13 Films to See in October

Despite the dominating presence of Taylor Swift, October still brings a lineup of noteworthy releases. From highly anticipated films to acclaimed documentaries and the last work of a legendary director, there’s a diverse array of options to explore.

Table of Contents


  1. “Beyond Utopia” (Directed by Madeleine Gavin; Release Date: October 23)

Beyond Utopia,” directed by Madeleine Gavin, has garnered acclaim as one of the year’s standout documentaries. Winner of the Sundance audience award, the film follows the harrowing journey of a few individuals striving to escape North Korea. Given the scarcity of reports from inside the country, this documentary offers a unique and essential perspective on the sacrifices made for freedom.

  1. “Once Within a Time” (Directed by Godfrey Reggio & Jon Kane; In theaters on October 13)

Before his passing in late 2020, novelist John le Carré, also known as former British spy David Cornwell, shared the thrilling and intriguing aspects of his life with renowned documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. While Morris’s film doesn’t introduce any groundbreaking formal techniques, it delves deep into what could be considered the author’s final reflections.

  1. “The Royal Hotel” (Directed by Kitty Green; In theaters on October 6)

Following her meticulously crafted feature “The Assistant,” Kitty Green returns with Julia Garner to explore similar themes of misogyny but on a broader scale in “The Royal Hotel.” As C.J. Prince mentioned in his TIFF review, “Like Green’s previous film ‘The Assistant,’ ‘The Royal Hotel’ benefits from her strong direction and ensemble cast, reuniting with Garner to deliver another outstanding, expressive performance. Unlike some directors who might emphasize the horror elements, Green chooses to focus on the potential for violence, making Hanna’s concerns easy to rationalize or explain away.”

  1. “Strange Way of Life” (Directed by Pedro Almodóvar; In theaters on October 4)
Strange Way of Life
Strange Way of Life

One of the standout short films of the year, following Wes Anderson’s quartet, Pedro Almodóvar presents a stylish 30-minute western melodrama of heartbreak starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, as their characters reunite after a 25-year separation. Marking the Spanish master’s first foray into the genre, this film will receive a substantial theatrical release from Sony Pictures Classics, paired with his Tilda Swinton-led short “The Human Voice.” Almodóvar, who was initially attached to “Brokeback Mountain” before Ang Lee took over, finally gets to create a gay western with this Saint Laurent-supported project.

  1. “Silver Dollar Road” (Directed by Raoul Peck; In theaters on October 13 and on Prime Video on October 20)

Following his ambitious series “Exterminate All the Brutes,” Raoul Peck returns this fall with a new documentary. According to Soham Gadre’s TIFF review, “If Raoul Peck’s previous two films—the sweeping essay documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ and the painterly authorial portrait ‘The Young Karl Marx’—focused on national and global-scale politics, then his new documentary ‘Silver Dollar Road’ shifts its focus to an extended Black family in North Carolina and the white developers attempting to take their rightful, generationally owned property known as Silver Dollar Road.”

  1. “Divinity” (Directed by Eddie Alcazar; In theaters on October 13)

Billed as one of the trippiest films of the year, Eddie Alcazar’s “Divinity” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is backed by executive producer Steven Soderbergh. Michael Frank described it in his review as “a ‘brain trip,’ a film that acts as an upgraded ’80s B-movie. Eddie Alcazar’s futuristic, violent drama follows two brothers as they hold a scientist, the man who helped invent an everlasting-life drug called Divinity, hostage in his mansion. At times, it’s beautiful to watch, shot in a shadow-focused black-and-white style, set against a deserted landscape reminiscent of ‘Mad Max.’ Other times, it’s grotesque, highlighting the disgusting physical and financial greed associated with the drug. Always, Alcazar’s film is inventive and singular.”

  1. “Films Anatomy of a Fall” (Directed by Justine Triet; In theaters on October 13)

Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or-winning film “Anatomy of a Fall” offers a spotlight to Sandra Hüller in a meticulous exploration of the secrets within a relationship, unknowable to the public. David Katz’s review described it as a portrayal of “the ensuing days after a romantic breakup, even if it isn’t a cataclysmic one, are an uncanny time. Perhaps once the spell of verbal conflict and sparring has ceased, suddenly your sole companion for the most intimate thoughts is yourself once again. It’s an opportune moment for contemplation:

how did it really go wrong? Or, can I be honest with myself and acknowledge my own partial responsibility for its demise? For Sandra (Sandra Hüller) and Samuel (Samuel Theis), the key onscreen and offscreen players in ‘Anatomy of a Fall,’ are enduring this quagmire, although their inevitable breakup was enforced, as the latter has just tragically died.”

  1. “Films The Delinquents” (Directed by Rodrigo Moreno; In theaters on October 18)

Rodrigo Moreno’s “The Delinquents” takes the concept of a heist movie to entirely new, more contemplative philosophical territory. According to Rory O’Connor’s review, the film challenges the idea of choice in a world overflowing with options, even when it comes to something as simple as selecting a seat in a cinema. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of freedom and the paradox of having too many choices.

  1. “Films The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” (Directed by William Friedkin; Premieres on October 6 on Showtime)

William Friedkin’s final film, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” showcases the director’s skill in pacing, even within the confines of a small setting. David Katz’s review noted that Friedkin effectively maintains tension through sharp editing and masterful command of space, reminiscent of his work in car chases. The film focuses on a naval drama involving the questioning of authority and responsibility, with a notable absence of flashbacks to the tumultuous events on board, allowing the unseen past events to play vividly in the viewers’ minds.

  1. “Films The Holdovers” (Directed by Alexander Payne; In theaters on October 27)

Writer-director Alexander Payne and actor Paul Giamatti reunite two decades after their collaboration on “Sideways” for “The Holdovers.” While it may not be considered a return to form for Payne, it has been embraced as a success for the duo. The film captures the ambiance of the days after Christmas, making it an ideal choice for an annual holiday revisit.

  1. “The Killer” (Directed by David Fincher; In theaters on October 27 and on Netflix on November 10)

David Fincher returns to the world of vibrant, sleek thrillers with “The Killer,” an adaptation of Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel series. This Netflix neo-noir reunites Fincher with his “Se7en” screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, with Michael Fassbender taking the lead as a cold-blooded assassin, joined by Tilda Swinton. According to Rory O’Connor’s review, the film brings together the perfect marriage of director and source material, highlighting Fincher’s signature brooding style.

  1. “Films Killers of the Flower Moon” (Directed by Martin Scorsese; In theaters on October 20)

“Killers of the Flower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese, finally arrives after over six years of anticipation. The film explores the betrayal of a marriage and American greed, offering an emotionally exhausting epic centered around the Osage Nation. Luke Hicks’s review emphasizes the film’s focus on the Osage Nation and their rich culture, highlighting the tragedy at the center of the narrative. The movie is shot primarily on location on the Osage reservation in Oklahoma, underscoring the significance of the community in the story.

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