Top Foreign & Indie Picks Feature Vigilante Tales and Crime Thrillers | Fast Scans

Top foreign and indie picks include surprising thrillers, nuanced crime dramas, and complicated adoption tales. 

Everything Went Fine. 113 min. In French & German w/English subtitles. Cohen Media Group. 2021. DVD UPC 738329262594. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 738329262686. $29.99. DRAMA

After a stroke leaves him partially paralyzed, André (André Dussollier) feels ready to die, and it’s up to his two middle-aged daughters—primarily Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau)—to arrange for euthanasia. Despite some hard feelings from her upbringing, “Manny” makes peace with her father and honors his final wish. Cowriter and director François Ozon admirably eschews the moralizing and histrionics that often accompany such emotionally fraught material. VERDICT For audiences who can appreciate a non-judgmental thematic treatment.

Holy Spider. 118 min. In Persian w/English subtitles. Utopia/MVD. 2022. DVD UPC 760137125617. $19.95; Blu-ray UPC 760137125600. $24.95. DRAMA

Journalist Arezoo Rahimi (Zar Amir-Ebrahimi) poses as a sex worker in the holy Iranian city of Mashhad to lure a serial killer (Mehdi Bajestani) who’s on a personal jihad to “cleanse” the city of all prostitution. Inspired by the real story of the Spider Killer, who strangled 16 women two decades ago, cowriter-director Ali Abbasi’s disturbing dramatization of a self-appointed judge and executioner embraced by supportive citizenry garnered a nomination for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or. VERDICT Not for the fainthearted, this vigilante tale is chillingly matter-of-fact.

On the Edge (Entre la vie et la mort). 100 min. In French & Spanish w/English subtitles. Kino Lorber. 2022. Blu-ray UPC 738329262501. $29.99. THRILLER

Brussels subway driver Leo Castañeda (Antonio de la Torre) is on duty the night his estranged son falls onto the tracks. Learning of the troubled teen’s complicity in a bloody heist, Leo goes after the organizing criminals with a vengeance while throwing off a pursuing cop (Marine Vacth) and her supervisor (Olivier Gourmet). Offering some surprises in a well-worn genre, writer-director Giordano Gederlini puts his possessed protagonist in a tensely threatening milieu without telegraphing plot points. VERDICT For hip audiences who don’t like (or need) spoon-feeding.

One False Move. 105 min. Criterion. 1992. Blu-ray UPC 715515285810. $39.95. Rated: R. DRAMA

Small-town Arkansas police chief Dale “Hurricane” Dixon (Bill Paxton) is tasked with helping two Los Angeles cops pursue a pair of murderous drug dealers (Billy Bob Thornton and Michael Beach) and their accomplice (Cynda Williams), who gave birth to Dixon’s child two decades ago. Class and race divisions among the participants complicate already charged matters in Carl Franklin’s (Devil in a Blue Dress) debut feature, here given a 4K restoration and deluxe reissue. VERDICT More nuanced than the typical crime drama, this near-classic is a keeper for genre fans.

Return to Seoul. 115 min. In Korean & French w/English subtitles. Sony. 2022. DVD UPC 043396632165. $23.49; Blu-ray UPC 043396632172. $29.99. Rated: R. DRAMA

Adopted by a French couple, Korean-born Frederique (“Freddie”) goes to Seoul after 25 years to locate her biological parents. After meeting her father, Freddie rejects his possessiveness. Seven years later, Freddie finally reconnects with her mother but doesn’t pursue further contact until it’s too late. Ji-Min Park makes a remarkable acting debut as the impulsive adoptee in writer-director Davy Chou’s emotionally complicated consideration of identity. VERDICT Shortlisted for an Oscar nomination, this film should be adopted by libraries offering serious fare.


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