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SXSW Film & TV Festival 2024: All Of Deadline’s Reviews

The 2024 SXSW Film Festival kicked off March 8 in Austin with the opening-night world premiere screening of Doug Liman’s Road House remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor. It started nine days of debuts including for movies starring Rooney Mara, Isabelle Huppert, Gael García Bernal, Kristen Stewart and more. The Anne Hathaway romantic dramedy The Idea of You from SXSW stalwart Michael Showalter closed the fest on Saturday.

Keep checking back below as Deadline reviews the best and buzziest movies of the festival. Click on the titles to read the full reviews.

More from Deadline

3 Body Problem

‘3 Body Problem’
‘3 Body Problem’

Section: TV Premiere
Director: Derek Tsang
Cast: Jovan Adepo, John Bradley, Rosalind Chao, Liam Cunningham, Eiza González, Jess Hong, Marlo Kelly, Alex Sharp, Sea Shimooka, Zine Tseng, Saamer Usmani, Benedict Wong, Jonathan Pryce
Deadline’s takeaway: 3 Body Problem’s biggest existential threats are just how redundant it all seems, and how every plot development can be seen from a galaxy away, like Omar Sharif coming over the desert on horseback in Lawrence of Arabia.

Arcadian

Arcadian
From left: Nicolas Cage, Maxwell Jenkins and Jaeden Martell in ‘Arcadian’

Section: Narrative Spotlight
Director: Benjamin Brewer
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jaeden Martell, Maxwell Jenkins, Sadie Soverall, Samantha Coughlan, Joe Dixon, Joel Gillman
Deadline’s takeaway: The filmmakers attempt to navigate the tumultuous waters of a post-apocalyptic narrative, showcasing a world decimated by an unspecified catastrophic event. But despite a cast that promises gravitas and the tantalizing premise of a stark, survivalist drama, the film ultimately fumbles and fails to terrify.

Civil War

Kirsten Dunst in Civil War movie
Kirsten Dunst in ‘Civil War’

Section: Headliner
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jesse Plemons, Nick Offerman
Deadline’s takeaway: Ultimately, Civil War feels like a missed opportunity. In its attempt to navigate the complexities of war, journalism and the human condition, the film finds itself caught in the crossfire, unable to deliver the profound impact it aspires to achieve.

Desert Road

Desert Road movie
Kristine Froseth in ‘Desert Road’

Section: Narrative Spotlight
Director-screenwriter: Shannon Triplett
Cast: Kristine Froseth, Frances Fisher, Beau Bridges, Ryan Hurst, D.B. Woodside, Max Mattern, Rachel Dratch, Edwin Garcia II
Deadline’s takeaway: Making her directorial debut, Shannon Triplett shows a sophisticated grasp of genre dynamics, with a bold use of space — a stretch of the Mojave Desert doubling for Death Valley — that proves more and more gripping as the film’s mysteries unfold.

The Fall Guy

'The Fall Guy' review Ryan Gosling SXSW
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Fall Guy’

Section: Headliner
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Stephanie Hsu, Winston Duke, Teresa Palmer
Deadline’s takeaway: The Fall Guy excels in its self-aware storytelling and stands as a hilarious and thoughtful tribute to the stunt community, blending action with a poignant exploration of the sacrifices made by these unsung heroes. It’s a testament to the spirit of collaboration and that defines Hollywood at its best.

Grand Theft Hamlet

'Grand Theft Hamlet’
‘Grand Theft Hamlet’

Section: Documentary Feature Competition
Director: Sam Crane and Pinny Grylls
Cast: Sam Crane, Mark Oosterveen, Jen Cohn
Deadline’s takeaway: The film hits some rocks with its three-hour-plus running time, but the play-within-a-video-game premise is a winner, and there’s a lot to enjoy as the leads talk iambic pentameters while bullets fly, planes crash and bazookas unload.

The Greatest Hits

'The Greatest Hits' review
Lucy Boynton in ‘The Greatest Hits’

Section: World Premiere
Director: Ned Benson
Cast: Lucy Boynton, Justin H. Min, David Corenswet, Austin Crute, Retta
Deadline’s takeaway: The heartfelt and deeply human but flawed film’s exploration of music’s role in our emotional lives and history is a moving portrayal that offers audiences a reflective journey through the intricacies of love, loss and, ultimately, hope.

The Idea of You

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in The Idea of You movie
Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in ‘The Idea of You’

Section: Headliner
Director: Michael Showalter
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Nicholas Galitzine, Ella Rubin, Annie Mumolo, Reid Scott, Perry Mattfeld, Jordan Aaron Hall, Mathilda Gianopoulos, Raymond Cham Jr., Jaiden Anthony, Viktor White, Dakota Adan
Deadline’s takeaway: The Idea of You shines when it delves into the introspection and self-awareness that comes with significant life milestones, but when it aims to capture the essence of shared vulnerability and trust it falters, stumbling over a narrative that feels uneven and, at times, contrived.

Immaculate

Immaculate
Sydney Sweeney in ‘Immaculate’

Section: Headliner
Director: Michael Mohan
Cast: Sydney Sweeney, Alvaro Morte, Simona Tabasco, Benedetta Porcaroli, Giorgio Colangeli, Dora Romano
Deadline’s takeaway: Taking the reins as both lead actress and producer, Sydney Sweeney crafts a space for herself to explore a diverse array of characters, affirming her dedication to broadening her artistic range. A bold departure with the ending provides satisfying closure by finally subverting traditional expectations and concluding on an unconventional note.

Monkey Man

Monkey Man movie starring Dev Patel
Dev Patel in ‘Monkey Man’

Section: Headliner
Director: Dev Patel
Cast: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Sikandar Kher, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte,, Makarand Deshpande
Deadline’s takeaway: The film leaves audiences with a profound message: In a world rife with injustice, sometimes radical action is necessary to forge new paths. Dev Patel’s directorial finesse and meticulous attention to detail suggest a promising helming future.

My Dead Friend Zoe

From left: Ed Harris, Natalie Morales and Sonequa Martin-Green in ‘My Dead Friend Zoe’
From left: Ed Harris, Natalie Morales and Sonequa Martin-Green in ‘My Dead Friend Zoe’

Section: Narrative Spotlight
Director: Kyle Hausmann-Stokes
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Natalie Morales, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Ed Harris, Gloria Reuben, and Morgan Freeman
Deadline’s takeaway: While the film occasionally falters in its pacing, My Dead Friend Zoe is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the imperative to provide better support for our veterans. It challenges its audience to reflect on the collective responsibility to ensure their well-being long after their service has ended.

Road House

Conor McGregor and Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Road House’
Conor McGregor and Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Road House’

Section: Headliner
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniela Melchior, Billy Magnussen, Jessica Williams, Joaquim de Almeida, Conor McGregor, Lukas Gage, Arturo Castro, B.K. Cannon, Beau Knapp, Darren Barnet, Dominique Columbus, Bob Menery, Catfish Jean, Kevin Carroll, Travis Van Winkle, Hannah Lanier
Deadline’s takeaway: In spite of a few flashes of technical brilliance in its action sequences and a few tries made by its cast, this rebuilt Road House stands as a testament to just how difficult it is to capture lightning in a bottle.

Sew Torn

‘Sew Torn’
Eve Connolly in ‘Sew Torn’

Section: Visions
Director: Freddy Macdonald
Cast: Eve Connolly, Calum Worthy, John Lynch, K Callan, Ron Cook, Thomas Douglas, Werner Biermeier, Veronika Herren-Wenger, Caroline Goodall
Deadline’s takeaway: Its oddness certainly will be frustrating to those who like their crime hardboiled, but most of all, it’s a great discovery — the kind of film festivals were made for and streamers should fill their boots with. It will be fascinating to see where destiny takes Freddy Macdonald next.

Timestalker

Aneurin Barnard and Alice Lowe in ‘Timestalker’
Aneurin Barnard and Alice Lowe in ‘Timestalker’

Section: Narrative Spotlight
Director: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe, Jacob Anderson, Aneurin Barnard, Tanya Reynolds, Nick Frost
Deadline’s takeaway: The ambitious film recalls classic Monty Python — it’s often very, very stupid and the same time very, very clever — but most of all, it’s an idea of what might have been if that all-male team had ever had a woman or two in its core lineup. Somehow, Alice Lowe has the wide-eyed innocence to carry it all off, a very subversive gift indeed.

We Were Dangerous

‘We Were Dangerous’
From left: Nathalie Morris, Manaia Hall and Erana James in ‘We Were Dangerous’

Section: Narrative Feature Competition
Director: Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu
Cast: Rima Te Wiata, Erana James, Nathalie Morris, Manaia Hall
Deadline’s takeaway: We Were Dangerous never quite comes together as the wry, subversive coming-of-age movie that it might have been, but the performances are powerful enough in Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu’s debut that its emotional heft is surprisingly indelible.

Y2K

'Y2K' movie review
From left: Jaeden Martell, Rachel Zegler and Julian Dennison in ‘Y2K’

Section: Headliner
Director: Kyle Mooney
Cast: Jaeden Martell, Rachel Zegler, Julian Dennison, Daniel Zolghadri, Lachlan Watson, Kyle Mooney, Eduardo Franco, Alicia Silverstone, Fred Durst
Deadline’s takeaway: What sets Y2K apart is its nuanced approach to nostalgia. In a cinematic landscape often saturated with attempts to capitalize on the past. The stands out for its authenticity and restraint. Ultimately, it’s a testament to Kyle Mooney’s vision and a promising start to his directorial career.

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