AS 2017 draws to a close, James Prestridge of Prestridge² names his top 10 films of the year. You can vote for your favourite in the poll and comment section below – results will be announced at the end of the month.
NETFLIX was vindicated in its decision to pick up Dee Rees’ harrowing and strikingly poetic project. Mudbound is damning of American culture and the racial discrimination that to this day still scars part of the Deep South.
Watch, marvel and churn with rage at the same time.
(Click here to read our full review)
9. Wind River
TAYLOR Sheridan’s run of fine work continued with a tale of violence and loss on an Indian Reservation.
Wind River is a chilling thriller that hits the mark in suspense, action and symbolism. Elizabeth Olsen – as the out-of-her-element FBI agent, Gil Birmingham – as the despondent grieving father – and Jeremy Renner – as the empathetic, calm hero – all give admirable performances to bring weight to this snowy mystery.
8. Blade Runner 2049
THIRTY five years in the making, the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic did not disappoint. Denis Villeneuve crafted an engrossing slow-burn tale which was not short of striking futuristic visuals. Villeneuve also did not cave in to audiences’ diminishing attention spans – and stuck true to measured and rewarding storytelling. Well worth the wait.
JULIA Ducournau’s tale of an unlikely cannibal is a feast of visual pleasure which features a transformative lead performance from Garance Mariller.
If you have not seen it already, may I suggest you dig your teeth into Raw as soon as possible. It is repulsive – yet completely irresistible – and whether you care or not, nutritious cinema.
(Q&A with Ducournau and our review)
6. Manchester by the Sea
MANCHESTER by the Sea takes an unflinching look at the unimaginable grief of a once warm and sociable (now broken and introverted) man.
Yet through the heartbreak there is still warmth to be found in Kenneth Lonergan’s masterful and devastating story – including an impressive performance from newcomer Lucas Hedges and a stroller scene that will linger in your mind for some time.
(Q&A with Kenneth Lonergan and In-Focus look)
5. The Florida Project
SMALL-SCALE with big dreams – that is The Florida Project, a gem of a film from director Sean Baker. With inspired casting, Baker’s film delivers both poetic beauty and hard realistic truths. A film that provokes both joy and anguish in tender fashion.
4. Baby Driver
WE have become accustomed to formulaic action flicks, but Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver reminded us how much excitement such films can bring.
Baby Driver showcases skilful and absorbing sequences matched with engaging characters and a feet-tapping soundtrack. Lily James and Ansel Elgort’s True Romance-esque chemistry, in particular, is a real highlight.
(Baby Driver: Lost in Headphones)
3. Personal Shopper
OLIVIER Assayas unexpectedly takes on issues of technology and the supernatural in a captivating film that has echoes of Satoshi Kon.
Personal Shopper also sees Assayas reunited with Kristen Stewart, who he trusts to carry this story of paranoia and isolation. Stewart, who excelled in Clouds of Sils Maria, responds with a performance that is never short of riveting. The result is a film that does not bend to convention and features a central performance of the highest order.
(Personal Shopper Review, Kristen Stewart: Frames of Beauty. Olivier Assayas Q&A)
2. A Ghost Story
QUIET cinema experiences are somewhat rare. So it is no wonder why David Lowery’s A Ghost Story struck such a moving and appreciative chord.
Starting from the childish image of a bedsheet ghost, Lowery’s story goes on to probe at grief, attachment and the very meaning of our existence in memorising fashion. We are given time to absorb images – to think and meditate.
In our busy and attention-less world, this is a piece of filmmaking to cherish and reflect on. A gentle, contemplative and lasting film.
1. La La Land
IT feels like an age ago now, but Damien Chazelle’s enchanting musical swept UK audiences away back in January. With dazzling visual flair, iconic songs, warming odes and tremendous lead performances, La La Land will rightfully live long in the cinematic conscience.
In an age of over-hyped action and superhero flicks, La La Land gave us a taste of the magical and transformative power of cinema. An inimitable delight that sings louder – and truer – than any of Hollywood’s nosiest franchises.
(Falling in Love with La La Land)