The AU Review’s Best Films of 2023

In a year that was ruled by Barbenheimer and mortally wounded the once-unstoppable superhero genre, 2023 definitely saw audiences shift their minds (and money) towards more original content.  Perhaps an indication as to where the industry should place its focus, The AU’s best of list similarly echoes the sentiment that bigger doesn’t always mean better, franchise fatigue is real (save for a few minor exceptions), and, honestly, we’re all still just living in Margot Robbie’s world.  In alphabetical order, here’s The AU Review’s Best Films of 2023.


Telling a story with an ending we’re already aware of and centred around a subject that could be considered mundane to many, Ben Affleck‘s strength as a director – and enthusiastic support player – is on full display in Air, an immensely humorous, consistently riveting and passionate drama about the basketball league’s greatest ever player and the shoe line that redefined sneaker culture.

Read our full review HERE.

All of Us Strangers

Comforting as much as it is distressing, All of Us Strangers is ultimately a film that needs to be experienced and uncovered.  The dance that Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal perform throughout should resonate with anyone who longs to be held and understood, but can’t break past their own fear of intimacy.  It’s all the words left unspoken.  All the answers never received, or the ones you may not want to hear.

All of Us Strangers was originally reviewed as part of our Brisbane International Film Festival coverage.  It is scheduled for release in Australian theatres on January 18th, 2024. Read our full review HERE.


As the marketing itself claimed that this is a film for those who both “love” and “hate” Barbie, it’s a statement that actually very much sums up its mentality.  Yes, visually the film indulges in the pink aesthetic associated with the doll, but the colours in which its personality is shaded with stretch far beyond.  Whilst those that “hate” Barbie may enjoy the fact that it calls out the doll’s unrealistic view of women from a physical standpoint, and will probably find themselves oddly drawn to Ken’s narrative, the film ultimately loves Barbie (and women), and celebrates her positivity with a beautiful, realistic lens.

Read our full review HERE.


Visceral and feral, Birdeater blends its topical commentary on separation anxiety and fragile masculinity with an almost hallucinatory mentality.  Its intrusive editing and claustrophobic camera shots further highlight Jim Weir and Jack Clark’s stronghold on genre execution, resulting in a truly horrific vision that revels in its uncompromising temperament.

Birdeater was originally reviewed as part of our Brisbane International Film Festival coverage.  It is scheduled for release in Australia in 2024 through Umbrella Entertainment. Read our full review HERE.

John Wick: Chapter 4

A series that has continually defied expectation since its humble (in comparison) beginning, John Wick: Chapter 4 somehow retains the sense of basicness that led the original to such prominence, whilst layering itself with the operatic expansion of its near-video game-like ultimation.  Potentially the final combative hand of Mr. Wick himself, this chapter certainly allows the character to go out in suited style.

Read our full review HERE.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

With the Mission: Impossible films being one of the few franchises that seemingly improve with each sequel, Dead Reckoning Part One had a relative amount of pressure to succeed coming in.  Whilst we should never doubt the one-two punch of Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie, what they have conjured here is beyond expectation.  This is action executed to near-perfection, delicately balancing the thrills necessary for the genre with intelligent storytelling, neatly placed emotion, and an overall sense of humour that lets us an audience know that everyone here involved is aware of their popcorn temperament.

Read our full review HERE.


There’s no taking away from Oppenheimer‘s impact as a piece of cinematic mastery.  Christopher Nolan continues to push the boundaries of feature storytelling in a way that transcends the flashy visuals he’s oft adhered to, here with a turbulent, immersive experience that speaks just as much to one man’s paranoia and blemishes as it does his untapped genius.

Read our full review HERE.

Past Lives

There’s such a grace to how Celine Song navigates this story.  Past Lives asks deep, philosophical questions on will vs fate and if change benefits our character or merely hides us from who we truly are.  But such is its beauty that the answers lay in one’s own concept of reality, something perfectly and distressingly encapsulated in the film’s final, masterful scene that explodes with an understated shattering.  However ambiguous Past Lives may seem here, it speaks to the assured competence of Song, a filmmaker entirely in control of her artistry and our sentimentality as viewers who can’t help but surrender to this story’s tragic beauty.

Read our full review HERE.

Poor Things

An enormity of a movie with a deeply intimate core, Poor Things looks at our basic impulses and desires as human beings and how there’s a beauty in the honesty as to how we view the world we actually live in; a world, as Yorgos Lanthimos likes to remind us, that’s dirty, tragic, and gloriously twisted.

Poor Things was originally reviewed as part of our Brisbane International Film Festival coverage.  It is scheduled for release in Australian theatres on December 26th, 2023. Read our full review HERE.


A film best left untainted so viewers can truly experience the descent into blackly comedic tragedy for themselves, Saltburn may flirt with narrative familiarity, but it plays out in a manner that many will be unprepared for.  And, in true Emerald Fennell fashion it’s the ending that will generate the most conversation.  Though perhaps less of a controversial exchange than how her Promising Young Woman wrapped itself up, Saltburn, nonetheless, undresses itself and indulges in the mentality of having “the last laugh”.  It’s sexy.  It’s funny.  It’s tragic.  It’s Saltburn.

Read our full review HERE.

Scream VI

Utilising the potential of its New York setting to the best of its ability, injecting serious emotion amongst the brutality, and delighting in the twisted mentality of sweeping the rug out from under us so it can stab us repeatedly, Scream VI is the finest and freshest the franchise has felt since its original 1-2 punch of the 1996 original and its 1997 sequel.  Where some sequels jump the shark or overstay their welcome, Scream VI drinks off its fresh blood and presents itself as if it’s just getting started.

Read our full review HERE.

Talk To Me

Fair to say inspired by the likes of Evil Dead and FlatlinersTalk To Me sees directing duo Danny & Michael Philippou announce their horror inclinations in a particularly bold fashion, doubling down on the cruelty that can be found within the genre, smattering it with a healthy dash of relatable humour, before tying it with a throughline of grief and trauma.

Read our full review HERE.

Peter Gray

Seasoned film critic. Gives a great interview. Penchant for horror. Unashamed fan of Michelle Pfeiffer and Jason Momoa.