Fast Scans | Top Foreign & Indie Picks To Note, Dec. 2022

Top foreign and indie picks this month include thrillers and dramas addressing a plane crash and labor relations.

Top foreign and indie picks this month include thrillers and dramas addressing a plane crash and labor relations. 

Black Box (Boîte Noire). 129 min. In French w/English subtitles. Distrib Films. 2021. DVD UPC 854565003866. $26.99. THRILLER

Tasked with solving the cause of a new aircraft’s deadly crash, black box analyst Mathieu (Pierre Niney) applies his considerable auditory skills to deciphering the scrambled sound on the cockpit voice recorder. Calling to mind similarly themed films, such as The Conversation and Blow Out, cowriter-director Yann Gozlan raises the possibility of a conspiracy to cover up a design flaw in the plane by a bottom line–focused corporation. Further muddying matters for the harried protagonist is a girlfriend who works for the suits. VERDICT For viewers seeking a thriller with meat on its bones.

The Good Boss (El Buen Patron). 116 min. In Spanish w/English subtitles. Cohen Media Group. 2021. DVD UPC 738329260828. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 738329260835. $29.99. DRAMEDY

The outwardly avuncular but cunning owner of a family-run company making industrial scales, Blanco (Javier Bardem) manages to finesse problems with his employees by whatever means necessary in order to secure a coveted business excellence award. Writer-director Fernando León de Aranoa’s tongue-in-cheek send-up of contemporary labor relations certainly benefits from Bardem, whose onscreen charisma tips the scale in his character’s favor despite his problematic behavior. VERDICT Admirers of the Oscar-winning Bardem will want to sign on.

Miracle. 118 min. In Romanian w/English subtitles. Film Movement. 2021. DVD UPC 850021115760. $24.99. DRAMA

Young novice Cristina (Ioana Bugarin) sneaks out of her rural convent for a cab ride to a medical appointment in a nearby city. Returning, she bypasses her prior cabbie for another—a fateful decision that ends in her brutal rape. Enter policeman Marius (Emanuel Parvu), who seems personally invested in bringing Cristina’s assailant to justice. Director Bogdan George Apetri takes a minimalist approach with tight point-of-view shots that keep the assault out of sight but not out of earshot. VERDICT For viewers who prefer mysteries that are not tied up with ribbons and bows.

Resurrection. 104 min. IFC Films. 2022. DVD UPC 014381151848. $27.99; Blu-ray UPC 014381151855. $28.99. THRILLER 

A corporate executive and single mom raising a college-bound daughter (Grace Kaufman), Margaret (Rebecca Hall) unexpectedly runs into the girl’s father (Tim Roth), a long-estranged abuser whose reappearance brings back memories of a lost baby son. Writer-director Andrew Semans, at times, strains credulity in pursuit of a story line that blurs the distinction between reality and delusion, but the ever-riveting Hall compensates with her compelling realization of a woman spiraling out of control. VERDICT The horror film elements will require viewers to have strong stomachs.

Sin Nombre (Without Name). 96 min. In Spanish w/English subtitles. Universal. 2009. Blu-ray UPC 810103685123. $24.49. Rated: R. DRAMA

In search of a better life, a Honduran family that includes teenage daughter Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) hops a northbound freight train and crosses paths with Willy, aka “El Casper” (Edgar Flores), a conflicted Mexican gang member escaping his group. Forging a bond, Casper and Sayra continue on a perilous journey to the Rio Grande. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation; No Time To Die) makes a bold feature-film debut with this harrowingly realistic yet expressive story of survival. VERDICT Must-see viewing about the desperate plight of many immigrants.

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