Streaming: the hidden gems of 2022, part three

They may not have exploded at the box office but these films offer something for everyone on the couch at home.

Missed a wonderful film that disappeared from the cinemas immediately? We heart your pain, and have hunted all those films which made less than $1m at the box office but can be found on the internet, either through subscriptions, pay-per-view, on SBS or the ABC.

We began with films that made between $500,000 and $1m, and then between $100,000 and $500,000. Here we offer the films between $1 and $100,000 in box office which vary from mistreated critical classics, to documentaries, to the simply strange or strangely inept. Several are festival films which were not picked up for longer runs.

Read: Streaming: the best films in 2022 you haven’t seen

Read: Best streaming films of 2022 (that you haven’t seen) – part two

Employee of the Month – $94,000

France fell around laughing at this film about management’s attempts to remove Vincent from his lifetime job by posting him as far as the North Pole. Excellent cast but it made no splash in English. 

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Prime Video

Bergman Island – $93,000

Mia Hansen-Løve’s film is set on the very island that Bergman owned, and the central characters are two American filmmakers who have come here knowingly to write two different scripts. Critics have been mostly awed by the combination of interpersonal psychology, the process of writing and a discussion between generations of filmmakers. 

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Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Foxtel Now, Binge

Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow – $89,000

Concert film, but much more too, about Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach, lovingly constructed and respected in festivals.

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Stan, Apple TV, Google Play, Ritz at Home, Prime Video

Nude Tuesday – $87,000

A treat. New Zealand comedy from Jackie van Beek, Armagan Ballantyne and Jemaine Clement, shot entirely in the invented gibberish of Zǿbftąņlik, about a couple who try to save their marriage by visiting a demented new-age retreat. Heh.

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Stan

Dashcam – $87,000

Nasty Annie Hardy plays an archetypical live-streaming troll with the same name in a narrative build on found footage. A horror film directed by Rob Savage working for Jason Blum in a classic reprise of his early work. There are two films with the same name; this is the one critics didn’t like, but it is certainly challenging the genre.

Apple TV

Red Rocket – $86,000

Opportunistic ex-porn star comes home to reboot his life in a black comedy with an edge of underage sex with a budget under $2m. But it is not schlock, did well with audiences at Cannes and a host of other mainstream fests. This is art, folks, based on honesty and observation, and the crits approve. 

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Ritz at Home, Binge, Foxtel Now

Tuesday club – $83,000

Swedish feelgooder about a mature woman rocked by husband’s infidelity who saves herself by signing up to a yummy cooking class. Obviously endearing, and you can pick up some meat balls from IKEA to feast while you laugh. 

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

After Yang – $82,000

Ignored by our audiences, this flick is a catchy existential SF drama about a family trying to save their family robot. ScreenHub loved it, like a lot of other critics. 

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Read: After Yang offers a remarkable vision of humanity

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Binge, Foxtel Now.

The Conference – $77,000

Dramatising the Wannsee Conference, a key event in the history of the Holocaust. Tough to watch, but impeccably made, with huge critical respect. 

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

Clean – $70,000

Action thriller starring Adrian Brophy about a tormented garbage collector. Critics divided but US East Coast indy horror specialist director Paul Solet has cult cachet.

Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play

Aline, the Voice of Love – $69,000

Based on the life story of Celine Dion. My tiny hands are suddenly frozen.

Apple TV, Prime video, Google Play, Ritz at home, Foxtel Now

Nobody has to know – $66,000

Amnesia, love that comes too late, Scottish highlands, weepie, tender, restrained …

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Apple TV, Prime video, Google Play

Wyrmwood Apocalypse – $64,000

Effects-heavy local zombie apocalypse pic, sequel to Wyrmwood. By Kiah Roache-Turner.

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Apple TV, Prime video, Google Play, Foxtel Now

The Hating Game – $63,000

US office rom-com about two employees that hate each other. You know what will happen.. Director Peter Hutchings also made Then Came You, a comedy drama epically crammed with tear-jerker premises.

Apple TV, Prime video, Google Play

Hive – $62,000

Set in Kosovo, the film scored the audience, directing and grand jury prizes in the World Cinema section of Sundance, which is powerful accolade for a village story about a probable widow who sets up a pickle business in defiance of her patriarchal neighbours. Says Variety: ‘Hive is about the hard-won rewards of resilience, but there’s a sting: a reminder of how dangerous patriarchal communities remain for women even, and perhaps especially, those who manage to carve out a small nook of independence within them.’

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Ritz at Home

It Snows in Benidorm – $53,000

Spanish film from Isabel Croixet supported by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar as producers. Timothy Spall stars as Brit sunk into his enforced retirement who goes to see his brother in Benidorm to discover that he is both missing and an owner of a naughty nightclub. A mix of comedy and genre that few reviewers liked.

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Ritz at Home

Girl at the Window – $51,000

Australian noir by the intelligent and meticulous Mark Hartley who is immersed in the magic of genre and convention. From a script by Terence Hammond and Nicolette Minster, this mystery horror did not click for reviewers, perhaps because it is a hard ask to use an affinity for Ozploitation as a seed for a modern film.

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Google Play, Prime Video

Miss Marx – $49,000

Karl Marx’s youngest daughter, Eleanor, gets some attention she deserves as a fighter, a doer and a feminist, but she gets stuck in a tragic love story. Reviewers disappointed.

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck In Time – $45,000

Documentary about the decent, playful and sometimes horrifying life of Kurt Vonnegut, and his 25-year friendship with the filmmaker.

Read: Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in time review

DocPlay, Apple TV, Amazon Prime

Happening – $45,000

Winner of a Venice Golden Lion, Audrey Diwan’s French film is based on an autobiographical book set in 1963 about a young student who has an abortion. It seems everything came together for this film – truth, integrity, observation, performance, cinematography, and the critics were awed and respectful.

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Ritz at Home

Best Birthday Ever – $43,000

Gentle Dutch animation film for children, starring Little Charlie The Rabbit who goes for a walk in the woods …. mostly for kids under eight.

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

Bastardy (2009) – $38,000

We walk in the shoes of the luminous Uncle Jack Charles, guided by Amiel Courtin Wilson.

DocPlay, Prime Video, OzFlix and App[le TV.

The Princess – $38,000

Hungarian period action film with Joey King as a female heroine.

Disney+

Loveland – $37,000

Australian SF by ultimate auteur Ivan Sen, starring Hugo Weaving, Jillian Nguyen and Ryan Kwanten. According to the website, ‘In a futuristic Hong Kong, assassin Jack (Ryan Kwanten), crosses paths with a nightclub singer, April (Jillian Nguyen). As Jack becomes increasingly drawn to April his body mysteriously deteriorates. Jack tracks down reclusive life extension scientist Doctor Bergman (Hugo Weaving), in a search for answers …’ Very stylish, burdened with the sin of too many ideas, flipping across genres, it is surely worth much more than its tiny box office. Also known as Expired.

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Read: Loveland – a futuristic labour of love

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Ritz at Home

Under Cover – $37,000

Documentary about homeless Australian women over 50, directed by Sue Thomson. Narrated by Margot Robbie. Touching, complex and humane.

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Not streaming but you can organise a community screening.

Ithaka – $31,000

Documentary about the Assange nightmare seen through the eyes of campaigning father John Shipton, directed by Ben Lawrence who also made Hearts and Bones. One for the ages. 

Two episodes on ABC iView.

One Second – $29,000

Epically gifted Chinese director Zhang Yimou charmed critics with an affectionate tribute to the power of cinema in a tale of a prison escapee in the Cultural Revolution. 

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video. Ritz at Home

Press Play – $27,000

Young love going back in time via a mixtape. Crits don’t like performances, which are crucial.

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

Ablaze – $27,000

Documentary by Alex Morgan and Tiriki Onus about Bill Onus, a pioneering Aboriginal activist and an important fragment of film which may be the first by an Aboriginal filmmaker.

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ABC iView and Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

Be Somebody – $25,000

Chinese comedy mystery set among filmmakers gathered to plot a film about a triple murder, but a killer is in their midst. 

Apple TV

Firebird – $24,000

Gay drama in Soviet airforce – a fascinating area for drama but ruined by cliches according to reviews. Director Peeter Rebane is an Estonian director, producer and entrepreneur who produces the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest. 

Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

The Innocents – $18,000

Away from their parents, children turn scary with supernatural powers in a thriller that divides critics. One thing – child performances in this Norwegian film seem to be ace. 

Google Play, Prime Video, Ritz at home

The Reason I Jump – $16,000

Jerry Rothwell’s feature doc about a child with autism called Naoki Higashida, who wrote a book about his experience of the world, using facilitated communication through his mother. Critics liked the use of subjective cinematic techniques to enter his world and accept the film despite the re-emerging controversy about facilitated communication. Who is really speaking here? 

Docplay and SBS On Demand.

Flux Gourmet – $15,000

UK auteur Peter Strickland is a hugely important festival director, who fascinates serious scholars of the cinema while making with the gags. To quote Wikipedia on this, his sixth film: ‘A group of experimental performance artists, known for their process of “sonic catering” (where they extract disturbing sounds from various foods) take up residency at a remote artistic institution, run by an enigmatic director.’ Not mass entertainment, but a hoot for lovers of the strange and metaphorical. 

Apple TV, Prime Video

The Lake of Scars – $14,000

Directed by Bill Code, this film is described as: ’in a corner of regional Victoria is Lake Boort, a place of astounding natural beauty and rare archaeological and environmental significance – and it’s being degraded on an annual basis. As the clock ticks, an unlikely partnership could see it saved for future generations.’ An Indigenous film about an important subject.

SBS On Demand

Gold – $14,000

Australian drama starring Zac Efron, Anthony Hayes and Susie Porter, directed by Hayes and written by him and Polly Smyth. A western set in the near future, strongly cleaving to its desert struggle form, dominated by Efron’s performance which critics loved more than the conception. An important member of a distinctive local strand. 

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Stan

Chef Antonio’s Recipes for Revolution – $13,000

Australian feature doc from veteran Trevor Graham is set in an Italian hotel where chef Antonio de Benedetto is determined to train people with intellectual disabilities, as one way to change the world. Lots to like here.

DocPlay

Never Gonna Snow Again $8,100

German-Polish film with a riveting central performance about a masseur who gains entry to a Polish gated community, builds a cult following and wreaks havoc. No critics seems to be completely on top of this film but they use a lot of enticing adjectives like sci-fi, satire, wonderful alien, manipulated souls, strangeness, sadness and fear, mischievous … 

Stan, Apple TV, Prime Video. Ritz at Home.

The Reef: Stalked – $6,100

Andrew Traucki is back with another Australian shark-eat-people flick. Critics a bit hesitant this time round, but a shark film at home with jump scares and squeals of laughter will bond the most disfunctional band of grumble guts. The first film in this mini-franchise did $153,000 in 2011.

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Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

Nine Bullets – $9,500

Sam Worthington trapped in a dud about a woman trying to save her neighbour’s kid after he saw his parents murdered. Familiar, yes?

Google Play,, Prime Video 

Beyond the Wasteland – $7,700

Directed by Eddie Beyrouthy, Bertrand Cadart prowls the world looking for Mad Max fans in this Australian documentary. FilmInk says it is ‘funny, affecting and lovingly made’. What more do you want for this kind of flick?

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Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.