MOVIE REVIEW: The Three Best Films of Summer 2021

GOOD Morning Wilton‘s movie reviewer, Sebastian Hunt, is a recent graduate of Wilton High School who loves film and television and hopes to become a filmmaker himself one day. He’s already gotten a jump start on that, producing his own screenplays and planning on submitting his work to film festivals. You can learn more about Sebastian on GMW‘s “Our Team” page. 

While perhaps not the rapturous return to summertime filmgoing that starry-eyed cinephiles (myself included!) might have hoped for, summer 2021 has ultimately seen several great films released. I’ve gathered what I consider the season’s three best films — all of which are still in theaters — complete with detailed explanations of my reasoning. Whether they be superhero blockbusters or intimate exercises in thematic deconstructionism, each of these features is individually gratifying and resoundingly deserves your viewership.

  1. The Suicide Squad

Like its titular antiheroes, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is flawed — there’s a handful of structural defects and the “bad guys” composing the film’s ensemble never quite feel like unmitigated villains — but that’s hardly a dealbreaker. Gunn has produced one of the most gloriously violent, entertaining comic book adaptations in years; moreover, Gunn draws on the talents of his assembled cast (Daniela Melchoir and David Dastmalchian emerging as unlikely highlights) and extracts genuine emotional resonance from supposedly morally bankrupt characters. There’s also a gigantic, bipedal starfish in there for good measure… let’s all just pretend that the 2016 version never happened, shall we?

  1. The Green Knight

It’s honestly odd that A24 (Hollywood’s most prevalent champion of genre-infused arthouse fare) took this long to mine the reservoirs of Arthurian folklore, but as far as I’m concerned, The Green Knight is well worth the wait. Writer/director David Lowery crafts an extraordinarily detailed, mystical vision of chivalric England that manages to feel true and naturalistic while evoking the surrealist qualities native to such fantastical stories.

Lowery’s faithful translation of the thematic and narrative underpinnings of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (the text which The Green Knight is based upon) may render his film mildly obtuse or inaccessible-feeling to some. I simply find that The Green Knight functions like hypnosis: if you allow yourself to become enveloped into its aura, an incredible experience could await you. Otherwise, you might be left confused as to what happened at all.

  1. Pig

I imagine that Pig will disappoint some filmgoers. Its IMDb synopsis would suggest a Nicolas Cage-headlined riff on the likes of John Wick: a widowed, surly former world-class chef (Cage) embarks on a quest of revenge after business rivals kidnap his beloved foraging pig.

The genius of Pig, however, is that it ultimately has no footing in farce. Cage never recalls his days as a 1990s action star facing off against gun-toting, interchangeable pig-nappers; rather, Pig engages in serious-minded, remarkably poignant deconstructionism of the “revenge thriller” genre. Plus, Cage is really good, accompanied by an equally mesmeric Alex Wolff.

Pig is a weird film, even when considered in the context of Cage’s extended filmography. Yet it’s just the right sort of weird — the kind that urges one to ponder esoteric themes and seek out like-minded features. It is, quite frankly, the reason we go to the cinema, and the best film of summer 2021.