Best Movies 2020

The Best Movies of 2020: Iain’s Top 3

Dept. of Retrospectives and Reminisces


2020 has been a hell of a year, maybe not the best year for Goggler’s first full year in operation, but we have managed to keep going through the pandemic while being lucky enough to be still have jobs that almost seamlessly transitioned to working from home full time. We already write about movies from home; yay! No cinemas are open to watch movies; boo!

While cinemas have been closed at various times, worldwide, we’ve also been lucky enough to catch many of the year’s biggest (and not so big) releases on the big screen, to supplement our now regular diet of streaming screeners.

With that said there are plenty of highly anticipated movies (No Time To Die, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and of course Dune!!!) that we didn’t get to see and still have no idea when, or where, we’ll get to watch them. There’s also an alarmingly long list of movies that we just couldn’t get around to thanks to our schedules or to global licensing agreements making them just not available easily (and legally) in Malaysia.

As with any end of year lists, these are entirely my choices, utterly arbitrary, immune to prosecution, final until I decide otherwise, and no correspondence will be entered into.

Here are my top three movies for the year, along with some honourable (and not so honourable) mentions.

3. Unhinged/Deliver Us From Evil

Best Movies 2020

I hate doing these lists (I can never decide what goes where) so I’m breaking the format immediately. So sue me.

While I always attempt to force my expectations to a baseline level going into any movie, I get a special kind of buzz when a film not only flips my expectations, but acknowledges the tropes of the genre they are in, and then builds on top of those to craft something new/enjoyable, rather than just retread the same old tropes from other movies.

All the movies in my list do this to one extent or another but these two blew me away.

Russell Crowe gave a delightfully demented performance in Unhinged, but the film was more than just a psycho killer rip-off.

If Unhinged was Jaws, then Crowe’s “Man” (as he is credited) would be the shark. His Chief Brody? Rachel (Caren Pistorius), a soon to be divorcée who is trying, and failing, to hold her life together. Rachael commits the cardinal sin of breaking some unwritten rule in Crowe’s book on how life should be. On not being civil. In her case it’s honking her car horn too aggressively as he sits through the green light at a traffic light, making her even later in dropping her son Kyle off at school.

Her punishment is to be hounded relentlessly by Crowe. So he can make her understand what “a bad day” really is.

My review of Unhinged

Similarly with Korean crime actioner Deliver Us from Evil (다만 악에서 구하소서/Daman Akeseo Goohasoseo), I did not expect what appeared to be a moody crime drama about a retiring hitman’s attempts to rescue a kid, erupt into an ultra stylish, ultra stylized, balls to the wall, highly inventive action film, with an absolutely magnetic villain. And that was before the literal sparks started to fly as people fought with knives. Well worth seeking out.

The obvious comparisons here are with John Wick, Taken, and The Equalizer. But unlike those movies, which are relentlessly edited to keep you fevered and gasping, director Hong finds the time to let his movie breathe. This is as much a character piece as it is an action movie. Yes, there is extensive bloodshed, unrelenting cruelty, and some highly improbable action arrangements, but Deliver Us from Evil also makes sure that you’re emotionally invested in these characters so you feel every gunshot and knife wound.

Our Deliver Us From Evil review

2. Tenet

Best Movies 2020

Overambitious, too similar to Nolan’s past work, not similar enough to Nolan’s past work, too complex, too badly explained, not complex enough. Plenty of complaints have been hurled at Christopher Nolan’s latest, but probably the cruelest role thrust upon Tenet was as apparent saviour of theatres. I didn’t care.

The feeling as I slowly realized what Nolan was doing, that the film was definitely veering into time travel territory and doing something novel with it, gave me the same buzz as when I first realised Stranger Things was going to be about parallel universes and actual monsters (as opposed to human ones). Puzzling over the sequence of the films events after the first viewing, then trying to confirm them in my second, was a great experience this year. More films should trust their audiences as much.

” Tenet is one of those films that feels like something truly new and one that I was completely enthralled by, while borrowing heavily from old favorites. This is the kind of cinema experience I crave. “

My Tenet Review

(If you still have questions about Tenet, check out our Tenet: Ending Explained article.)

1. The Invisible Man

Best Movies 2020

As you might have gathered already, I crave surprise in the cinema, while appreciating the old! Entirely new experiences or new spins on old material, The Invisible Man, gave me all that and was absolutely gripping. Viewing the whole invisibility concept from a different perspective was a stroke of genius and Elizabeth Moss’ performance like she is slowly losing her mind over what was going on was perfect. I’ll never feel safe in a crowded restaurant again.

“It’s a credit to writer/director Whannel’s script and direction, that he manages to deliver a tense, hugely enjoyable and surprising thriller, without resorting to jump scares. He also manages to avoid almost every pitfall of the thriller genre that usually results in audiences rolling their eyes in frustration.”

My review of The Invisible Man

Honorable Mentions

Wolfwalkers (AppleTV+)

With an enchanting animation style, and a story rich in Irish history that eschews all the usual stereotypes, amazing voice performances from its young cast, and an absolutely banging theme song that still resonates in my head, Wolfwalkers is a great watch for all the family.

I’m running with the wolves tonight
I’m running with the wooooooooolves…..

Greyhound (AppleTV+)

Along with The Liberator, Greyhound on Apple TV+ gave us an old fashioned, naval war movie that delivered on the tension and excitement of being hunted by a pack of German U-boats.

Take a seat Tom , you’ve earned it, and change your shoes.

Enola Holmes (Netflix)

I hadn’t expected much form yet another take on Sherlock Homes mythos, but this was a fun, exciting breath of fresh air. Millie Bobbie Brown proves she can go all the way to eleven, and far, far beyond, as the charming lead of a great cast, and the fight choreography implemented a strategy to counter having your head shoved under water that I’d always wondered about.

Here’s hoping it was enough for a success for Netflix/anyone to make many more adventures in this mould.


Topping of the list of films I NEEDED to see this year but didn’t get around to either due to timing or availability:

  • Possessor
  • Relic
  • First Cow
  • The Nest
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound Of Metal
  • Mogul Mowgli
  • Small Axe

…and finally

Movies I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on and done something more productive instead, like watch paint dry.

Happy New Year, wishing you the very best in 2021, for you and yours, from all of us here at Goggler.

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

Previous Story

Staycation Binge List: Short Runs

Next Story

Star Trek: Discovery – Season 3, Episode 11 Recap: “Su'Kal”

Latest from Listicle