Best Films of 2017
2018 is just around the corner. But 2017 wouldn’t be complete without taking a look back at what the year had to offer. And this time, we’re talking cinema. We’re not doing our usual Top 10, instead we’re going to take a look the year through categories. So without further ado, here’s the best the big screen had to offer in 2017!
Best Documentary Film of 2017 – Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
You may have scrolled past Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond on Netflix well into double figures over the last month. But this fascinating dive into Jim Carrey’s time spent portraying comedian Andy Kaufman is one of the year’s must-see documentaries. Using a recent extended interview and around 100 hours of footage shot on the set of Man on the Moon, a film which earned Carrey a Golden Globe, the film documents Carrey’s transformation into Kaufman for four whole months. The Great Beyond reflects on how Jim and Andy came up in oddly parallel universes, how Jim completely embodied Andy and his alter ego Tony for so long, as well as the spiritual journey of Carrey’s career in general. You don’t even need to like/know Kaufman or Carrey to find this one of the most fascinating stories of method acting there’s arguably ever been.
Best Musical Film of 2017 – Baby Driver
If you speak to anyone who’s seen Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, the first thing they’ll probably tell you about is the movie’s soundtrack. And it is absolutely stonking right from the start-line. Which is no real surprise given that the inception of Baby Driver began in 2003 when Wright road-tested the set-up during a music video he directed for the band Mint Royale, starring Noel Fielding. As such, the movie plays out as one continuous operatic music video. It’s clear that each scene was crafted by Wright only when he had found the perfect track for it. The action and dialogue fit perfectly with the tempo and timings, and it’s perfectly fluid rather than being frantic and chaotic. It may not be a musical in the traditional sense, but it has all the hallmarks of one.
Best World Cinema Film of 2017 – Elle
It’s been a great year for World Cinema, but for us there’s been no better film than Paul Verhoeven’s first French-language film, Elle. The ‘elle’ in this case is Michèle Leblanc, played by the mesmerising and ambiguous Isabelle Huppert. She’s a complicated and very successful CEO of a video game company who is raped in her home by an assailant in a ski mask. Rather than breaking down in fits of rage and grand proclamations, elle simply cleans up the mess and resumes her life – albeit a tumultuous one which is filled with deception, frustration and painfully palpable grief. Elle’s most impressive achievement is that it allows both the character and the tone of the film to be so completely unnerving, while still keeping both exhilarating and often even funny. It may be disconcerting but Elle needs to be seen.
Best Horror Film of 2017 – Get Out
A film which could have just as easily made it to the top spot in our Comedy category, Get Out is one of this year’s most original and arguably most important films. Jordan Peele’s intelligent directorial debut was crowned the highest grossing debut film for an original screenplay, and it’s no wonder upon viewing. Telling the story of a young black man visiting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time, Get Out seamlessly fuses dark comedy with genuine horror and makes for a satire so culturally relevant, we make it one of 2017’s genuine masterpieces.
Best Indie Film of 2017 – Good Time
Say it quietly, but Robert Pattison has had a very good year. Though it didn’t receive the audiences it should have, we made The Lost City of Z one of the most under-rated films of the year. Then came the actor’s standout performance in Good Time. R Patz plays Connie Nikas, a scumbag hustler with a heart of gold in neon-lit New York. Directed by brothers Ben and Josh Safdie, there’s little overtly new about Good Time, but it’s packed full of energy and heart, with Pattison and Ben Safdie sharing a beautifully written and performed relationship that’s central to the film’s memorability. New York’s underbelly is shot fantastically despite the film’s modest budget, with the film delivering a crime drama which offers far more than the usual genre tropes.
Best Family Film of 2017 – Paddington 2
If you go see one film this Christmas which doesn’t involve a galaxy far, far away, we implore you to spend the afternoon with your family and deepest, darkest Peru’s favourite marmalade-loving bear. Paul Smith’s Paddington sequel excels as both a warming slapstick romp and as a love-letter to the power of kindness. It is unapologetic clean-natured fun, but we’d be surprised if Paddington 2 didn’t win over even the most hardened cynics. Hugh Grant stealing every scene as the camp, cravat-wearing villain should see to that.
Best Comic Book Film of 2017 – Thor: Ragnarok
With DC Comics rushing the whole damn thing, Marvel only further cemented their stronghold on the comic book film industry in 2017, with Thor: Ragnarok their stand out contribution. Many believed that the only place to go was up with the latest Thor. Not only was that achieved, Ragnarok soared in a gloriously vibrant adventure that put comedy front and centre. This was primarily down to Taika Waititi, Ragnarok’s director who Disney gave a budget as well as the final cut for the film. The New Zealander is known for his off-beat delivery, and as such the film does deviate from some of the usual genre tropes. But it’s all the better for it. Put simply, the latest Thor is a genuinely funny movie with some great characters and some cracking action sequences. What more could you want!?
Best Comedy Film of 2017 – The Disaster Artist
If you know Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’, you’ll understand the hype that surrounded James Franco’s The Disaster Artist. Thankfully this time, the hype was real. Franco’s film dramatises the life of Wiseau and the making of the best worst film ever made. Franco not only directed the film but he also starred as culturally ambiguous artist, who has been described as “Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient.” It’s a must-see for anyone who has a space in their heart for The Room, and we’d highly recommend it even if you haven’t had the pleasure of sitting through a screening with spoons flying around the theatre – just don’t ask… Unlike the original, The Disaster Artist has been received so positively, there’s even talk of award season success.
Best Sci-Fi Film of 2017 – Blade Runner 2049
Though it may have technically ‘flopped’ at the box office, there hasn’t been too many films this year which received as many plaudits as Blade Runner 2049. There’s just no denying that the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi cult classic is a visual masterpiece. Denis Villeneuve’s vision not only matched Scott’s style, but it even widened the scope of the original’s dystopian future. Simply put, 2049 is a better film than the original. It’s bleak and tragic yet epic and romantic. It’s absorbing. And like all great sci-fi films, there’s a real sense of contemporary satire about technology, the environment and politics. Blade Runner 2049 is as original as a faithful sequel gets, and we make it one of 2017’s best films.
Best Action Film of 2017 – Dunkirk
Having spent almost a full decade exploring the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy, Christopher Nolan decided to place his talents on historical drama in Dunkirk. Set in WWII during Operation Dynamo, Nolan’s latest film is undoubtedly his most intense to date with Hans Zimmer’s haunting score deserving of some serious thanks from the film’s director. Three different stories are intertwined seamlessly by Nolan in Dunkirk – one land, one air, and one sea – each of which is dealt with care and intricacy despite the ever-changing time frames. The result is something relentless that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats from the off.
Best Film of 2017 – Call Me By Your Name
Rather inevitably, much has been made of Call Me By Your Name’s LGBT importance, with comparisons to February’s Oscar winner Moonlight naturally unavoidable. But Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of André Aciman’s novel is much more than just its headlines and GIFs – it’s one of the most affecting romances of its time. Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet play the young lovers during a sun-drenched summer in rural Italy, where everybody does little else but pick fruit, talk in monologues and lay around sunbathing. But despite its charmed setting, CMBYN is subtle, authentic and a completely moving portrayal of the thrill of first love and the pain of its withering. We’d be shocked in this didn’t clean-up come award season in early 2018.
So there we have it – our favourite films of 2017! Don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Albums of the Year too!