By now you’ve hopefully seen my list for my Top 10 worst films of 2017, if you haven’t make sure you check that out on either my website or on my YouTube Channel. With that list out the way, it’s now time to delve into my favourites of the year. Let me reiterate, this is a list of my favourites. These are the films that I reacted strongly to and that left a lasting impression on me. Let’s get started.
This French-Belgian coming of age horror is without a doubt one of the best films 2017 had to offer. The film follows a vegetarian girl named Justine, who is just starting her first semester at a veterinary school. After being forced to take part in a ritual, her taste for meat is awakens which leads her to crave human flesh. Raw is so many things at once, first and foremost it’s an engaging coming of age story, where we follow our lead character on a journey of self discovery and sexual awakening. But what makes this film truly unique is how it implements the idea of a vegetarian girl, with a growing taste and craving for the wrong type of meat. The cannibalistic nature of the story received strong audible reactions at the screening I was in, everyone reacted to it differently. Director Julia Ducournau never went overboard with the subject matter and it would’ve been so easy to. The scenes which involve cannibalism are shocking and get under your skin (pun not intended), but at no point does it ever become gratuitous. The film is directed with style and sophistication and Garance Marillier’s feature length debut performance is one of the year’s best.
Christopher Nolan’s war epic is unlike any other War film ever made. It truly thrusts the audience into the historic situation back in World War II, in which over 400,000 men were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk with little hope for survival. This film is a technical marvel, The cinematography, sound design and sound mixing created a unique experience unlike anything I have ever experienced in a cinema. The IMAX presentation was immaculate, Nolan truly presented some of the most gorgeous aerial shots my eyes have witnessed. The use of time and how the structure of the film is told from three different perspectives, simply adds to the exhilarating experience. Every scene on land spans over a week, every scene at sea spans over a day and the aerial sequences with the spitfires span over one hour. It’s a unique way of telling this narrative and it’s one that adds a lot of intrigue to the film as you are watching it. The film is incredibly immersive and intense from beginning to end, and the time manipulated narrative structure is excellent.
08. The Florida Project.
The Florida Project completely caught me off guard. I didn’t know anything about the film before I saw it and afterwards I was very moved by what I had witnessed. The film shines a light on an aspect of American society that not much attention is typically paid to, and that’s poverty. It showcases the life of a mother struggling to provide for her young daughter, whilst she renting a room in Motel not even knowing if she will even have enough money to be able to stay there the following week, and provide a roof over the head of her child. It’s a touching story and I really grown to care for these characters as they tried to tackle all the obstacles they are faced with. Bria Vinaite’s debut performance as Halley, the struggling mother is such a strong one. It felt so authentic and real as she portrayed a mother who at times didn’t seem fit to have a child, but at same time a mother who you could see would do anything for her child, she struck the balance of that perfectly. The true standout of this film is Brooklynn Prince who portrays six year old Moonee. The film wouldn’t be what it is without her realistic, bubbly, funny and loveable performance. She brings so much energy to the film as you follow it through her viewpoint. The complete lack of a musical score added to the realism of this story and how it was told, at times not much was occurring and I liked that. Because that’s reflective of how real life actually is. It felt like a documentary as if it were an insight into real life events that were occurring, and that benefited the message that was being put forward and the film overall.
07. Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is probably the most polarising Star Wars Film yet, some fans are defending it whilst others are strongly criticising it. I throughly enjoyed the film. It took many risks and most of them paid off, Rian Johnson fearlessly pushed Star Wars in a unique direction with this story. He develops some of the saga’s most iconic characters in a way which is completely unexpected, and the attention given to taking Rey and Kylo to the next stage in terms of their character development is compelling, as were the outstanding performances from Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.
06. Baby Driver.
Baby Driver isn’t just one of the best original films of the 2017. It’s also one of the best original films of the decade thus far. Full of style and energy, this is a fast paced heist film loaded with fantastic writing and superb car chases. The essential character in this film is the soundtrack, this film is edited to lyrics and sound of the music impeccably. Every key cast member shines and gives a distinct and memorable performance as their character. I fell in love with this film instantly and in my eyes it is destined to be a classic.
05. War for the Planet of the Apes.
From the tense opening frame to the emotional closing frame, War for the Planet of the Apes is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking. My eyes were transfixed on the screen from start to finish, I was so engrossed with the narrative and how the final chapter of Caesar’s story was going to play out. The drama presented in this story is riveting and the character conflicts are balanced, understandable, and utterly compelling. It’s been said many times before but can never be overstated, Andy Serkis’ motion capture performance as Caesar is phenomenal. This is an intelligent blockbuster that will strike you at your core emotionally. It is a remarkable closing chapter to the prequel Apes trilogy.
04. Get Out
The first time I saw the trailer for Get Out, I thought it looked like a rather generic horror film that wouldn’t end up being that good at all. I was wrong. Very wrong. Peele’s directorial debut is an exceptional work of art. I was actually speechless by the time the credits rolled. The script so confidently delves into serious themes of racism and classism, and manages to tackle these subject matters in a satirical way that makes the exploration of these themes, both unnerving and funny at the same time. A lot of my laughs came from the fact that the film was so relatable on a racial level. From the moment Chris arrives at his girlfriends parents house, you get the sense that something isn’t quite right, and the mystery surrounding what is occurring kept me engaged throughout. Also the film holds up very well upon a second viewing as you start to realise, the clues towards the films large revelation were in your face from the beginning. This film is a masterful blend of horror, satire and social commentary.
It’s a tremendous achievement that IT ended up as great as it is. Back when they announced this adaptation of Stephen King’s novel I immediately assumed it would be rubbish. It all began with the teaser trailer that shown a high level of potential, and on the run up to the films release my anticipation was increasing as each month went by. I became borderline obsessed with the film before it even came out because I was looking forward to it that much. I went to see it in IMAX on opening day and it became one of my favourite horror films of all time. This film is like lightning in a bottle, a terrifically executed marketing campaign and great word of mouth created major buzz. That translated into making the film a box office juggernaut and a worldwide phenomenon. Bill Skarsgard’s performance as Pennywise makes that character worthy of standing among Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers as iconic characters that represent the horror genre. Now Pennywise only makes up half of the equation. It was equally important to get The Loser’s Club right, and the cast of young actors they found for these roles absolutely smashed it out of the park. They’re funny, loveable and you genuinely begin to care for them, which then makes the sequences where they are being confronted by Pennywise all that more thrilling. Every member of the cast brought their characters from the novel to life with so much accuracy. This adaptation is a tour de force of nightmarish thrills.
Logan is phenomenal. To be honest I was quite shocked when the film ended. I expected it to be a good film, but I didn’t expect it to be another shinning example of what the comic book genre is capable of. I confidently labelled it my second favourite comic book film of all time and I still stand by that. The film transcends the common conventional limitations of the genre, at it’s core it’s essentially a Western. This is an exceptional send off for Hugh Jackman who has been playing this character for the last seventeen years. On an emotional level this film had me riveted, they managed to take The Wolverine and craft an incredibly personal story, where the relationships between the characters are pushed to the forefront. The stellar script gives Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen the material to deliver some of the strongest performances of the year. We had to wait seventeen years, but we finally got an R-rated depiction of The Wolverine in a film, and it was absolutely worth the wait. Director James Mangold and cinematographer John Mathieson created some visceral moments of violence whilst taking advantage of the R-Rating, but thankfully they never abused that advantage. We get an adamantium claw uppercut through someone’s head, we get claws straight through the front of someone’s skull, we get a dismembered arm due to being sliced off by the claws and despite all of that, the film still manages to remain grounded in realism and focused. The film contains a few great surprises including one moment at the half way point that left my jaw wide open. It’s moments like that, which will make me never forget watching Logan for the first time. It’s compelling, engrossing and truly phenomenal.
01. Blade Runner 2049.
I watched the original Blade Runner a few years ago and I didn’t care for it that much. I certainly appreciated realising how ahead of it’s time the film was, and I spotted a myriad of things that has influenced countless pieces of entertainment every since. Despite all that, I still couldn’t say I even liked the original film. My interest in this sequel came ever since I heard that one of my favourite actors , Ryan Gosling was set to appear in it. As well as the news of Denis Villeneuve sitting in the directors chair. In my eyes Villeneuve is one of the best filmmakers who has been working in this current decade, his previous four films have all been great and last year’s Arrival ended up being my favourite for 2016. So why is Blade Runner 2049 number one on this list and my favourite film of 2017? Simply because it has become one of my favourite films of all time. The narrative and how it unfolds on you as the film progresses is captivating and deeply engrossing. The performances are all fantastic, especially Ryan Gosling’s nuanced emotionally driven performance. The technical aspects of this film are some of the best that’s ever been put to film. Roger Deakins cinematography is immaculate, every single frame is shot and lit impeccably. The musical score pulls you into this world, it’s euphoric and complements the imagery perfectly. It heightens the viewing experience, especially in IMAX with the larger screen and better sound quality. The plethora of themes that this film puts forward makes it very thought provoking,and this sequel actually made me retroactively appreciate the original film even more. I was also glad to see that they retained the ambiguity of certain aspects from the original film, and at no point did they give clear answers to certain questions people have been discussing and debating for decades. This is science fiction at it’s absolute best and the film holds up in it’s second viewing as well. The experience I had watching Blade Runner 2049 is a major example of why I enjoy going to the cinema. It’s a film I will revisit many times for years to come and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you see it.
So that’s it. My 10 favourite films of 2017. Was your favourite film of the year also Blade Runner 2049? If not, then what was it? I’m interested to find out. Tweet me your responses @terrellegraham and make sure you check out my Top 10 Worst Films of 2017 list if you haven’t already.