A Year in Film:
Best of 2017

2017 has drawn to a close and with it our 500 film challenge. Over 100 of the films we watched this year were made in 2017 and this has put us in an unusually strong position to offer our considered opinion on the year in film. In other articles you will find our thoughts on the worst of 2017 and other groupings, but here we give you our ultimate countdown of the top 10 best films of 2017.


10. Detroit

What it’s about:

In the summer of 1967, rioting and civil unrest starts to tear apart the city of Detroit. Two days later, a report of gunshots prompts the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Army National Guard to search and seize an annex of the nearby Algiers Motel. Several policemen start to flout procedure by forcefully and viciously interrogating guests to get a confession. By the end of the night, three unarmed men are gunned down while several others are brutally beaten.

What they said:

This is a sombre, grieving movie which appears to gesture to the ghost-town ruin that is still in Detroit’s future. It may not quite have the single compelling lead performance that some might have wanted from it, but it has relevance and passion, and by finding the story’s heart in the music of the Dramatics, Bigelow creates a humanity amid the anguish. Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
Three equally tense tales of before, during and after the Algiers Hotel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots. A fine dramatisation of an incident that shows how 50 years on we have come so far, yet hardly moved forward an inch. Gordon

 


 9. Call Me By Your Name

What it’s about:

It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

What they said:

Even as he beguiles us with mystery, Guadagnino recreates Elio’s life-changing summer with such intensity that we might as well be experiencing it first-hand. It’s a rare gift that earns him a place in the pantheon alongside such masters of sensuality as Pedro Amodóvar and François Ozon, while putting Call Me by Your Name on par with the best of their work. – Peter Debruge (Variety)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
A beautifully romantic tale of a boys sexual awakening, in the Italian countryside. Gordon

 

 


 8. Paddington 2

What it’s about:

Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes. One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt’s 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy’s big celebration.

What they said:

Paddington 2 should be prescribed as an antidote to anyone who finds the madness of the modern world a bit wearing. It’s probably possible to not absolutely love it, but it’s hard to see how. – Olly Richards (Empire)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
As delightful and heartwarming as the original cartoon series, the Paddington sequel improves in almost every way. Hugh Grant is on fine form as the pantomime villain in a wonderfully comic romp. Gordon
A who's who of British stars turn in generally lazy performances in a story that mostly consists of clichéd slapstick comedy scenes and has a gaping plot hole early on. It's made worse by the bear not looking cute enough to be Paddington! Mat

 


 7. Dunkirk

What it’s about:

In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

What they said:

The visuals, the structure, the use of sound and music, and the simple presence of a beating heart – all come together in a whole that is truly breathtaking. – Karen Han (Slashfilm)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
A well crafted, almost documentary style account of a very poignant part of WW2 and the heroic actions that took place. I was absorbed by the whole scenario it portrayed and genuinely cared about the individuals whose stories were played out in the film. Simon
Visually stunning and tonally sound, but Christopher Nolan's multi-timelined screenplay is a narrative let down. Gordon
The set pieces and immersion are all to be applauded, but for such a historic story the narrative is strangely absent. A good film, but feels like a missed opportunity. Gordon

 


 6. Prevenge

What it’s about:

Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.

What they said:

The film’s big flourish is what happens when the baby is born – climactic and even cathartic in some ways, but also disturbing. Prevenge is a tough, dour, gruelling watch. Some audiences might well heartlessly laugh their heads off – the one I was in stayed rapt but mostly silent. It is a well made, well controlled film, and its sullenly monomaniac quality – perhaps partly a function of the star doing the writing and directing – is entirely appropriate for the subject matter. – Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
A superbly macabre and darkly funny film using a topic that is usually taboo. A brilliant debut directorial feature from Alice Lowe. Gordon
At differing points dark, disturbing, comical and tragic, this is certainly a unique film which is well acted and directed, but the ending is a little disappointing and I'm not sure exactly what message it was trying to deliver. Mat

 


 5. Spider-Man: Homecoming

What it’s about:

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighbourhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

What they said:

Spider-Man: Homecoming brings the character back to his basics. In the process, it shows why he’s always been such a popular draw, and it makes a strong argument for a branch of the MCU / Sony heroverse that operates on a smaller scale than the rest of the world. Here, the small size isn’t just a story necessity, or a franchise strategy. It’s the heart of the story, and an argument for smaller hero stories in general. – Tasha Robinson (The Verge)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
Tom Holland proves a worthy successor to Tobey Maguire as Spidey in a film that is equal parts action thriller and high school comedy. As with most Marvel offerings, the action is fun yet forgettable but the characters are what makes it watchable. Mat
Helps to erase the awful memory of the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man's, but it all felt a little too childish. Great action and adventure, but I will be happier when Peter Parker calms down a bit. Gordon

 


 4. Good Time

What it’s about:

After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Robert Pattinson) embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city’s underworld in an increasingly desperate—and dangerous—attempt to get his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of jail. Over the course of one adrenalised night, Connie finds himself on a mad descent into violence and mayhem as he races against the clock to save his brother and himself, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

What they said:

This is Pattinson’s film though, and he commits wholeheartedly, his cold performance leaving you further and further on edge, unable to look away from this immersive experience no matter how much you want to, as Good Time rushes along to its devastating finale. – Rebecca Lewis (Metro)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
Whilst only technically a heist movie, the film is actually a tense and frantic thriller with a killer synth-score and some fantastic performances, not least from co-director Ben Safdie. Gordon

 


 3. Logan

What it’s about:

In the near future, a weary Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he meets a young mutant (Dafne Keen) who is very much like him. Logan must now protect the girl and battle the dark forces that want to capture her.

What they said:

Even as the film’s energy drains in the later going, much like Logan’s healing powers, and long after the fight scenes have lapsed into overkill, Jackman makes his superhero the real deal. The actor, who reportedly conceived the basic thrust of the story, takes the ever-conflicted Logan/Wolverine to full-blooded depths, and the result is a far more cohesive and gripping film than his previous collaboration with Mangold, 2013’s The Wolverine. – Sheri Lyndon (The Hollywood Reporter)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
To call this a superhero film does it a massive disservice. An emotional and violent road movie that is a fitting end to the Wolverine story and is exactly the mature film that many have been hoping for from this genre. Mat
A superhero film that gives no sense of hope. The acting is great and the story brave, but it all feels a little bleak. Gordon

 


 2. A Ghost Story

What it’s about:

A passionate young couple, unexpectedly separated by a shocking loss, discover an eternal connection and a love that is infinite.

What they said:

Pensive, precise and with an elegant, looping structure, this is a first-rate piece of direction from Lowery, who also wrote the screenplay. He employs minimal use of flashbacks, but there is one key moment – M listening to a new composition by her husband – that brings a whole new dimension to the raw emotion of the story. – Wendy Ide (The Guardian)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
A minimalist masterpiece of slow and thoughtful cinema as a white-sheeted ghost tries reconnect with his bereaved wife. Gordon

 


 1. Blade Runner 2049

What it’s about:

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.

What they said:

As bold as the original Blade Runner and even more beautiful (especially if you see it in IMAX). Visually immaculate, swirling with themes as heart-rending as they are mind-twisting, 2049 is, without doubt, a good year. And one of 2017’s best. – Dan Jolin (Empire)

 

What we said:

CommentsReviewer
Looks, sounds and more importatly feels like a Blade Runner movie. After Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve is the new master of thoughtful sci-fi. I can't wait to see if he can make the hattrick. Gordon

 

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