Jesse Eisenberg reminded everybody about just what he good actor he can be with his World War II drama Resistance in which he played mime Marcel Marceau.
29. 23 WALKS
While it could have easily become just another ‘oldie romance’ 23 Walks went that step further and explored how many families and the Government cast aside the elderly.
28. WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS
You don’t normally expect to see a young adult film make a best films of the year list but Words On Bathroom Walls is not your typical young adult film – great visuals mean this film will stick in the mind of its audience for a long time to come.
27. JUST MERCY
Hard-hitting and dramatic Just Mercy had the same impact on me as movies such as Mississippi Burning.
26. HONEY BOY
Shia LaBeouf not only reminded the world what a good actor he can be but also revealed his skills as a filmmaker with the hard-hitting Honey Boy.
I loved this movie for all the reasons that others hated it. It drew its audience in and then turned the world right upside down with a twist that nobody saw coming.
24. KNIVES OUT
An all star cast and even more important – a whodunnit that actually worked. Yep Rian Johnson’s films have made by Best Of Lists before… and he has done it again.
23. DARK WATERS
Mark Ruffalo was a standout in this courtroom drama that delivered a message that all should hear.
22. MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
An all star cast delivered in this under-rated crime thriller. This was a piece of Edward Norton brilliance.
21. USE ME
Part drama, part mockumentary Use Me is a film that deserved a lot more recognition than it ever received.
The mockumentary seems to be a long lost art form. For awhile they were a popular choice for filmmakers wanting to experiment a little with comedy. Films like Kenny made a big splash but now filmmaker Julian Shaw has just delivered a very ambitious project indeed. See Use Me is a mockumentary but it doesn’t deliver comedy – instead it is a thriller featuring a known online dominatrix Ceara Lynch.
To find out a little bit more about Use Me I recently caught up with Shaw while he was in Sydney to promote the film. We started off by discussing where the idea for the film originally came from.
“You know where it came from was I was looking to do a documentary series about internet entrepreneurs ,” he explains. “I was pitching to the ABC because they were looking for series and then I accidentally came across Ceara Lynch through a pirated Youtube clip and there was just something about her that intrigued me. I wanted to know more so I went to her website and my mind was kind of blown. I was kind of familiar with the fetishes that she dealt with but there were things I didn’t know about like financial domination… I didn’t really know about the more extreme kind of fetishes. So that intrigued me.”
“Then there was the fact that she had so much charisma,” he says continuing. “She had real star power and I just thought there was something so intelligent about how she constructed this whole persona so I reached out to meet her and asked about doing an episode of this documentary series. So I went to Portland to film and then we both just knew that there was something bigger there… we knew that right away.”
The unusual nature of the film also seems to be causing a little bit of confusion for people who think that the film is real. “The honest truth is that nobody has been absolutely correct,” he says with a bit of a laugh. “Everybody has these really strong opinions on what is real and what is not. Some say that the first half of the film is a documentary and then he turned it into fiction. But it really isn’t like that at all. I mean it is constructed from the very first scene and I knew after about three days that I did not want to make a traditional documentary. I knew that I wanted to do something different because Seara screamed out for it. I mean her whole career blurs the line between reality and fantasy , you know she makes men’s fantasies come to life – she brings them into reality through a roleplay session.”
“So I thought if I do a regular documentary I am kind of missing out on an opportunity here,” he goes on to explain. “I realised there was something richer and weirder that I could do with a blend of truth and fiction that I thought would capture her and her world more accurately then a documentary would. And I’m not just trying to be cute I sincerely mean that. I think this fictionalised movie gets deeper into who she is and her world than a traditional documentary would have. So I knew early on that I was going to do it that way and she was a great subject right from the beginning. But honestly she is just a really well adjusted person who is pretty down to earth. I just didn’t see it working as a documentary because there was no conflict and she is very confident about her life choices. Not that I would want to make a movie about someone who is a victim of the sex industry or anything like that but you do that conflict that is going to drive it and hold people. In the end I just felt this was the better way to go. Take her reality and turn it on its head a little bit… that felt like the right way to go.”
After success overseas Shaw now can’t wait for Australians to get a chance to see Use Me as well. “I know it looks like a very sexy and titillating movie when you look at the poster or the trailer but this is a movie that does have a heart,” he says. “It does have a through line through it and I think that maybe people who are dragged along to against their will and were like ‘oh I didn’t want to see some movie about some fucking dominatrix bitch from the internet’ will watch the movie and become invested in it. I’ve seen people shedding tears in the cinema watching it so there is more to the film than it seems. Yes it is a sexy thrill ride but I think it is an emotional film as well. I just can’t wait for Aussies to watch it because this is where I grew up, this is home.”
Use Me is available on several streaming platforms right now.