3 Best Movies To Watch After They/Them (2022)

The Spool Staff

Rogue Agent

In Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn’s spy thriller Rogue Agent, English actor James Norton plays Robert Hendy-Freegard. Or, more aptly, Norton plays every version of Hendy-Freegard — lovable, charming, terrifying, convincing, evil. Norton’s up to the task, and the film rewards a level of misunderstanding and a lack of knowledge about Hendy-Freegard and his history (he has already been made into a docuseries). With each passing moment, Norton becomes more persuasive, more potent in his convictions, and more believable in his alleged employment as an MI5 agent constantly on the run.   Continue Reading →

Indemnity

As Fantasia draws to a close, we're catching up on some of the smaller films from the fest before they slip from our fingers into the Montreal air. First up is Indemnity, a surprisingly lean and confident (albeit familiar) action thriller from South Africa's Gambit Films, proof positive that the most interesting action pictures are coming from places outside Hollywood. At its core, it's a meat-and-potatoes conspiracy caper At the center of Indemnity is a traumatized firefighter named Theo Abrams (Jarrid Geduld), still reeling from the mental anguish and PTSD that came from a particularly bad blaze that killed several people around him. Meanwhile, his wife Angie (Nicole Fortuin), an investigative journalist, gets wrapped up in a conspiracy involving defense contractors and shadowy government figures -- and despite failed warnings, she ends up dead in their bed one morning, with Theo suddenly becoming the prime suspect. From there, Theo goes on the run, becoming a tense mix of John Wick and Harrison Ford in The Fugitive, smashing and crashing his way through setpieces and plot beats that would feel familiar to anyone raised on 1990s Hollywood action films. But despite this familiarity, there's a certain charm to Indemnity that makes its pastiche sing a bit more than you'd expect. Maybe it's the committed performance from Geduld (who handles his choreography with a bruiser's brutality), or the comparatively homespun nature of the production. Indemnity does a lot with a little; it clearly doesn't have Hollywood's resources, but it uses those limitations in uniquely charming ways. Dustups in prison vans and elevators have a wincing vitality that only seems to come when a film feels like it's putting its actors in real danger. Continue Reading →

The Novice

SimilarBlood and Chocolate (2007),
Watch afterLicorice Pizza (2021),
MPAA RatingR

Isabelle Furhman's relentless lead performance as an obsessive aspiring athlete propels the Tribeca rowing drama forward. “Rhythm is everything,” a crew coach tells Alex (Isabelle Fuhrman) at one point during The Novice, which won awards for best U.S. narrative feature, actress, and cinematography at the Tribeca Festival this week. The coach could well be explaining how this movie, about a college student with an obsessive drive to be the best at varsity rowing, differentiates itself from Black Swan (the movie about a young woman with an obsessive drive to be the best at ballet) or Whiplash (the movie about a young man with an obsessive drive to be the best at jazz drumming) or The Social Network (the movie about a college student with an obsessive drive to be the best at something, even if it winds up destroying the world, in part because there’s no way that he can row crew)—all of which The Novice resembles in content, and sometimes form. Writer-director Lauren Hadaway’s rhythm is her own, distinct from Darren Aronofsky’s, David Fincher’s, and Damien Chazelle’s, the triumvirate of dude directors who made those previous, excellent studies in obsession. Perhaps informed by her own college rowing experience, Hadaway keys into a relentless push-pull, especially as Alex drives herself further, further, and further still before picking herself up off the floor. Continue Reading →