My passion for film has strengthened significantly this year, partly due to the amazing new stories which were told over the course of the last 12 months. When I started In Search of Media, I had always intended for there to be a developed film section to fuel my interest in film, so I am making an effort to expand this site of the website as much as I can. And seeing as we’re near the end of the year already, I have decided to select 5 films I saw that have blown me away, emotionally, visually, in regards to storytelling and acting as well. Also to mention, these are films released in the UK in 2017. Without further ado, here they are!
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out is technically a horror film, but not necessarily due to the eerie tone of the album of a few jump scares. It’s scary because as Jordan Peele describes it in a tweet, Get Out is ultimately a documentary. Daniel Kaluuya plays a young black man who visits his white girlfriend’s family, discovering the ugly reality of racial discrimination, in the most compelling, clever way possibly. I don’t want to give away too much of the film, but to those who have seen it or want to see it, please pay attention to the scene where David’s character is sitting in his chair, with his eyes fixated to the TV screen, scratching on the cotton. It’s easily one of the most astonishingly genius metaphors used in film. Go watch this film now.
Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning film Moonlight is easily one of the most profound pieces of cinema I have ever seen on a big screen. It’s a deep character study, one which tackles issues of masculinity, racism and the importance of choice and responsibility. It’s a devastating, yet beautiful story which I cannot praise enough. The pacing of each scene, the stunning cinematography and acting performances make for a jaw-dropping experience. Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali had the performances of their careers, whilst the three actors playing Chiron were so good, all three deserved to win Best Lead Actor at the Academy Awards. A stunning work of art.
Julia Ducournau’s debut feature film Raw isn’t for the faint of heart. Though it is technically a story about cannibalism (and yes it is explicit in showing that in the film), it is more than just that. A story about the strength of friendship and family, the film studies the relationship between sisters who discover their love for human flesh, and the implications that has on the people around them. Raw is a thrilling, disturbing and unforgettable experience. Again, only to be recommended to people who don’t get queasy easily.
I Am Not Your Negro
The unquestionable documentary of the year, I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck, studies the works of James Baldwin, in particular Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, a collection of notes and letters written by Baldwin in the mid-1970s. He recounts stories of his close friends and civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Davis in a deeply intellectually stimulating conversation about race in America in the 1970s. Raoul Peck also draws parallels with current racial divisions through protests in Ferguson and throughout the US through vivid visuals. The ending remains to me the most powerful moment on film this year, with a James Baldwin on optimism and finding progress with this unfortunate reality, before the film comes to an explosive finale, playing Kendrick Lamar’s chillingly powerful ‘The Blacker The Berry.’ This film intellectually and socially essential.
Blade Runner 2049
Read my review of Blade Runner 2049 with film contributor Josh Gibson here: David Villeneuve’s long-awaited sequel to the 1982 Ridley Scott classic may be one of the rare cases where I think that the sequel is better than the original. Blade Runner 2049 excels on all fronts. In regards to its cinematography, it is one of the best films I have ever seen. The setting, colours and visuals are breathtaking, the acting performance are also great, and the storyline is perfect for where the story left us 30 ago. A stunning film that puts Dennis Villeneuve up there as one of the greatest directors of our time.
It has been a phenomenal year for film as usual, and I hope this list can give some people new recommendations, though next year we hope to dig deeper into films you may not have heard of.
I wanted to give a warm welcome to Josh Gibson as a new film contributor for the website. He will be writing more reviews of films coming out next year, so keep an eye out for that. His top 5 are as follows:
- Get Out
- Brawl in Cell Block 99
- Baby Driver
- Blade Runner 2049
Thanks again! To a fantastic 2018!