Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Best of 2017: Top 10 Films of the Year


Throughout the course of 2017, it seemed like cinema had a point to prove. As the industry struggles to stay relevant to society, many of the year's most prominent films aimed to capture the zeitgeist and assert their importance. From empowering blockbusters like "Wonder Woman" to the racial tensions underlying films like "Get Out", the word "timely" frequently came up in discussions of the year's releases.

As film critics we often like to pretend we're immune to prioritizing the perceived "importance" over the artistry. But the truth remains that art and politics will always be intertwined. My own Top 10 list reflects this, as the films seemed to be in conversation with each other, despite the varied genres and styles they represent. On reflection, it became clear that the intolerance associated with the Trump era was a issue that resonated with me, whether it be through allegorical ("War for the Planet of the Apes") or more literal ("In the Fade") means. Meanwhile, some of my other favorites ("Call Me by Your Name") were more "timeless" than "timely", reflecting filmmaking in all its glorious beauty.

Indeed, at the end of the year, I felt nothing but appreciation for an outstanding year of cinema. Here are the 10 films I loved the most, including excerpts from my reviews:

Honorable Mention: Mudbound, The Post


10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(directed by Martin McDonagh)
"McDonagh's brilliant screenplay takes on metaphorical power in its scathing condemnation of American society."


9. The Other Side of Hope
(directed by Aki Kaurismäki)

"Kaurismäki is soberingly blunt in exposing the hypocrisy of European liberalism."


8. In the Fade
(directed by Fatih Akin)

"Transforms seamlessly from gut-wrenching tragedy to a lean, propulsive revenge thriller."


7. The Insult
(directed by Ziad Doueiri)

"A powerful reminder of the damaging effects of bigotry, prejudice and even more universally, fragile masculinity."


6. War for the Planet of the Apes
(directed by Matt Reeves)

"As fresh and visionary as the brilliant 1968 original."


5. City of Ghosts
(directed by Matthew Heineman)

"Two years after examining the violence of the Mexican drug trade in “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman is back with another bracingly intimate account of an ongoing state of terror."


4. The Square
(directed by Ruben Östlund)

"This masterful film becomes not just a satire of the modern art world, but of life itself and its endless absurdities."


3. The Work
(directed by Jairus McLeary & Gethin Aldous)

"McLeary’s camera gets up close and personal to an almost overwhelming extent."


2. A Ghost Story
(directed by David Lowery)

"With minimalist production design, unshowy cinematography and little dialogue, Lowery conveys a story of tremendous beauty and power.


1. Call Me by Your Name
(directed by Luca Guadagnino)

"Filled with moments of pure bliss, this deeply touching film is a romance for the ages."

2 comments:

  1. A fun list filled with several films I still need to see. I believe only one of your picks made my Top 10 List. A testament to the sheer variety of 2017.

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  2. So far, I've only seen War For the Planet of the Apes. I love that one, so no argument for me. I've never even heard of The Work, but your ranking plus that gif has me very intrigued.

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