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The Best Films of 2017


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It’s been quite a memorable year for film in 2017, and in a year when sequels, prequels and remakes were expected to dominate, we were delighted to see that many of these blockbuster releases turned out to be pretty good.

We were treated to a thrilling remake of the classic It, a game-changer Wolverine film with Logan, as well as a much anticipated sequel to the cult classic Blade Runner, to name a few.

But 2017 also saw newcomers receiving the recognition they deserved. Jordan Peele’s Get Out achieved an incredible 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes; after #OscarsSoWhite in 2016, diversity won this year with Moonlight taking home the big one after a monumental La La Land/Moonlight Best Picture mess up; and LGBT stories came to the forefront in Battle of the Sexes and Call Me By Your Name.

Representation on screen still has a long way to go, but 2017 did a pretty good job. An altogether impressive year for film, and to celebrate, The National Student’s film writers have decided on a definitive top 20 list.

Without further ado, here is the list to rule them all.

20) Personal Shopper

What we said: “Olivier Assayas's Personal Shopper is a ghost story that will leave you with a chill. It paints a vividly realistic picture of loss and is hauntingly beautiful in its emphasis of the morbid loneliness that comes with losing someone. Held together with a gripping and outstanding performance by Kristen Stewart, who was born to play this role, the film is a study of outstanding and truly terrifying cinema that will leave you with a hypnotic awe long after it has finished”.

Words by Frankie Dell

19) Manchester by the Sea

What we said: “Manchester by the Sea is a truly special creation- a rare and unique film which captures the nuances of life just perfectly. It is a devastating, yet truly touching story of a man who struggles with himself and with unimaginably difficult circumstances”.

Read our full review here.

18) Moonlight

What we said: It’s a hefty cocktail of racial, social and LGBT-driven issues, but one which newbie director Barry Jenkins serves with a tremendous amount of artistic grace, giving each ample time to develop organically, whilst still providing his actors with the much-needed space to fully realise this dark and often destitute world they’re bringing to life”.

Read our full review here. 

17) Okja

What we said: “It is not only a daring and original film. Aside from its spectacular digital effects, the story has the ability to touch the audience’s hearts. In a sort of catharsis, Okja shows us our future. And it is not one we like. Mija’s adventure teaches us some things about ourselves and about the world we live in. And, at the same time, Okja is a masterpiece, a very enjoyable movie with a beautiful script that won’t leave anyone indifferent”.

Read our full review here.

16) It

What we said: “Functioning as an adaptation of Stephen King’s cult-favourite novel from 1986, Andrés Muschietti has taken all things scary and dropped them in the middle of Derry, Maine. Staying remarkably faithful but adding in his own twisted ideas, the film reads as a modern take on the classic horror, with truly terrifying moments stipulated from beginning to end.”

Read our full review here.

15) Thor Ragnarok

What we said: “Although there is always a certain edge of comic genius and wit in the Avengers series (largely driven by Robert Downey Jr.) and both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 thrive off it, the trait is not something you'd usually attribute to the films, or to Chris Hemsworth's Thor for that matter. In somewhat surprising inversion, Thor: Ragnarok succeeds because the blend of humour and action is so balanced”.

Read our full review here.

14) Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2

What we said: “With a strong string of one-liners and cultural references and another round of excellent performances, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, still has all the hallmarks of a crowd pleaser. Though the story lags a little behind its predecessor, it's still great fun to be back in the Guardians' company”.

Read our full review here.

13) Logan

What we said: “The film is a fitting tribute to one of the best loved and most iconic comic book characters ever, truly capturing both the aesthetic and the depth: both Wolverine and Logan, as it were. The genius of titling this film Logan allowed it to peel back the heroic mask and tell the story of the man beneath. A perfect last hurrah for Hugh Jackman”.

Read our full review here.

12) Good Time

What we said: “Benny Safdie is mesmerising, and Pattinson is by turns tender and ruthless in his desperation. The film masterfully sets up each of the characters’ positions and motivations with hardly any exposition at all, throwing the audience into the world of the Nikas brothers with a refreshing lack of patronisation”.

Read our full review here.

11) Call Me By Your Name

What we said: “Set at the family’s summer home in Northern Italy, the film flits in and out of English, Italian, and French, with plenty of Latin and Greek for good measure. It succeeds in making the scholarly sensual — classical music, art, and literature are interspersed throughout the film, and the characters’ passion for them only heightens their passion for each other. If you can look past the pretentiousness of that statement, you’ll probably enjoy the film!”.

Read our full review here.

10) The Killing of a Sacred Deer

What we said: “There really isn’t any other film like this one. Even when the credits roll, there is no relief from the palpable tension this film creates. No music, just a hollow, airy score which forces the content of the film to stay right at the surface. The Killing of a Sacred Deer certainly isn’t for everyone, but it will do something to anyone”.

Read our full review here.

9) Baby Driver

What we said: “Baby Driver may well be one of the most original films to come from a British director in years. This fast paced, blood pumping action crime drama takes you on the most wild yet ridiculously fun joy ride for its entire 112 minute run time…Baby Driver is straight-up awesome and a hugely enjoyable watch. With a narrative and soundtrack as original as this one, it will no doubt appeal to all different tastes, and will easily make its mark as one of the best films of the year”.

Read our full review here.

8) Paddington 2

What we said: “This time around, his adventures introduce him to a carousel of colourful figures, ranging from his array of neighbours to a seemingly unsavoury bunch of prison inmates. Some brilliant cameos from the likes of Sanjeev Bhaskar, Richard Ayoade, and Joanna Lumley to name a few are the icing on the cake of what is already a star-studded cast”.

Read our full review here. 

7) Beauty and the Beast

What we said: “Remaking a tale as old as time is no easy feat, but Bill Condon's live-action Beauty and The Beast is surprisingly charming. Thanks to earnest and perfectly captured performances by Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans, it is hard not to be swept up in magic of it all”.

Words by Anneka Honeyball

6) The Florida Project

What we said: “Baker isn’t a voyeur, he’s a filmmaker. Though I laughed and cried as any magical cinematic experience is wont to make me do, it was often through subtlety that Baker achieved those emotions. He allows us to see that the bigger picture of poverty is there, but he treats a small story like a small story. The film belongs to that core trifecta of Moonee, Halley and Bobby. They have all already come to terms with the way they must live. With The Florida Project, Baker has been generous enough to let us see it”.

Read our full review here.

5) Blade Runner 2049

What we said: “With Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve has managed to rekindle the dystopian world of Ridley Scott's cult classic in the most visually stunning and benevolently profound way imaginable. One that will undoubtedly see it leave a mark on the science fiction genre as iridescently indelible as the original”.

Read our full review here.

4) Star Wars: The Last Jedi

What we said: “Rian Johnson has created a sci-fi masterpiece with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one that contemplates the boundaries of life and death, good and evil, the light and the dark in a way which no other Star Wars film has managed- or indeed will manage for that matter. Some doors close, other doors open and by the end, you are left in real suspense as to what will happen in the final film of the Revived Trilogy in a few years time”.

Read our full review here.

3) La La Land

What we said: “La La Land is a positively intoxicating, positively timeless and endlessly alluring treat for the eyes, ears and heart. It’s a testament to the importance of dreams, the boundlessness of chasing them and yes, the power of love, that marks Chazelle as not just an exciting new talent, but an absolutely essential one”.

Read our full review here.

2) Dunkirk

What we said: “Dunkirk is a consummate war epic in every sense but time - a concept that runs deep through the veins of Christopher Nolan's entire filmography. It's a film that takes immense pride in the heroism of its inspiration but also never shies away from evoking the poignancy of its reality. An unrelenting masterclass in no holds barred immersion, from a true giant of cinema”.

Read our full review here.

1) Get Out

What we said: “Get Out is an enviable triumph, both aesthetically and figuratively. The intrinsically changeable look, utilised by cinematographer Toby Oliver, sets it apart from the formulaic glaze of the mainstream, as its own personably unique entity. In tandem, Peele's adept use of multifaceted foreshadowing litters the entire narrative with a treasure trove of ingenious dialogue plants, circumstantially leading to the film's exquisitely executed twist, thus making repeat viewings a virtual no-brainer. An adeptly calculated risk was taken with this film, and it's more than safe to say, it has paid off handsomely”.

Read our full review here.

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