Top Ten of 2017

The time has come to mark another end to the film year and although these posts are not something that I often manage to do, I have been fortunate enough to catch enough films over the last year to be able to chime in with some of my favourites. As is always the case, however, this is not an exhaustive list and any films that eluded me could possibly have made the cut. There are films like Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, Sally Potter’s The Party and the late Harry Dean Stanton’s farewell appearance in Lucky that I wanted to afford some time to but, alas, there’s just not enough hours in the year to catch everything. Added to which, as much as this was a consistently good year for film, there was really only one that received the coveted 5 star treatment. That said, some could possibly achieve that after I’ve had more time to process them or give a reappraisal while other leading awards contenders like Dunkirk, Lady Bird, The Post, Call Me By Your Name and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri didn’t do enough to even warrant a place here.

As is always the case with me, I compile these lists in relation to U.S. release dates and can include everything leading up to (and including) the Oscar nominations and other festival or annual awards. So without further ado, this is my list of 2017’s finest.

. . .


Overlooked by many but this is a grim and unflinching look at poverty and addiction as seen through the eyes of a washed-up boxer. Boxing comes secondary here but Johnny Harris comes second to no-one with a towering central performance in a film that plays out like a pugilist Ken Loach drama. Full review here.


I had to think about the inclusion of this film as I wasn’t exactly sure if I liked as much as I’d thought. However, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about its disturbing themes and Yorgos Lanthimos delivers something that really gets under your skin. Review pending…


A very tense, nuanced and exceptionally well crafted directorial debut from Jordan Peele. He has delivered a film that taps into the zeitgeist and never loses sight of the racial subtext at its core. Sometimes the buzz and positivity surrounding a film is merited and this is definitely one of them. Full review here.


Guillermo del Toro masterfully manages to balance genres by combining a romantic love story and a sci-fi creature fable that culminates into a visually and emotionally vibrant experience. Full review here.


Danny Boyle employs his usual visual flourishes that made his original film so appealing but there’s a maturity to this sequel that makes it a fitting and nostalgic companion piece. It’s not perfect but it was great to spend time with the characters again. Full review here.


Another collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis and it’s another solid and meticulously crafted film. This is one that I have to see again as I’m still processing it. I really liked it but with a little reflection I might just love it. Review pending…


A genuinely heartfelt and thought provoking piece of work. David Lowery’s film explores the metaphysical with more than a tinge of despair and deep sadness. It’s a slow moving but rich and hugely rewarding tale when you allow it to express its elegiac tones. Full review here.


Certainly not for everyone but I found Darren Aronofsky’s film a riveting and rich tapestry of phantasmagorical nightmares. Abundant with religious and political imagery, this is a bold piece of work that proves that film can be quite a striking medium for artistic ideas and expression. Full review here.


Sean Baker brings a lot of irony, juxtaposition and contrast to this multi-layered slice-of-life drama. A story of real people facing real problems in an absolutely absorbing and bittersweet gem. Full review here.


Denis Villenueve manages to do what most thought he’d fail at and provides a worthy sequel to Ridley Scott’s 80’s, sci-fi classic. Sequels that can achieve such a balance and expansion on their much loved predecessors are a rarity and, as a result, 2049 can take a bow. Gorgeous cinematography, stunning production design and deeply philosophical storytelling. As a huge fan of the original, even I didn’t expect this to work as well as it does. 2017’s biggest gamble turns out to be the best film of the year. Full review here.

22 Responses to “Top Ten of 2017”

  1. Nice list Mark. We agree on a lot of these (Phantom Thread, Florida Project, Sacred Deer, 2049, and Ghost Story).

    The more I reflect on Mother though, the less I like it. I feel Aronofsky really hammers down the biblical metaphor and is just trying too hard. I really like Lawrence and Bardem’s performances, as well as some of the imagery, but the film is kind of a mess, albeit an interesting one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not surprised on your feelings about Mother! Many would agree with you and be surprised that it’s sits at #3 for me. It wasnt just the imagery or the metaphors but I really responded to the overall, uneasy vibe that Aronofsky captures. I loved it. In fact, it sat at #1 for me for quite some time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, I’m so behind. I’ve only seen Get Out and The Shape of Water. I love both. Looking forward to catching up with the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A lot of great films here that I’ve either seen and enjoyed or hope to see sometime soon. Florida Project would be top of the list. The screenshot you chose for your No.1 choice, I’m wondering if that is because it was a pivotal scene in your opinion. I think it’s very close to the heart of the themes of the film or at the very least significant to a key relationship depicted. What did you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right on both accounts, Lloyd. That scene was very significant in terms of Gosling realising that this was just another artificial intelligence designed to each individuals needs but also longing for a place in the world just like him. It was the turning point for his character.

      2049 was just an astounding piece of work but The Florida Project wasn’t far behind. I struggled to choose my #1 between them for some time.

      Thanks for stopping by, as always my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great take on it. I think my feeling was the film had shown her as a real character and it a real relationship but always hinting with the JOI adverts and that scene for me played as kind of proof of that for him in that moment and really heartbreaking. Maybe my favourite scene. It’s a nice counterpoint to Deckard saying “I know what’s real.” That to me is what the film is all about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree. In fact, I had forgotten about that Deckard quote which makes it’s all the more important. I can’t wait to get my teeth into a second viewing where I imagine that I’ll pick up even more from the film.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you will enjoy it Mark. I saw it first on a late Thursday screening and while I loved it, I did notice a few things when I saw it again a few days later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I imagine I will enjoy it and that I probably missed quite a few things due to being so swept in its visual beauty. Who knows, this might even have the potential to have the same lasting impact that it’s predecessor had.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nice Top 10 and thank you for not making it as long as mine. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Several movies listed I’m really high out. And who would have thought at the first of the year that a Blade Runner sequel would be you’re #1 movie. But it truly is fantastic. Even more mind-blowing after a second viewing. Now hopefully the dopey Oscars will at least give Deakins his long overdue cinematography honors!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never imagined for a second that Blade Runner would top the list for me. I expected to be highly critical of the film. I’m not complaining, though. It was superb and more than exceeded my expectations. Deakins really should be on to a winner with the Oscars tonight/today.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not seen Jawbone, but I agree with on the rest, especially on The Florida Project and the Killing of a Sacred Deer. Mother! was fascinating, and if it were Aronofsky’s debut or close I would put it my 10 best films of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of people have overlooked Jawbone but, to be fair, it’s a very low-key indie flick. I really liked it though. Worth checking out.

      Sacred Deer nearly never made my list but simply because I couldn’t get the film out of my head is what led to my appreciation of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Solid list Mark! Got a few I need to catch up on. Loving your number one choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good work! Some are also in my top 10 (Sacred Deer, Phantom Thread, Mother!) A Ghost Story was interesting but I lost patience with the pacing. As you say, fun to spend time with the T2 gang again, and nice to catch up with Rick Deckard after so many years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Chris. Yeah, it was a good year in the end and there were others that narrowly missed out on a spot on this list. Even though I only handed out one Five Star rating, it was still a very consistent Year overall.

      Liked by 1 person

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