2017 has been an interesting year for film. It has been a strong year for original films such as Get Out and Baby Driver yet a disappointment when it comes to hyped up blockbusters (with Wonder Woman being the exception). So compiling a list of my favourite films released in 2017 was a tricky one but it made me see that it’s been a great year for independent films and films that have an original story.
Now just to clarify, this list features films released in the UK during the year of 2017. Another disclaimer is that I of course haven’t watched every film released in the UK during the year of 2017 meaning if you think there is an omission from the list it may be because I haven’t watched it.
I’ll start from number 10 and count down to reveal which film I would label as the best film of 2017.
10. Get Out
I was a bit skeptical about this film as I tend not to draw towards horror films so I didn’t see it when it was released in cinemas. However by the critical acclaim and positive responses from audiences that deemed it more than just a “horror film” but a film with a clear message and that had something to say. So when I watched it I was pleasantly surprised how it broke through the label of a “horror film” and managed to make people think and engage in dialogue after the film had finished. Get Out could have been fleshed out a little bit more but I commend the film on its originality and its boldness.
9. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
The Lobster (2015) was awful. However when I heard Oscar winner Nicole Kidman was in Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film I kept an open mind to this film; not to mention the trailer and concept of the film seemed mysterious and fascinating. It may not be for everyone, but I love and appreciate Yorgos’ assertiveness as a filmmaker and the fact he has a clear vision and does not compromise. The film can be hard to watch at times and is “out there” but it works in this film and all the cast pull it off brilliantly. Speaking of star performances; Barry Keoghan was so good in this film and played the enigmatic character of Martin so well. If you want to switch up your film taste and watch something unconventional; The Killing of a Sacred Deer is perfect for you.
Again, a very unique and unconventional film. mother! has had a lot of controversy and attention for a whole load of reasons and I knew going into it that the film would be nothing like I’ve seen…but I think if people stood back and took a breath there is something here and something to be admired and appreciated. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong; she plays against character at the start and then she comes into her own as the film progresses and when it escalates very quickly. Oscar nominated director Darren Aronofsky is unapologetic about his vision and what he wants to say and that’s what I admire about him and appreciate about this film. This is not a film that you love or hate, it’s a film that provokes an audience. It’s refreshing to see a film go against the mould of the current state of the film industry be proud about it.
7. Thor: Ragnarok
One of the few blockbusters that I actually enjoyed this year. I have a love/hate relationship with Marvel nowadays because they have become so convoluted; yet Thor: Ragnarok felt fresh and more concise than previous MCU entries. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) director Taika Waititi brings his fresh and colourful sense of humour to this film to make it stand out. Yes this film does feature that forced Marvel sense of humour but the scenes in particular with Thor and The Hulk are ripe with Waititi’s witty dialogue. We have to talk about Oscar winner Cate Blanchett who easily stole the show (I’m praying for a spin-off film of her character Hela) and is hands down one of the best Marvel villains to date. So if you’ve grown tired and weary from the MCU (and I don’t blame you) give this film a chance.
Inspiring. That’s all I need to say about Lion. The first half containing a phenomenal performance from first time actor and one of the cutest child actors ever: Sunny Pawar playing young Saroo. Then comes along Oscar nominee Dev Patel who plays adult Saroo and gives a career best, not to mention he holds up his own in scenes against Oscar winner Nicole Kidman and Oscar nominee Rooney Mara. This film is full of heartbreak and joy, featuring themes of belonging and identity. Lion is an inspiring story that you can’t believe is true.
5. The Beguiled
Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. Golden Globe nominee Kirsten Dunst. Elle Fanning. Oscar winner Sophia Coppola directing. These are reasons enough to watch this film. Sophia knows how to make a lean and clean cut film that gives enough tension and mystery without it becoming self indulgent. That’s all I need to say about this film. Basically it’s really good.
4. Wonder Woman
One of the few blockbusters that actually was quality and had substance. Gal Gadot is perfect as Diana; so authentic and natural in her performance and with her character standing up for what’s right and not accepting anything else but justice. One of the most refreshing superhero films in a long time; because for once it was a superhero film solely about the eponymous character and not featuring a million other superheroes. Patty Jenkins directed an incredible film that focused purely on Diana coming from an island of perfection and having the character evolve as the film progressed to have a rounded and more balanced view of humanity and what her purpose in life is. Three words: No Man’s Land.
3. Baby Driver
Edgar Wright delivers one of the most vibrant and exciting original films of the year. Golden Globe nominee Ansel Elgort charismatically carries the weight of the film on his shoulders with notable supporting forces from Oscar winner Jamie Fox and Lily James. Baby Driver has you thinking it’s one thing but then it swerves in a different direction. The whole vibe of the film is so cool and smooth and will definitely stay with you after you watch it.
2. La La Land
La La Land is reminiscent of Hollywood musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and yet is relevant to todays audience, enabling it to have its own identity. The film features one of the best soundtracks from Justin Hurwitz, Benji Pasek and Justin Paul but the genius of the film is how it is very character driven and how the tone of the films is effortlessly handled as the film progresses. This Oscar winning, instant classic, musical masterpiece has depth and fully rounded characters and is a film that you have to watch right now.
1. Blade Runner 2049
As soon as I watched this film I knew it would be my favourite film of the year. Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling is of course a great actor but I have to say, he gives one of his best performances in Blade Runner 2049. He’s a very internal actor and everything is said through his facial expressions and that’s a powerful tool to master. In a year where I’ve been let down by blockbusters, Blade Runner 2049 came along and showed everyone how it should be done: thought provoking, sophisticated, creating the right tone and pace and having a great story. Yes the film is nearly 3 hours long but it was very engrossing and captivating that it didn’t feel that long at all. Denis Villeneuve always has great quality and class to his films, which is why he was the right director for the job to carry on the legacy of Blade Runner (1982). I was always excited for this film but it exceeded my expectations and I’m happy to say that Blade Runner 2049 was my favourite film of 2017.
Now I’m being picky but the reason why La La Land didn’t make number 1 was because whilst it was released in the UK in 2017 its original release was in 2016. It made the list but Blade Runner 2049 was released in October 2017 and therefore is a worthy number 1.
So there you have it. I have given an overview of my favourite films of 2017 and I’m already looking forward to what 2018 has to offer.
Please feel free to comment on what your favourite films have been this year!