I’ve not seen Blade Runner 2049.
I feel that is probably the best way to start off this late article detailing my favourite films of 2017 because I know that if I had seen it, it would probably make my list. I can’t know for sure of course but I love the original and everything I’ve heard makes it sound like a film I’d love. Sadly, I don’t live in a town with a large cinema and I don’t drive so it’s a miracle I managed to see as many films as I did this last twelve months. All in all, 2017 was a good year for movies, better than the last few, both for big-budget blockbusters and for smaller prestige films. Living in the UK makes the awards season a little strange for film lovers. While many of the big Oscar films have debuted in the US they have yet to do so here and therefore won’t make my list and the awards winners from 2016 came out in January 2017 but I’ve not included them because they aren’t really 2017 films. It’s all a bit confusing but with that said and done let’s move on to the actual list of my favourite films of 2017.
- The Beguiled
- Mulholland Drive Remastered (kinda counts)
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe
- Logan Lucky
- Wind River
- The Big Sick
Who would have thought a few years ago that M. Night Shyamalan would make one of the best films of 2017? Not me that’s for sure. Split might be the biggest surprise of the year for multiple reasons but the main one is that it is truly fantastic. James McAvoy puts in his best performance to date as Kevin, a man with 24 identities who kidnaps three teenage girls who have to try and gain the trust of his other personalities in order to survive. The ending of the film, which I won’t spoil here, changes your perception on everything that has transpired and the genre of the film itself but even before that reveal it is a tense and very well-crafted thriller.
- The Killing of a Sacred Deer
I doth plant my pretentiousness hat firmly upon my head for this next pick. The previous film by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster, was critically acclaimed but for me fell apart in its second hour; however the opposite can be said for The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Tension builds and builds towards an unforgettably harrowing scene at the film’s conclusion which had people walking out of my screening. Colin Farrell plays a surgeon who must make a terrible choice when a former patient’s son threatens his family. It is dark and twisted yet weirdly funny; an acquired taste for sure and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days.
While far from the best film based on a Stephen King novel, IT is the adaptation that feels most like a Stephen King book. The tone, the atmosphere, the humour and the scares made me feel like I was in the world I had read so much about and even more specifically, Derry felt just like the town in the novels. IT was a gargantuan task to undertake and while the actual horror elements let me down a little, the film just ‘gets’ Stephen King like none before it.
- Wonder Woman
I could write about the huge positive and important social ramifications that Wonder Woman means for Hollywood and major motion pictures but I’m not going to. There’s no need because while all of that it incredibly important it is not the reason why the film is on my list. Wonder Woman is on my list because it is a damn good movie. It may be the usual poster-quote hyperbole but it is true: the action is spectacular and the love story actually works and feels genuine. I haven’t cared for the recent DC movies (I hated Suicide Squad) but Wonder Woman shows the potential of the franchise and the success is no doubt down to director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot who managed to make a film that fits into a cinematic universe but feels like a standalone film first. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry and it’ll make you have faith in the DCEU once again.
- Thor: Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok is probably the film I had the most fun with in 2017. Just for minute-to-minute enjoyment it takes the cake. Taika Waititi is a unique voice in Hollywood and he turns the sluggish Thor series into one of my favourite MCU movies to date. The comedy just works and visually the film is stunning; the far-off planets being a welcome change of location than just boring old Earth again. Does it have one of the best narratives of the year? No. Nor does it have much of a sense of genuine danger or emotional investment but it did make me laugh. A lot.
After cookie-cutter instalments of just about every comic-book movie franchise, Logan was a breath of fresh air. Depressing, aged and gore-sweetened fresh air I should say. Logan gives a proper send-off to both Wolverine and Professor X in a film that is allowed to take its natural and comfortable form instead of being forced into a mould. Logan is finally the character teased in the previous films, a violent and regretful beast who is waiting to die. The actual plot is nothing special but the film focuses on the nuance of the character and is more interested in the interactions between characters which are meaningful, full of pathos and not just placeholder scenes until we get to the next action sequence like some other X-Men movies. Logan might not be the end of the X-Men franchise but I think it should have been. I don’t see them ever topping it.
- Get Out
I’m not sure there is anything I can add to the Get Out discussion. It’s critically acclaimed, made a huge profit on release and has been dissected in every which direction. I’ll simply add my voice to the choir and comment on what an incredible film Get Out is. It was marketed and sold as a horror movie and for the most part it is, but it is so much more. Funny yet uncomfortable, scary yet ridiculous it is a biting social satire that explores its themes in a pitch perfect way. The film is Jordan Peele’s feature debut and while he is constantly receiving praise for his direction we can’t forget that he wrote the script which would be a tight thriller even without the sociological messages, but with them the movie is something really special.
- Baby Driver
Hot Fuzz is up there as one of my favourite comedies of all time and the kinetic direction of Edgar Wright is a large reason why. He’s got flair and style by the bucket load and I was a little worried that would get lost in his bigger, more-mainstream American thriller Baby Driver particularly with his last film, The World’s End, being a disappointment. Thankfully my worry turned out not to be prophetic because Baby Driver managed to be a musical-comedy-crime-caper-action-thriller while very much staying an Edgar Wright film. The exuberant and fun direction stayed and it wasn’t all style but substance too with an engaging story focusing on Baby, a getaway driver who wants to get away. It’s not the most original story but the dialogue is snappy and the action has weight with every gunshot and gear change. The use of music and colour and just about everything else is damn near perfect and Jon Hamm is excellent; if he could be Batman already that would be great.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi is seemingly surrounded by infinite controversy but I respect and enjoy its bold direction and I believe it’s the Star Wars film we needed to truly begin this new era of the franchise. I’ve written in the past that I have some small issues with the film and I still do but as an unapologetic mega-fan of the franchise, The Last Jedi is probably the film released in 2017 that I’m going to watch, think about and just overall enjoy the most. The character arcs are the standout success of the film for me and I loved seeing the direction, some expected and others not, that they went. Oh, and Vice-Admiral Holdo flying ‘The Raddus’ at lightspeed into ‘The Supremacy’ might just be the greatest cinematic moment of the year. Goosebumps every time. And yes, I love what Rian Johnson did with Luke.
- Trainspotting 2
I haven’t seen ‘T2: Trainspotting’ on any other top ten lists and that’s a damn shame. Despite having a rubbish title, I will always refer to it as Trainspotting 2, it has become one of my very favourite films. While most reviews were positive I feel the film has been forgotten about since its early 2017 release; I’m in the minority but I prefer it to the original. It lacks the frantic energy of the original but has something more, something better. It’s slower and more deliberate. Aged like the characters and has more interesting things to say. Danny Boyle’s direction has become refined, his experience shows and the same can be said for the more understated performances of the key actors. It’s emotional and funny with great musicality and while being unmistakably Scottish, its themes are universal. Trainspotting 2 is my favourite film of 2017.
What have I got right and what have I got wrong? Let me know your top ten in the comments and geek out with me about TV, movies and videogames on Twitter @kylebrrtt.