Movies | Top Ten Movies of 2017
With 2017 now completely out of the way, it’s time to look back at my favourite films of the year just gone, counting down the top ten in reverse order. There are quite a few notes to add, so I’ll get through them right away rather than leaving you wondering why certain films are on here and others are not.
Firstly, this list is for films released in the UK in 2017, so there are films that were released in 2016 elsewhere that are present. However, this does also exclude Molly’s Game – which would have been in the top ten – because, while I did watch it in 2017 at an advance screening, it wasn’t officially released until today, meaning it misses out by 24 hours.
Then there are the films that have already been released outside the UK that aren’t out here yet, but I'm really eager to see. Among these are Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (released January 12th), Coco (January 19th), The Shape of Water (Feb 14th), Lady Bird (Feb 16th), and I, Tonya (Feb 23rd). Quite why there's a delay between US and UK releases remains beyond my understanding.
Unfortunately, there are also the films that I couldn’t find the time for in 2017, often thanks to their limited time on UK screens, including Colossal, The Big Sick, John Wick: Chapter 2, Wind River, mother! and Raw. I really want to see all of them, but it will be too late for this list. There’s also The Disaster Artist that misses out, although hopefully it’s run extends to this weekend and I’ll at least get to see it on the big screen.
There are other awards and critics favourites that I haven’t mentioned and aren’t on my list, but just didn’t sell themselves well enough for me to be interested in them. Harsh, but true.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with my top ten films of 2017!
10. The Death of Stalin
Sneaking in after watching it on the last day of 2017, Armando Ianucci’s film is a very dark comedy about the chaos that followed Stalin’s death in 1953. It’s incredibly funny, with Jason Isaac’s absolutely stealing the show as Zhukov, although the film doesn’t shy away from showing just how horrible the characters are either.
9. Thor: Ragnarok
Another incredibly funny film, this time from Taika Waititi. Normally, the third instalment in a franchise is a money grab or finishes off an over-arching story-line. Ragnarok instead reinvents the Thor films as a buddy comedy with the Hulk and Valkyrie, establishing a new status quo at the same time. But Marvel films are safe and never take any risks…
Read my review of Thor: Ragnarok here.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Yet another very funny film in this countdown is a second successive Marvel Cinematic Universe entry with a second outing for James Gunn’s lovable band of misfits. The cast still have fantastic chemistry with each other, they have an excellent antagonist and, while not as good as the first film, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.
Read my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here.
7. Logan Lucky
This is another hilarious film, set around a heist carried out by some very colourful characters indeed, including Daniel Craig’s excellent Joe Bang. Not only does it contain the funniest scene I saw in 2017, it has a lot of heart too, and you’ll genuinely be rooting for the cast of criminals to pull off their elaborate plan.
Read my review of Logan Lucky here.
Changing tones a little, Logan is a very dark and serious film, as the characters of Wolverine and Professor X come to the end of their time on the big screen. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart both put in franchise-best performances in the perfect send-off to their characters, with the incredible Dafne Keen somehow topping the pair of them as Laura/X-23.
Read my review of Logan here.
5. War for the Planet of the Apes
Continuing the darker tone, the latest Apes film is as bleak as you can imagine, even if the war is more ideological rather than a straight-up battle between Ape and men. It’s yet another example of why motion-capture performers deserve greater recognition than they currently do, with Andy Serkis putting in a career-best showing as Caesar, leading to a hopeful, yet bittersweet ending.
4. The Florida Project
This film is an eye-opener for just how good unknown performers can be if the writing and direction are there to guide them in the right direction. Bria Vinaite is fantastic, Brooklynn Prince is jaw-droppingly incredible as her daughter Moonee, and Willem Dafoe is perfect as the motel manager keeping an eye on everything. The very final scene didn’t quite work for me, but the rest of the movie was so good that it definitely earned its place on this list.
Read my review of The Florida Project here.
3. Get Out
This film is great because it all feels so natural and real, and there’s a sense of uneasy tension from the moment Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris meets his white girlfriend’s parents, that builds and builds and builds right up until the movie finally tips into full-blown horror. I also have to praise Allison Williams as Rose, who gives the most disturbingly-perfect performance her role demanded.
Read my review of Get Out here.
2. Blade Runner 2049
I cannot overstate how much I loved this film. I think the original is fantastic, but I genuinely think that Denis Villeneuve may have made something that surpassed it. It looks incredible, I love the performances and I can’t wait for it to come out on Digital HD in the UK so I can put it on almost permanent loop. Arrival was great, Blade Runner 2049 is a masterpiece. Bring on Dune.
Read my review of Blade Runner 2049 here.
1. The Handmaiden
This was on a lot of film critics’ lists for 2016, but didn’t get a UK cinematic release until April 2017, and I can totally understand why. Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri give the most incredible performances, utterly convincing you of their characters’ love for each other.
There’s a clever use of structure as well, showing us events from two different sides and this plays with the audience’s expectations perfectly. After seeing The Handmaiden, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a long, long time and it just edges ahead of Blade Runner 2049 as my favourite film of 2017.
Read my review of The Handmaiden here.