The Courier’s Top 10 Films of 2017

Image: Pixabay

We count down our top 10 films of 2017, as voted by our writers.

10. The Florida Project

The Florida Project is a stunning portrayal of what it is to grow up or, indeed, not.

It follows Moonee and her young mother, Halley, around sun-baked Florida motels. The adventures and charm of this aggressive, scarcely likeable pair are captivating, uplifting, and ultimately heart-breakingly real, and sad.

One of the amazing things about this film is the actors’ lack of experience. Bria Viniate (Halley) was found by director Sean Baker on Instagram, while Brooklynn Prince, at a mere seven, seems prepped for a stunning career.

This film ranks at number ten in our list, but not in my heart. Ten, in this case, means ten out of ten top banger and film anyone who likes films (nay, anyone at all, indeed everyone) should see.

Helena Buchanan

9. Silence

25 years in the making, Martin Scorsese’s religious epic Silence is a brilliant exploration of religious faith and a remarkable piece of filmmaking, which proves that even at age seventy-five, Scorsese is as bold, fascinating and versatile as any director in Hollywood.

Every element of the film is captivating. Liam Neeson gives his best performance in years as Father Ferreira, while Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver excel as the two leads. Rodrigo Prieto’s Oscar nominated cinematography is beautifully atmospheric and Scorsese’s direction is suitably restrained (there are no freeze-frames or fourth wall breaks in sight).

Both pensive and powerful – this is quite possibly Scorsese’s magnum opus.

Dan Haygarth

8. Dunkirk

The Dunkirk evacuation of 1940 has been depicted in film countlessly, but never quite like it is in Dunkirk, making it undoubtedly the definitive cinematic depiction of this major chapter in British history.

The combination of stunning camera work, heart stopping action and breath-taking scenery makes the cleverly layered ninety-minute narrative of enticingly immersive action that guarantees a unique rush of British pride in every watcher. In a political climate where the far right often manipulates patriotism for their own ends, Dunkirk is an immensely influential film in reasserting the British cultural identity and is nothing short of a cinematic masterclass.

Danny Aspinall

7. Logan

Logan clawed its way both onto our screens and into our hearts back in March, bowing out Hugh Jackman as James “Logan” Howlett (better known as, y’know, Wolverine, but I always find it cool that I share his surname) and showcasing the true power and potential of 18-rated superhero films.

Action-packed,emotional, and just the right amount of violent, this film demonstrated exceptionally moving storytelling, great characterisations, and a stunning combination of visual effects and a kick-ass soundtrack – making it thoroughly deserving of its spot in our top ten films of the year.

Georgina Howlett

6. La La Land

Damien Chazelle produced this tragic romantic centred on two strangers who meet in California and try to balance their personal lives with their careers and dreams.

The film is both a love note to Hollywood with its throwbacks to classic musicals like Singin’ In The Rain, and a critique as it also shows the disillusionment that fame and success can bring.

The acting from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is superb and the cinematography is beyond compare too. La La Land deserved every award which it won and even the best picture Oscar that it didn’t.

Steven Ross

5.  Baby Driver

If Grand Theft Auto was a film, this would be it: crazy criminals, outrageous stunts and beautiful women.

Cliché that might sound, but with Edgar Wright in the driver’s seat Baby Driver is sharp, stylish and a lot of fun. Getaway guru ‘Baby’ (Ansel Elgort) hopes to leave this criminal life for good and escape with Deborah (Lily James), but first he must complete one last job.

Breathless action is amplified by a stonkingly good soundtrack as the film crescendos towards its climax. With the dynamism of Ocean’s Eleven and the finesse of Drive, this red-hot heist thriller goes full-throttle.

Sebastian Ward

4. Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name is quite possibly the most romantic film of 2017. From the exquisite Italian locations to the seamless integration of Sufjan Stevens’ music, everything here contributes to Luca Guadagnino’s beautiful end-product.

The film contains one of the most natural relationships the genre has seen in years, with both Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet delivering the best performances of their careers.

Call Me by Your Name ticks every box, being as heart-warmingly funny as it is emotionally resonant – leaving the audience with a message, delivered by protagonist Elio’s father, that will simmer in their minds for a long time to come.

Tom Cooney

3. Get Out

Though it faced some controversy, Get Out is certainly worthy of a top 3 spot. The film featured British actor, Daniel Kaluuya, playing an American in an interracial couple, visiting his white girlfriend’s family.

The film revolves around this racial tension culminating in a very odd course of events including hypnosis, conspiracy and transplants.

Director Jordan Peele should be proud of this feature debut, after having made his name in comedy. This topical plot placed within a comic film makes the racial issues more accessible and asks us to reflect on our own lives.

Scarlett Rowland

2. Moonlight

Surely it is impossible for anybody not to be moved by Moonlight. A typical ‘coming of age’ about a not so typical, and three-dimensional protagonist, Chiron, an African American, gay male.

Whilst being completely visually stunning and experimental, it is never pretentious, assuming or obvious in any way. Using three different actors to take us through Chiron’s life, his heart is our heart and his wounds cut us just as deeply. The expectations that come with the idea of ‘masculinity’ are highlighted loudly and angrily, and we cry, we rage, we love.

This film is a masterpiece, every slight detail is perfection leaving us truly overwhelmed with feeling.

Isobel Clark

1. Blade Runner 2049

And so, the highest on our list was possibly the most hyped on our list.

Decades in the waiting (for some) and brimming with a cast that showcases the best of today’s acting talent, this film brought stunning visuals and cinematography, a gripping story, and an unparalleled soundtrack to this years cinema-goers.

Picking up from the inconclusive story of the first Blade Runner, K (Ryan Gosling), is an advanced android working as a blade runner, someone who tracks down rogue androids and ‘retires’ them, effectively working as an assassin.

Sucked into events that occurred 30 year prior in the first film, K descends into the proverbial rabbit hole, which soon forces him to confront some things that he thought he might never have to confront.

The film is utterly absorbing, with absolute satisfaction for original Blade Runner fanatics like myself. While being maybe a tad too long, Ryan Gosling is immensely good as K, melancholically glowering at the state of things whilst also seemingly glowering with pleasure over his holographic wife. With the possibility of a sequel in the works, we hope that Denis Villenueve returns and does another brill job, and we hope you’re there to review it.

Chris Wilkinson

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