We live in an era where Disney dominates. Everyone knows it and no one disputes it. It’s hard to argue it when their seven releases a year causally break box office records. But with so many releases a year comes over saturation and cinephiles want more.
Enter A24. Founded in 2012 and releasing their first film A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III in 2013, along with 4 other movies. One of which was my introduction to the company, Spring Breakers. Although Spring Breakers wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, it was evident it was going for something that a film hasn’t done in a while. With an obscure plot and jarring visuals, it was hard to forget to say the least.
Now if I’m being honest, it wasn’t until 2015 that I took real notice of the company itself with the releases of Ex Machina and Room. Ex Machina caught my eye when I saw it’s trailer, while Room was getting rave reviews, pushing me to check it out. Both blew me away, not only in quality but originality. Ex Machina is a modern sci-fi tour de force while Room captured the hearts of millions with it’s driving gut punches and uplifting twists. It was a breath of fresh air amid all the superhero blockbusters.
In the company’s short lifespan of six years, it has acquired twenty-four Academy Award nominations. They also have a few notable wins under their belt, including 2017’s Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay (Moonlight), Best Actress ( Brie Larson in Room), Best Supporting Actor (Mashershala Ali in Moonlight), Best Visual Effects (Ex Machina), and Best Documentary Feature (Amy). Let’s be honest, the Academy does tend to highlight more artsy films in general, but these accolades speak for themselves for a productions company with such a short lifespan. Another notable fact is that A24 does tend to take chances on debuting first-time directors. They currently have 8 movies with rookie directors which shows the commitment they have to make something that truly is original.
Personally, I’ve seen fourteen of A24’s films including Spring Breakers, Locke, Ex Machina, Room, The VVitch, Green Room, The Lobster, Swiss Army Man, Moonlight, It Comes at Night, A Ghost Story, Good Time, The Florida Project, and Lady Bird. Among these films, I love six, like five, on the fence about two, and dislike one. That’s not a bad track record for one opinion. The point of listing the egocentric list of the films I like and dislike is originality and taking risks isn’t about hitting a home run every time. It’s about throwing your heart and soul out there with an original concept and crossing your fingers people watch it and like it.
It may seem I hate everything and anything to do with mainstream media and movies (I don’t), But when a company takes so many risks and pushes so many eccentric scripts to the big screen it’s hard not to take notice and marvel at the ones that transcend expectations. If I were to throw some recommends out there for first-time viewers, it would have to be Ex Machina, Room, Green Room, Moonlight, The Florida Project, and Lady Bird, most of which are streaming on the popular streaming services. The films that I either haven’t seen or are upcoming that are on my personal list to watch are Hereditary, Eight Grade, and Slice. Hopefully, A24 continues to get the recognition they deserve and grows bigger. In a world of constant two-hundred million dollar budgets for the next sequel, reboot, and remake, let’s hope the little guys and gals out there with a script and dream continue to make their films come to life.