• Escape Film Club

ESC's Top 20 Films of 2021


2021 has been a crazy and huge year for cinema. On and off the big screen, we've been treated to new and creative stories that have captured our imagination and helped us to escape. Here are our top 20 films from 2021 based on UK cinema and digital releases. List and reviews by Jack Aling.


20) LITTLE FISH

A reflective film that makes you appreciate the memories you have and the lengths people will go to preserve them. READ THE FULL REVIEW





19) PETITE MEMAN

Such a comforting experience - it's not here to provide any answers but simply to lend a helping hand when you need it the most. READ THE FULL REVIEW





18) CODA

With a charismatic and warming cast at the centre of its personable story, CODA shows a different perspective from a place of sympathy, not pity. READ THE FULL REVIEW




17) THE SPARKS BROTHERS

You get immersed in the world of Sparks as their story continuously shifts which makes for a documentary that pushes the boundaries and celebrates individuality. READ THE FULL REVIEW




16) JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

A devastating look at the impact of a revolution, this is a film that's talent will exhilarate you and story will shake you to your core. READ THE FULL REVIEW




15) TICK, TICK...BOOM!

Jonathan Larson's story is an aching reminder to never take the day for granted and this adaptation of his work is a faithful and touching look at his life. READ THE FULL REVIEW




14) MALIGNANT

This great horror continuously subverts expectations with sheer confidence in its outrageous plot that becomes so ludicrous that it somehow wraps back around to being fantastic. READ THE FULL REVIEW



13) SPENCER

Completely disappearing into the role with precise attention to detail to Diana's mannerisms, Kristen Stewart paints an exquisite picture of the centre of the storm. READ THE FULL REVIEW




12) C'MON C'MON

A therapeutic experience with wonderful lead performances, C'mon C'mon removes any distractions leaving the audience open for genuine reflection. READ THE FULL REVIEW




11) LAST NIGHT IN SOHO

Whisking us back to the sixties, this is not only a tribute to London but to the stylistic horrors that soak its gruesome scenes in vibrant colour. READ THE FULL REVIEW




10) DRIVE MY CAR

A wonderfully reassuring film that over its three-hour runtime addresses grief in such a natural and therapeutic way. READ THE FULL REVIEW





9) OUR FRIEND

A devastating and sincere celebration of life that is uplifting in its own bittersweet way, making you appreciate the people around you. READ THE FULL REVIEW





8) NOMADLAND

A soothing ride through Midwest America, Nomadland is an affectionately told story of independence set against the backdrop of vast and beautifully shot landscapes. READ THE FULL REVIEW




7) SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME

An ambitious, exhilarating and guaranteed audience pleaser that takes bold risks that pay off in a huge way. READ THE FULL REVIEW





6) DUNE

Signaling its arrival with Hans Zimmer's ethereal score, Dune overwhelms your senses with breathtaking visuals and booming sound design to fully immerse you in its vast world. READ THE FULL REVIEW



5) THE FATHER

Masterfully misdirecting the audience at every turn, this look at dementia through the eyes of Anthony Hopkins is one of his best performances of his long-standing career. READ THE FULL REVIEW



4) ANOTHER ROUND

Unexpectedly hard-hitting, this does a great job of managing the intoxicating highs and lows that come with drinking culture. READ THE FULL REVIEW





3) PALM SPRINGS

This fresh and exciting time-bending story is only elevated by the comedic timing and infectious energy of its cast. READ THE FULL REVIEW





2) TITANE

Forcing you kicking and screaming out of your comfort zone, this is an unforgettable experience that isn't afraid to shock and disgust. READ THE FULL REVIEW




1) SOUND OF METAL

Through devastatingly honest performances and immersive sound design, this is a story of acceptance despite inherently scary circumstances. READ THE FULL REVIEW



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