Roll, roll! The BFI London Film Festival is back for 2022 – and it’s packed full of must-see films. This year’s edition of Britain’s biggest film festival features a comprehensive selection of some of the most anticipated films of the coming months, returning authors and stunning new talent.
Are you overwhelmed by the selection? Well, it’s worth combing through the full lineup to find a few of the hidden gems – but Empire has a few suggestions. Whether you’re looking for murder mysteries, biting comedies, stunning animations, sickening satires or gripping dramas, there’s something for everyone here. Read our pick of 10 must-watch movies below – and head over here to find the full lineup and collect remaining tickets.
Glass onion: a mystery at loggerheads
Who’s ready for more foul play? Rian Johnson is back with another original thriller – this time a murder mystery set at a lavish murder mystery party. Knives out was a hugely entertaining and cleverly written delight that pulled the rug out from under audiences at regular intervals, and by all accounts Johnson pulled it off again with the twist, spin Glass Onion – featuring more of Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc, and a new all-star cast including Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick and more.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh is back – and he pulled off a In Brugge reunion with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. His latest is a dark comedy-drama set in 1920s Ireland starring Farrell and Gleeson as Pádraic and Colm, whose lifelong friendship comes to an abrupt end when Colm cuts all ties with his former friend without apparently any explanation. Expect quintessentially sharp McDonagh writing, a Jenny the Donkey stage turn, and genuine bittersweetness in a breakup kind of movie.
Decision to leave
Darkly funny, character-rich and oddly romantic, Park Chan-wook’s latest film finds him in excellent shape – presenting a tale of death, obsession and lifelong passions. Coming from the director of Old boy and The servantit’s a powerful combination – and while perhaps more meditative than those films, Decision to leave is always gripping, elegant and deeply involving, unraveling the relationship that develops between detective Hai-jun (Park Hae-il) and a widower (Tang Wei) who is suspected in the murder of her own husband.
Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro
The director of Pan’s Labyrinth take on one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time? Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro seems like a perfect marriage of man and material, all crafted in gorgeous stop-motion for del Toro’s first-ever animated feature. Co-directed by Mark Gustafson, del Toro’s version of Carlo Collodi’s fable is set against the backdrop of 1930s Fascist Italy, with a visual style informed by Gris Grimly’s beloved illustrations – and a cast of voices including Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Ron Perlman, Cate Blanchett, Christoph Waltz and Tim Blake Nelson. A must-have without commitment.
With each film, Florence Pugh continues to prove she’s an amazing talent – and her latest starring role comes in Sebastián Lelio’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel. Set in rural Ireland, Pugh plays Lib Wright, a woman brought in to observe Anna – a girl who claims not to have eaten for four months, and yet seemingly in full health. With a cast including Niamh Algar, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds and Tom Burke, this one is stacked with talent in front of and behind the camera.
bones and all
The last time director Luca Guadagnino teamed up with Timothée Chalamet, they did call me by your name. Taking all of that film’s raw feelings and mixing them with raw meat, their latest collab is a cannibalistic love story in which Chalamet’s Lee and Taylor Russell’s Maren go on a bloody road trip across America for years. 80. Guadagnino’s films are always beautifully made — as long as you can stomach his stomach-pumping tendencies as he heads into horror territory.
triangle of sadness
This sickening satire on wealth won the Palme d’Or at Cannes – about a boatload of rich and beautiful people (including Harris model Carl Dickinson and his girlfriend Yaya, played by Charlbi Dean) whose journey of luxury leaves them shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island. With its puking centerpieces and wicked sense of humor, it’s a show to watch with a big crowd.
The good nurse
Adapting the story of serial killer Charlie Cullen, director Tobias Lindholm recruits two Oscar-winning actors to lead his story of murder and corruption in America’s healthcare system. Eddie Redmayne is Cullen, a seemingly empathetic nurse who arouses Amy’s suspicions from Jessica Chastain – a colleague who suspects him of several patient deaths. Lindholm has previously made A diversionwhile the screenplay comes from award winner Krysty Wilson-Cairns – oh, and this one is the Empire gala.
My Father’s Dragon
The Cartoon Saloon animators never fail – and their follow-up to wolf walkers is this beautiful and wholesome fantasy tale about runaway kid Elmer, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, who finds a friend in the friendly dragon Boris (stranger things‘ Gaten Matarazzo) and embarks on a thrilling and dangerous adventure on Wild Island. Cartoon Saloon’s distinctive animation style is stunning and made to be seen on the big screen – and with The breadwinner director Nora Twomey at the helm, this should be another belt from the Irish studio.
Ready for Paul Mescal to break your heart again? The normal people star returns in Charlotte Wells’ drama, about a young father vacationing with his daughter (Frankie Corio) in Turkey, drawn from Wells’ own childhood memories and told with real intimacy. With Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins producing and rave reviews from previous festival appearances, it’s another major work in Mescal’s rapid rise.