20 Best Movies and Performances at Sundance 2018

From a sexual-abuse survivor's tale to a bone-chilling ghost story, broad social satires to free-form docs, the highlights of this year's fest

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'Tyrel'
18
17/18

'Tyrel'

Sebastian Silva's story of a young black man (Mudbound's Jason Mitchell) trying and failing to fit in during a guys weekend in the Catskills is a masterclass in racial alienation – the drunken dude trip reimagined as the Sunken Place. It's not even like the filmmaker stacks the deck with nothing but closet racists and alt-righters; one gentleman is out and proud, another is Argentinian and the assembled visitors are all basically your run-of-the-mill bros. (Though Get Out's Caleb Landry Jones is present and accounted for in full twitchy-creepy mode, because of course.) But that only emphasizes the fact it doesn't take burning crosses to make a person of color feel unwelcome in everyday situations, especially when masculinity and a benign sense of cultural imperialism comes into play. Who knew that singing along to R.E.M.'s "Stand" could be so microaggressive? And we apologize for sounding like a broken record, but Mitchell once again proves why he should be considered one of the best actors of his generation. This man is the real deal.

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