Movies of 2017 – 10 of the best

by Dave Phillips
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It’s been a great year for cinema – mainstream, independent and everywhere in-between. Here are our picks for the best of 2017.

Manchester by the Sea
Manchester by the Sea kicked off 2017 with what was easily the most emotionally ruinous moment in cinema this year.

Director Kenneth Lonergan told us a story about profound, unshakeable grief and the arduous road to recovery, featuring a quietly captivating central performance from Casey Affleck. Not an easy watch; not to be missed.

This rich and nuanced character study in three acts from director Barry Jenkins shone a light on the experience of LGBTQ people of colour – territory rarely visited in mainstream cinemas.

Intimate camerawork, an emotive score and superb performances from its three leads made for a uniquely human, often devastating cinematic experience.

The Handmaiden
Fresh territory for Korean director Park Chan-wook, this multi-layered period drama maintained all the masterful framing, bleak humour and brutal violence that has gained his work critical acclaim and cult status.

While not for the squeamish, The Handmaiden is a stunning Hitchcockian suspense tale that mesmerises and devastates in equal measure.

Get Out
Fiendishly entertaining, sinister, shocking and deeply necessary, director Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a social and politically conscious horror movie with purpose.

Balancing bitterly dark humour with thought-provoking social commentary, it wore its genre-movie influences on its sleeve, setting box office records and seizing near-universal praise.

Get Out was a social and politically conscious horror movie with purpose


Christopher Nolan brought his idiosyncratic storytelling approach to one of the war’s most decisive battles in the summer’s biggest cinematic event.

Weaving together a rich tapestry of narratives and timelines, visceral and affecting throughout, Dunkirk managed to be both sweeping and intimate, a WWII epic that will likely stand alongside the classics.

The Death of Stalin
The bewildering nature of Soviet bureaucracy is the perfect fit for director Armando Iannucci’s uniquely bitter brand of political satire in the hilarious The Death of Stalin.
Despite hefty subject matter, the grim facts lend themselves well to farce and absurdity. Great comedic performances from Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin.

The Florida Project
The Florida Project takes a look at all the irrepressible curiosity of childhood with an honesty rarely seen on screen.
Director Sean Baker couples joy with sorrow, always lifting us in high spirits just before he throws us down.

This is empathetic filmmaking at its best, raising critical questions about modern America while keeping us entertained with incredible performances from its young cast and a career-best from Willem Dafoe.


The Florida Project entertained with incredible performances from its young cast


Good Time
This stunning crime thriller from auteur directing duo Ben and Josh Safdie gave Robert Pattinson plenty of room to demonstrate his skills, further cementing his post-teen idol status as an actor to be reckoned with.

Evoking early Scorsese and Michael Mann, Good Time is an exhilarating, often disturbing and emotionally complex drama that was deservedly shortlisted for the Palme D’or at this year’s Cannes.

The Disaster Artist
Finally, a great piece of filmmaking from occasional-director James Franco.
The Disaster Artist tells the stranger-than-fiction true story of Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Room, commonly considered the worst film of all time.

Often moving and downright hilarious throughout, a deeply personal project that actually makes one want to revisit the awful source material.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Perhaps the most unpredictable instalment since the series-defining Empire Strikes Back, director Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi garnered a great deal of critical praise.
Diehard fans, however, found plenty to complain about – Episode VIII is perhaps the least “Star Warsy” Star Wars yet.

Regardless, Johnson’s personal touch cuts through decades of convention; a forward thinking sci-fi epic that feels both exhilaratingly fresh and comfortably familiar.


The Last Jedi garnered a great deal of critical praise






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