If I were to pick an actor who won 2022, it would be Colin Farrell. Principally, he had “The Banshees of Inisherin,” his latest collaboration with writer/director Martin McDonagh, for which he won the Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival. It’s a tender, funny, and beautiful performance that is perhaps the best of the actor’s career. On the other end of the spectrum, he played The Penguin in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” done up in mountains of prosthetics and delivers a tremendous amount of life and humor into a picture that desperately needed it.
The same weekend “The Batman” was released in theaters, Farrell appeared in a movie that couldn’t be more far afield from that picture. That was Kogonada’s sophomore feature “After Yang,” which made a truly depressing $46,872 at the domestic box office. Granted, A24 basically punted on this one entirely and quietly put it on Showtime, which is such a shame because it is one of the most beautiful films of 2022. And when I say beautiful, I mean it in every sense of the word. On a visual level, with its ever-changing aspect ratios and a production design that brings together elements of so many different cultures, “After Yang” presents a vision of the future that feels inventive without being affected and lived-in without feeling run down. The film explores memory, humanity, emotion, history, and identity in ways you wouldn’t ever expect, turning discussions about tea into some of the most emotionally affecting things you’ll experience cinematically all year. Almost more than any film this year, “After Yang” did not gets its due.
Plus, it has what is, without question, the greatest opening credits sequence of the year.