Gladiator (2000, dir. Ridley Scott)

A famed general, condemned to death in a coup, seeks revenge on Roman emperor Commodus for the murder of his family. Vivid and muscular historical drama, with excellent performances, solid action, and a keen visual sense. A Hollywood history; the inspirations are less actual events than the epics of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Joker (2019, dir. Todd Phillips)

A clown with mental health issues tries to be loved and recognised. Well-shot but superficial origin story, heavily reliant on its stylistic and plot inspirations (early Scorsese movies, Bernhard Goetz). Sometimes impressive, sometimes misguided, but anchored by a committed central performance nevertheless.

You Were Never Really Here (2017, dir. Lynne Ramsey)

A hitman struggling with mental health issues accepts a contract to rescue a trafficked child. Deliberate, beautiful, and cryptic, this noir drama isn’t for everyone in its mix of arthouse and genre, but is nevertheless well worth your time. Recommended.