Written by Chris Swan
December 21, 2023
Madman Staff Picks 2023
As 2023 begins to wrap up, Madman takes a look back at some of the amazing cinematic storytelling from throughout the year.
Members of the Madman team have hand picked some of their favourite films from 2023 – local and international films, documentary and fiction, heartfelt dramas and heartwarming comedies – offering an inspired look back on this year at the movies.
MEGAN - Graphic Designer
My favourite film this year, THE WHALE, did not in fact feature any marine life. What it did feature was an amazing performance by Brendan Fraser which honestly kept me in a constant state of nervous energy for the entire film. It was brilliant, heart wrenching, awkward and I just loved it.Watch Now
Bromley: Light After Dark
Fav doco of the year! Amazing insight into the inner workings of one of Australia’s most well known artists, David Bromley.Watch Now
On The Wandering Paths
I loved Jean Dujardin’s performance in ON THE WANDERING PATHS. Meditative, contemplative, a story of resilience and the healing powers of reconnecting with nature.Watch Now
ERIN - Marketing & Partnership Executive (DocPlay)
All The Beauty and The Bloodshed
From director Laura Poitras (an Academy Award-winner for Citizenfour), ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED is a remarkable portrait of the artist and activist Nan Goldin. Goldin came of age in a truly bohemian and transgressive scene in New York City; and it’s remarkable to see her boundless creativity be born and burst. In recent years Goldin has emerged as a leading activist in the fight against the Sacker family’s opioid epidemic; Poitras deftly weaves the threads of Goldin’s life, including a traumatic childhood, into a moving and magnificent documentary opus. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, an unusual and notable feat for a non-fiction film.Watch Now
While I’m a big fan of director Christian Petzold, I was surprised by how much I liked this charming, funny and, at times, melodramatic feature. Leon is a grumpy and precocious writer who is upset when his quiet writing retreat is hijacked by friends and fun; he rejects both to stew over his unfinished manuscript. Meanwhile, relationships and weather systems brew… As a bonus, the film is bookended by a perfect earworm track from the Viennese band Wallners – listen hereWatch Now
LEE-ANN - Senior Marketing Manager
BEYOND UTOPIA is a real life, edge of your seat thriller documenting the harrowing and perilous journey of North Koreans attempting to escape their country. The people in this documentary are legitimate superheroes. I was moved to tears and stunned by their bravery.Watch Now
MICHAEL - Head of Marketing
I can’t remember seeing a better debut from an Australian filmmaker in recent years. This film balances lightness and darkness in the most delicate way and was just an incredibly emotionally gripping tale of a mother and daughter. World class cinema (as endorsed by Sundance) that resonates across cultural boundaries.Watch Now
Another fantastic debut from a young female filmmaker – SCRAPPER is bursting with energy and vibrancy. I loved the feisty energy Lola Campbell brings to the screen, alongside a fantastic (fresh off Triangle of Sadness) Harris Dickinson.Watch Now
Bob Brown is the forefather of environmental activism in Australia, and jeez he’s just an incredibly nice fella isn’t he? This film does a great job of telling his story in parallel with Australia’s more ancient giants – the stunning tall trees of Tasmania. A feast for the eyes!Watch Now
CHRIS - Acquisitions and Sales Administrator
Stop Making Sense
Spike Lee called this “the greatest concert film ever”, and he’s not wrong!
One of the most amazing cinema experiences I’ve ever had, singing and dancing along to Talking Heads with a sold out crowd. It’s the closest a film has ever made me feel like I’m at an actual concert.
I’m a big horror fan and I absolutely loved what Ti West and Mia Goth did with this film. A weird and wonderful period piece filled with tense thrills, deep emotional drama and a performance that sticks with you long after the credits roll.Watch Now
How To Blow Up A Pipeline
One of the tensest films of the year. The craft and style used to create this thriller make it feel like you’re watching a documentary rather than a narrative film. An important and timely environmental thriller that sits the audience on a knife’s edge and doesn’t let them move an inch.Watch Now
TOM - Digital Marketing Executive
Beautiful to look at and to cry to, BLUE JEAN is a excellent amalgamation of 80s nostalgia, raw relationship drama and a nuanced take on a truly repressive period for the UK LGBTQI+ community. We love a film that sticks yet another boot into the grave of Margaret Thatcher.Watch Now
The Eternal Memory
Dementia is the cruelest of diseases, so a doco about losing a loved one to it is incredibly tough to watch at times, and yet this is one of the most beautiful depictions of true and everlasting love. This film will break you in two, but you’ll never regret watching it.