Magazine article Screen International

Screen Critics Pick Their Best Films of 2017

Magazine article Screen International

Screen Critics Pick Their Best Films of 2017

Article excerpt

Screen International critics pick their top five films of the year, plus the best doc and a hidden gem.

‘BPM (Beats Per Minute)’, ‘God’s Own Country’, ‘The Shape Of Water’

Fionnuala Halligan, chief film critic

Top film: The Shape Of Water (Guillermo del Toro)

Guillermo Del Toro’s open heart and the sweet honesty of his creature fable provided a fluid refuge from the tension of the year. Del Toro has the craft and the storytelling genius, clearly, but he lights this one up with love for all his outsiders, drawing superb performances from Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins. So many elements impress but the fact that, in 123 minutes, every character gets a life, a soul and a moving trajectory gives The Shape Of Water an emotional surge that just can’t be stoppered.

Click HERE for Finn’s top five films, best documentary, and undiscovered gem

Tim Grierson, Senior US critic

Top film: Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)

Raising the bar on how immersive, visceral and terrifying a war movie can be, Christopher Nolan’s recreation of the battle of Dunkirk brilliantly fuses the two sides of his filmmaking personality. Both a cerebral puzzle of jumbled chronology and an effortlessly stirring big-screen spectacle, Dunkirk is a thrilling sensation with a deeply moral centre. Wars are fought by individuals, and Nolan makes us feel the terror, heroism and elation of his scattered protagonists.

Click HERE for Tim’s top five, best documentary, and undiscovered gem

Allan Hunter

Top film: God’s Own Country (Francis Lee)

So much more than the ‘British Brokeback Mountain’, God’s Own Country marked an auspicious debut from Francis Lee. His intense, immersive romantic drama matches the bleakness of its Yorkshire landscapes with the inner turmoil of a dour character struggling to express his emotions. Excellent performances from Josh O’Connor as farmer Johnny and Alec Secareanu as Romanian farmhand Gheorghe - and how refreshing to see gay characters who are comfortable with their sexuality, even if complex relationships are more tricky. There is a raw honesty to the whole film, and a sense of compassion that is hard-won and deeply felt.

Click HERE for Allan’s top five, best documentary, and undiscovered gem

Wendy Ide

Top film: BPM (Beats Per Minute) (Robin Campillo)

In an exceptional year for LGBTQ-themed cinema, Robert Campillo’s account of Aids activism in the early 1990s stood out. Once again Campillo - the writer of Laurent Cantet’s The Class - demonstrates a unique skill for tapping into the thrill of debate and the exchange of ideas. The hand-held camera flings us into the fray; we are thrust onto the frontline of protest, the dancefloor and into the bedroom. The latter is particularly well-handled. The film is joyful and unabashed when it comes to sex, but also unflinching in its approach to disease. And the edits, which drift from shot into abstraction and then out again, are pure bliss.

Click HERE for Wendy’s top five, best documentary, and undiscovered gem

Lee Marshall

Top film: The Shape Of Water (Guillermo del Toro)

Entertainment value, artistic finesse and thematic resonance do not always come in the same box, yet all are present in Guillermo del Toro’s richest creation to date. …

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