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s documentary begins a few years later, as Smith returns to Chicago, buys his childhood home and tries to reconnect with the alcoholic dad who abandoned him as a kid. It may revolve around a semicelebrity, but In My Father’s House tells an all-too-relatable story about faith and fatherlessness in America. Bow Tie Chelsea; Thu 23 at 6pm

In Transit The last film from late, great vérité legend Albert Maysles, this gentle but (literally) moving doc takes you for a ride on the Empire Builder, Amtrak’s busiest long-distance route. Embedding themselves on the scenic three-day trip from the Pacific Northwest to Chicago, Maysles & Co. zero in on passengers from all walks of life. This short but sweet swan song is a fitting reminder that everyone has a story to tell. Bow Tie Chelsea; Fri 24 at 6:45pm

Men Go to Battle Inspired by letters from Kentucky’s Civil War era (and cowritten by House of Cards’ Kate Lyn Sheil), director Zachary Treitz’s absorbingly atmospheric indie springs off from the tension between a pair of testy brothers. At the onset of 1861’s harsh winter, they can’t keep their grubby farm going. The chickens drown in the rain, their fieldwork amounts to nothing, and they squabble and hurt each other. Eventually one leaves for the front lines, and a cast of authentic reenactors turns the movie into an immersive memorial to differing paths marked by blood. Bow Tie Chelsea; Wed 22 at 9:30pm

Palio Imagine a horse race that’s part Kentucky Derby and part Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and you’ll have a good idea what Italy’s Palio di Siena is all about. Director Cosima Spender’s handsome and mirthfully hilarious doc unpacks Siena’s most treasured biannual blood sport, bridging the gap between the Palio’s 17th-century origins and the colorful, merciless personalities who keep it alive today. Regal Battery Park; Wed 22 at 8pm, Sat 25 at 3:45pm

Requiem for the American Dream Were you expecting something more upbeat from political analyst Noam Chomsky? Interviewed over four years in a wide-ranging conversation that touches on power, money, democracy and his own career, 86-year-old Chomsky nails down a creeping but perceptible shift in societal thinking since the 1960s. His critique extends beyond left and right (or Democrat and Republican), resulting in a lucid analysis that’s breathtaking in its simplicity, and all the more scary for it. Bow Tie Chelsea; Sat 25 at 3pm

Sleeping with Other People If any one person is capable of saving the romantic comedy, odds are it’s Leslye Headland. The Bachelorette writer-director’s new opus is a New York story to the core, following two winsome but wounded Manhattanites (Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie) who have a chance encounter 10 years after losing their virginities to each other. Heartfelt, comfortably familiar and unusually honest, Sleeping with Other People is the rare rom-com that reminds us why we love them so much in the first place. Regal Battery Park; Wed 22 at 9:30pm, Sat 25 at 3:15pm

Slow West A hit at Sundance, John Maclean’s terse and casually weird revisionist Western is sure to be a Tribeca highlight. Slow West stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young Scottish lad who journeys across the American frontier in search of his lost love. Michael Fassbender plays the bounty hunter who becomes his father figure along the way. The doozy of an ending alone makes this one worth it. SVA Theatre; Fri 24 at 9:30pm • Regal Battery Park; Wed 22 at 8:30pm

The Survivalist A true festival discovery and a film that will shake you for days, Stephen Fingleton’s masterful feature debut, a postapocalyptic drama, has no charming heroes, quips, romance or leather outfits. It’s a tense chamber piece set in a European forest 10 years after the fall of civilization. (We learn from an elegantly simple graph only that demand overtook supply.) What plays out is brutal, arresting and, yet, essentially about the undying nature of hope and human contact. Fingleton’s world is a lushly green universe of ruined people trapped in the psychology of survival. You’ll leave completely rapt. Regal Battery Park; Sat 25 at 8:45pm

Very Semi-Serious For those of you who read The New Yorker for the illustrations, Leah Wolchok’s all-access look into the weird and wonderful world of cartoon editor Bob Mankoff will be a dream come true. In addition to exploring the history of the magazine’s iconic doodles, Wolchok’s doc is a warm and frequently hilarious portrait of the unique men and women who live for that rare moment when their drawings are printed in their business’ holiest book. Regal Battery Park; Thu 23 at 5:30pm  

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news