Top Films of 2017

Here we go again, my best of the year on the big screen:

Moonlight – Barry Jenkins (USA)
A devastatingly beautiful story told in three parts, each resonating feelings of hurt, loss and sadness. In a ragged suburb of Miami, Chiron comes of age and faces the biggest battle of his life, with his own sexuality and identity. A remarkable piece of work from Jenkins, who offers clear tinges of gentle beauty in the darkest of environments. André Holland, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali excel in supporting roles.

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The Salesman – Asghar Farhadi (Iran)
The master of Iranian cinema returns with his best film yet — the brilliant Shahab Hosseini plays Emad, whose wife is assaulted in their home and suffers from acute PTSD. He desperately attempts to determine the identity of the attacker, while also trying to play the lead in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman in a local theatre group.

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Loving – Jeff Nichols (USA)
On the back of the excellent Midnight Special, the imperious Nichols returns with this effortlessly emotional tale of  Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton shine in the two lead roles. An inspirational film for the ages.

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Wind River – Taylor Sheridan (USA)
Jeremy Renner turns in his best performance since The Hurt Locker in Taylor Sheridan’s debut feature. Concluding Sheridan’s “Frontier Trilogy” (he wrote the screenplays for Sicario and Hell or High Water), the film follows U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker Renner and FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen, as they attempt to solve a murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

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Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan (UK)
A cinematic showpiece from acclaimed blockbuster-director Nolan as he tackles the evacuation of the British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940. Harry Styles and Mark Rylance stand out in a terrific ensemble cast.

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Detroit – Kathryn Bigelow (USA)
Expert direction, a phenomenal script and second-to-none production design elevate Detroit to my second most favourite film of 2017. Will Poulter is ghastly but sensational as corrupt, racist police officer Philip Krauss, who is at the centre of the Algiers Motel incident during Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot. Bigelow continues to show she is the most observant filmmaker when it comes to America’s past.

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Call Me By Your Name – Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
I fell in love with this film almost instantly. The unrestricted beauty of Northern Italy is on full show in the final installment in Guadagnino’s thematic Desire trilogy. Timothée Chalamet (starring as Elio, a 17-year-old living in Italy) gives the performance of the year alongside a wonderful Armie Hammer (Elio’s father’s scholarly assistant) — the romantic relationship between them intensifies as the Summer comes to an end. The conversation between Elio and his father at the end of the film is as close to one of the most beautiful cinematic moments you will ever see.

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