Jordan Peele’s first solo film as a director, Get Out, was on my radar early in the year after receiving high praise from film critics. However, it had a limited release in Australia and I did not get time to watch it. Blade Runner 2049 was another film loved by critics that came out at a busy time for me. I loved Dennis Villeneuve’s 2016 film Arrival and have heard great things about his Blade Runner sequel. Another interesting film that I missed was Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!. Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (2000) is a terrific film and I was interested by his new film, but once again it had a limited release in Australia. Hopefully I can get to them in the New Year.
Other films I was hoping to watch this year included The Dark Tower (Nikolaj Arcel), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Luc Besson) – I’m a sucker for amazing visuals in film – and Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts). Heck, I haven’t even seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet.
Enough about what I missed. In order of release, here are some films that I really enjoyed this year.
Allied (Robert Zemeckis)
Allied came out on December 26, 2016, but it was after I did 2016’s list so I’m including it here. Allied stars Brad Pitt as Canadian airman Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard as French Resistance operative Marianne Beauséjour covering as a married couple for a mission. While undercover, they fall in love and marry for real. The film takes a turn when Vatan is told to help investigate whether his new wife is a double agent working for the Nazis.
Allied is a terrific thriller, keeping the viewer guessing until the reveal. You never know which way the film is going to go until it gets there. Pitt and Cotillard’s performances were great, the two share a delightful chemistry. Cotillard is especially convincing in her performance, adding to the mystery of whether she is a loving wife or double agent.
Split (M. Night Shyamalan)
Split is a thriller about three girls who are kidnapped by a man called Kevin (James McAvoy) who is diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities. They realise they have to escape before being used as tributes for Kevin’s 24th personality. Split is typical M. Night Shyamalan; just when you think the film is going one way, it heads in another direction thanks to a strange and unexpected twist.
The standout of the film is McAvoy’s performance as the different personalities. He captivates, giving each personality a distinct feel. From a religious maid to a young child, each personality is interesting and it’s eerie and fascinating seeing McAvoy switch between them.
Logan (James Mangold)
Logan was such a refreshing take on the superhero genre and a great conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine saga. Logan tells the story of a weary superhero who is finally feeling the effects of years of fighting. Logan realises he is slowly being poisoned by his metal claws, and he is losing patience caring for his friend Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) whose mind is deteriorating. When Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant with similar powers to Logan, shows up, he can’t help but protect her from the film’s villains who want to use her as a weapon.
Logan is a beautifully shot and directed film about family and illness, with entertaining action sequences, that happens to feature protagonists with mutated abilities. As I said in my review, Logan takes “audiences on an emotional journey that succeeds because of how cathartically depressing it is”.
Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins)
Super hero films were all a lot of fun this year. Thor: Ragnarok revived the Thor stand-alone films with a more humorous tone. Justice League finally united DC’s heroes on the big screen, and it was an entertaining ride.
However, Wonder Woman is the super hero film I’d like to highlight as my favourite film of 2017. Gadot has embraced the Wonder Woman mythos and plays her with such integrity to the character. Patty Jenkins’ retelling of the origin story is action packed and hits all the right notes. The no-man’s land scene is one of my favourite scenes in a film. It’s a very well directed scene filled with symbolism for the character and her views.
I wrote more in-depth about Wonder Woman in my review.
Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)
With Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan captured World War 2 from a different perspective. Nolan’s story about the British evacuation from Dunkirk is an intense tale, refusing to give the viewer a break for most of its run-time. The camera focuses on individual everyday soldiers, capturing their struggles as they wait for help to get them off Dunkirk.
Dunkirk‘s sound design is a standout for the film. There’s a constant ticking noise throughout the film that keeps the viewer on edge, and it escalates as the stakes rise for the protagonists. Through this smart sound design, the viewer is more deeply connected to the protagonists and their plight. I took an in-depth look at Dunkirk earlier this year. Dunkirk feels like a different film for Christopher Nolan, allowing him to further showcase his cinematic genius.
So there you have it, my favourite films of 2017. That concludes my yearly wrap up on video games and films. Let me know what your favourite films were this year in the comments below.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the content on Think First Entertainment this year, even if it wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked. I hope to have a more consistent stream of content in 2018, with more analysis on current news and events, and the think-pieces and reviews that are the core of TFE.
Have a great holiday,