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The Top 10 Films of 2017

PM film critic Sean Collier counts down the 10 best films of 2017.

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Photo by Merie Wallace, courtesy of A24.

In the cinema landscape of 2017, greatness was evenly distributed.

As the distinctions between cinema-as-art and movies-as-entertainment continue to fade, there is brilliance to be found in the blockbusters and boutique offerings alike. Genre fare or prestige picture? Now more than ever, there is often no line between the two.

The most clear and cogent commentary arrived not via arthouse refinement, but through horror and comedy in the form of “Get Out” and “The Big Sick.” After years of box-office dominance, the superhero genre rose to new heights via two of the best comic-book flicks of all time, “Wonder Woman” and “Logan.” And, for better or worse, Netflix is now a destination for first-run films as worthy as those in brick-and-mortar cinemas, thanks to “Okja” and “Mudbound.”

These are signs of a living, evolving artform, so don’t believe any hand-wringing thinkpieces you might read about the uncertain future of film. As the following 10 choices — from a field where at least another 30 or 40 movies could’ve elbowed their way to the top of the chart — illustrate, the best films of 2017 stand up against those from any year.

#10 — Dunkirk
Christopher Nolan, the lauded, singular director of the “Dark Knight” trilogy and “Inception,” dealt for the first time with the past via a beautifully structured and magnificently staged tale of despair and defiance. The result is a thrilling recreation of a pivotal moment in British history (unknown to many Americans). If you can pause your mind from considering the harrowing stakes and circumstances of the tale, you’ll find some of the most breathtaking visuals of the year.
How to See It: Out on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as digital on-demand services, now.


#9 — Lady Macbeth 
You’re forgiven if you didn’t catch this period drama earlier this year; it barely made $1 million throughout a quiet release this summer. It’s worth seeking out, however — a tawdry and troubling story of bad behavior in the age of manners (related only in theme to The Scottish Play). It’s also a star turn for its lead, Florence Pugh, who you’ll be hearing from extensively in 2018; she’s got three features on tap, including the next Liam Neeson action flick.
How to See It: Out on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as digital on-demand services, now.

#8 — The Killing of a Sacred Deer
When, in the cold months to come, you are in your darkest mood, wallow further into it by watching writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos’ bizarre horror fable. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star as the parents of a curiously afflicted family; the twists will knock you over and the ending will truly haunt you. This isn’t one to watch with anyone to whom you are related — or anyone at all, really. But for unflappable viewers, this is a delicious and captivating trip.
How to See It: Available on select digital on-demand services now; out on DVD and Blu-Ray in late January.

#7 — Okja
A little girl tries to get her beloved pet out of trouble! That is “Okja” at its most simple, and in many ways, the film is structured like a classic, all-ages adventure. Except the pet is a genetically enhanced super-pig the size of a bus. And the trouble is a multinational corporate conspiracy spearheaded by a gleefully hammy — no pun intended — Tilda Swinton, playing two perfect roles. By turns delightful, harrowing and thrilling, director Bong Joon-ho’s rambunctious fantasy is irresistible.
How to See It: Streaming on Netflix.


#6 — Get Out
Heralded as the savior of the horror genre — not to mention the box-office in general — “Get Out” came to theaters as an underdog and left a titan. Jordan Peele’s blend of commentary, satire and sheer horror has plenty to say, certainly, but it’s first and foremost an excellent movie, perfectly performed — Daniel Kaluuya deserves special recognition — and indelibly crafted. May horror follow this example: Have a point and go all out to make it.
How to See It: Out on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as digital on-demand services, now.

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