Looking Back and Looking Forward: 2021

Clash of the titans: Legendary/Warner Bros

2021 was a better year than 2020 purely by virtue of big screen cinema being available for the majority of its months, so at least you could distract yourself more effectively from the world continuing collapse like a flan in a cupboard.

Following that cheery thought, and before I look to my top 20 films of 2021, I’ve picked 10 individual scenes I’ve yet to forget from this year’s cinematic offerings.

Best Scenes of 2021:

ANOTHER ROUND – Martin’s dance

Martin and his teacher friends have been on a journey of self-discovery and experimentation with alcohol, ending in tragedy for one of them, and an impromptu uninhibited let-it-all-out dance for Martin.

DUNE – Arriving on Arrakis

The House of Atreides land in their colossal ships on the resource-rich desert planet bequeathed to them by the Emperor and survey their new domain, with bonus space bagpipes accompaniment.


Faded performer Hugo tells aspiring drag queen Jamie his heartbreaking backstory of glitzy success and love in his youth cruelly ripped from him by the AIDS crisis in a heartbreaking musical montage.

GODZILLA VS KONG – Hong Kong clash

Godzilla and Kong, two alpha titans come face to face for the second time in spectacular fashion, their almighty Earth-shaking wrestling match bathed in the neon lights of the Hong Kong city skyline

MALIGNANT – Gabriel in the bullpen

Following this batshit horror’s audacious final act twist, relentless supernatural killer Gabriel is let loose in the bullpen of a crowded police station to slaughter all comers in stylishly splattery fashion.

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO – First night at the Café de Paris

Fashion student Ellie falls asleep in a Soho boarding house and wakes up in the swinging sixties, on the dance floor of the buzzing Café du Paris and somehow sharing bodies with a singer called Sandie dancing with a sleazy promoter called Jack.


Cassie’s plan for revenge against the men who raped her friend Nina comes to fruition with the most dramatic of dramatic timing, dumping a load of pre-recorded evidence against the perpetrators midway through a picturesque wedding reception.


Filmmaker Katie Matchell and her outdoorsman, technophobic dad Rick finally manage to put aside their differences and work together to stop a worldwide machine uprising utilising their childhood bonding song, TI and Rihanna’s “Live Your Life” to give their battle rhythm and humour.

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME – Portal to Peter Parker

With their own universe’s Peter AWOL, Ned and MJ use Doctor Strange’s sling ring to “find Peter Parker” and hilariously and inadvertently summon individuals that will cause a mass superhero fanboy wet dream.

THE SUICIDE SQUAD – Rats are the lowliest creatures

The Suicide Squad face impossible odds in their battle to defeat alien colossal Kaiju Starro the Conquerer, but a perfectly timed and emotional recollection from Ratcatcher II of her dad’s wisdom not to underestimate any living thing no matter how seemingly insignificant, plus a handy horde of rats, saves the day.

Now for my Top 20 films of 2021 screened in the UK in 2022. As always, there’s a holdover for some awards favourites not yet released over here, so I haven’t had the opportunity to see LICORICE PIZZA, BELFAST and THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH, not to mention some films that are absolutely my bag, baby, like Paul Verhoeven’s BENEDETTA.

Best Films of 2021:

20. LAST NIGHT IN SOHO Review in brief here.

19. THE GREEN KNIGHT Review in brief here.

18. PASSING Review in brief here.

17. SHITHOUSE/FRESHMAN YEAR Review in brief here.

16. LIMBO Review in brief here.

15. RIDERS OF JUSTICE Review in brief here.

14. NOMADLAND Review in brief here.

13. ANOTHER ROUND Review in brief here.

12. INSIDE (It’s a film, shut up!) Review in brief here.

11. ALI & AVA (film festival screening, released early 2022) Full review here.

10. GODZILLA VS KONG Full review here

9. SOUND OF METAL Review in brief here

8. WEST SIDE STORY Full review here.

7. THE SPARKS BROTHERS Review in brief here.

6. PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Review in brief here.

5. FIRST COW Review in brief here.

4. LIFE IN A DAY 2020 Review in brief here.

3. PETITE MAMAN Review in brief here.

2. THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES Review in brief here.

1. TITANE Full review here.

Happy New Year everyone, let’s try again for 2022, shall we? SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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