Top 3 Films of 2017



For me, 2017 felt like a very mixed bag for film. There were a lot of brilliant films which were a joy to see, but unfortunately, there were also a lot of disappointments – Justice League, Loving Vincent and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are just a few examples. In this post though, I’ll be listing my top 3 favourite films of the year, opting to focus on the good, rather than the bad. Let’s start 2018 positively!

Get Out

This was undoubtedly my favourite film of 2017. I must admit, initially, I was sceptical of it due to being a long-time fan of the 1967 film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which featured a very similar premise. Fortunately, whilst similar in nature, the films were distinct and Get Out naturally hit’s much harder due to the more liberal time we live in (though the film leads us to question just how liberal we really are…).

The film tells the story of Chris who is invited to meet his girlfriend’s (Rose) family at their rural home in America. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like something to be worried about. The only ‘problem’, however, is that Chris is black, and his girlfriend is white. To his surprise though, his skin colour doesn’t turn out to be a problem, but this only provides momentary relief as much more sinister things are afoot.

The main reason I loved this film so much is that I’ve always had a fascination with how African Americans are treated in the US. For a country that claims to be ‘the land of the free’ and the greatest nation in the world, it has a very dark history and a long way to go in terms of racial equality.

What makes Get Out so interesting though is that it doesn’t just focus solely on those who are blatantly racist, but those who consider themselves liberal. A great example of this is when Rose first introduces Chris to her father who immediately tries to find common ground with him by over-emphasising how much he loves Obama. This is then worsened throughout the film. When discussing sports over dinner, Rose’s brother asks if Chris has ever tried MMA, and when he replies he hasn’t, her brother immediately reacts shocked replying, “with your frame and your genetic makeup, if you really pushed your body … you’d be a fucking beast”.

Whilst on the surface these comments appear innocent, it highlights the fact that true equality still hasn’t been reached. The fact Rose’s white family feel the need to try and find common ground with Chris with things they associate with black culture (Obama and being good at sport) shows they’re still primarily seeing him as Rose’s black boyfriend rather than just her boyfriend – an important distinction.

Despite trying to convey an important message, however, Get Out is also extremely funny. Films that try and beat a viewer into submission with an over-emphasised message can become draining, and this is where Jordan Peele’s comedic background really shines through. Get Out pokes and prods you enough to make you feel uncomfortable and question your own moral compass, but provides enough laughs that you don’t feel victimised – a hard thing to achieve.

In summary, this film is haunting, hilarious, and necessary. If you haven’t had a chance to see it already, go and watch it – it is a masterpiece. Jordan Peele has proved himself as a directorial genius with this film, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.

Baby Driver

Baby Driver is a clear second place for me. This film has style, class, and most importantly, an incredible soundtrack. Featuring an all-star cast comprised of Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey (who is tainted by recent news), Jamie Foxx and John Hamm, this isn’t one to be missed.
The film tells the story of the gifted getaway driver, Baby, who also suffers from tinnitus – to stop the constant ringing in his ears, Baby relies on music from his iPod to drown it out, allowing him to focus. Being the best in the business, Baby finds it hard to escape his criminal lifestyle, but when he meets the girl of his dreams, he decides the game is up. Things are never that easy though, and Baby is blackmailed into doing one final job which not only risks his romance and his freedom, but also his life.

Usually, I’m not a huge fan of action films, but Baby Driver is different – it’s unique. Unlike most generic action films, Edgar Wright’s (the director) attention to detail sets it out from the crowd. You can tell this immediately from the opening scene which shows Baby waiting in the car whilst his team get out and hold-up a bank. Whilst waiting, Baby starts lip syncing Bellbottoms by the John Spencer Blues Explosion. This isn’t just an ordinary lip sync though, Baby has the car windscreen wipers moving in sync, he air drums on the steering wheel and revs the engine with increasing ferocity as the pace of the song heightens – in short, it’s one of the best opening scenes to a film I have ever seen. A bold claim, I know.

The real stand out of the film for me though was the soundtrack and the way music is incorporated into the film. You can tell from the outset just how important and interwoven music is going to be to the film when Baby goes to get coffee after a heist and the lyrics of the Harlem Shuffle by Bob and Earl are cleverly embedded into the environment. Having music as such an important part of the film makes you empathise and connect more with Baby too due to his life being so intrinsically linked with music. As a result, it only feels natural that music plays an equally large part in the film – in essence, we are hearing the film through headphones along with Baby.  

This is, without doubt, my favourite film of Edgar Wright’s despite directing other fan favourites such as Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and Ant-Man. The pairing of a compelling story and stellar soundtrack made this film irresistible for me, and one I couldn’t recommend more. Go and see it!

Logan

Currently, whether you like them or not, it cannot be denied that we are in a golden age for comic book movies. With the ever-increasing success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in particular, this has led to the green-lighting of seemingly riskier films – arguably, the best example of this being Deadpool. Paving the way for R-rated superhero films due to its wild and somewhat unexpected success, this allowed fans to finally get the Wolverine film they had been clamouring for, and what a film it was, with many calling it the best superhero film ever made - something I don’t necessarily disagree with.

The film stars a much older, tired and resigned Logan who has become an alcoholic taxi driver in a dystopic 2029. To add to this, his powers don’t work as effectively as they used to leaving him covered in scars, his claws are metaphorically rusty (no longer making the iconic ‘snickt’ sound they used to in their prime), and he’s still trying to reconcile with his dark past. Part of the reason Logan now keeps a low profile is that he is caring for an ailing Professor X in the desert. Their seclusion and life of hiding are soon interrupted though when a group of mercenaries hunting a child with very similar abilities to Logan track them down and disrupt their peace.

The primary reason that Logan is such a fantastic superhero film (for me, anyway) is that it is much more grounded in reality than any other. Don’t get me wrong, I love a crazy and utterly unbelievable adventure such as Thor: Ragnarok, but it was very refreshing to see a superhero battling normal issues. Of course, given the fact we’re talking about Logan, a man with metal claws who is near invincible, there is still a lot of stuff that is unbelievable, but the main tensions in the film are Logan coming to terms with the fact that he is aging and isn’t the man he used to be, and having to look after both a child who is attempting to find her place in the world, and Professor X who is fighting a losing battle with dementia – very real problems that people can relate to, or at least genuinely empathise with.

Jackman repeatedly stated that Logan would be his final outing as Wolverine, and for me and many others, this was the perfect swansong for him - finally allowing us to see him at his most vulnerable, but also his most violent. Due to the R-rating they were finally granted, this meant we got to see Wolverine in all his bloody, animalistic glory with nothing being watered down or tamed for younger audiences. In essence, this was the Wolverine fans had been wanting from the beginning but hadn’t been allowed to see.

Ironically though, whilst I loved the hyper-violence of Logan, the best moments of the film are found in the interactions between the characters in the quieter, more intimate moments of the film which provide a beautiful contrast and reflect the question Logan keeps asking himself – whether a man who has shed so much blood can ultimately be redeemed?

In summary, Logan isn’t your stereotypical superhero film – it takes the best bits from genres such as the Western and the Buddy Movie and rolls them into one glorious, blood-soaked, but also very intimate film about a man coming to terms with his past and also his humanity, proving that not all superhero films have to involve fighting aliens in space to make them a success.

Honourable Mentions

Other films that I also really enjoyed in 2017 but didn’t quite make my Top 3 were:

·         Lost City of Z

·         Thor: Ragnarok

·         The Disaster Artist

·         Dunkirk


Let’s hope that 2018 is equally as good cinematically, if not better! For now though, I will be seeing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Hostiles, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in the coming weeks and can’t wait to review them! I have high hopes… let's hope I'm not disappointed.


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