Here we find ourselves again, at the end of another revolution around the sun. 2017 wasn’t everyone’s favorite year, but most everyone can agree that the last 365 days gave us a surfeit of quality movies.
Whether sci-fi is your bag (Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi), or drama (Lady Bird), or horror (It) or anything else, we can say with certainty that 2017 brought with it an impressive collection of cinematic stories. As difficult as it was — and it was difficult — we forced ourselves to bite the bullet and pick an official winner, plus two runners-up. Without further ado, Digital Trends presents the best movies of 2017. (Oh, wait: Spoiler alert! There we go.)
Blade Runner 2049
When Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hit theaters in December, it sparked outrage among some diehard franchise fans who claimed that the movie was antithetical to Star Wars. The Last Jedi took expectations and tossed them aside unceremoniously, zigging hard where Episode VII: The Force Awakens zagged.
Blade Runner 2049, on the other hand, treats the original 1982 film with reverence. Director Denis Villenueve (Arrival, which was easily our favorite film of 2016) deftly snags the reigns from Ridley Scott and runs — nay, gallops — with them, crafting a sprawling epic that manages to feel wholly original while staying true to the roots of the universe. In 2049, set 30 years after the events of Blade Runner, Ryan Gosling’s Officer K is a new breed of blade runner, a new-age replicant built to “retire” (read: hunt down and kill) older replicant models. In the process of retiring a particularly sizable replicant, K finds himself questioning his role, his identity, and his very life, leading — as you might expect — to a larger conspiracy.
Where Blade Runner operated largely in the dusty shadows of future Los Angeles’ underbelly, 2049 is a feast for the eyes, offering gorgeous, vibrant vistas reminiscent of Neo Tokyo (whichever iteration you prefer). Neon signs bathe streets in arresting hues of blue and pink, and imaginative technologies (like K’s holographic wife, Joi, brought to life by the stunning Ana de Armas) are realized with a sublime blend of ’80s nostalgia and contemporary CGI. Compared to the cult-classic original film, which feels somewhat labyrinthine at first viewing, 2049 weaves a tighter narrative peppered with satisfying moments of emotional discovery and character growth.
Despite its 163-minute runtime, 2049 never feels bloated or poorly paced. K’s journey becomes our journey as we experience a rather unique sex scene (you’ll just have to watch for yourself) and meet up with Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in an absolutely gorgeous vision of future Las Vegas. 2049 isn’t perfect, but it’s the perfect way to pay tribute to a classic while blazing a new trail.
– Read our Blade Runner 2049 review
Get Out is the rare film which serves both as an entertaining, unique movie and as an impactful social commentary. Jordan Peele (Key & Peele) exploded expectations by crafting one of the most memorable and thoughtful horror flicks in recent memory, playing on the uneasy state of race relations in America. Daniel Kaluuya leads an excellent cast as Chris, a black man visiting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. Somehow, Get Out subverts genre expectations without losing its bite, offering some metaphors you’d have to be blind to miss. Ignoring allegory altogether, Get Out would make a fine scarefest, but taken in context with the cultural divide we feel on a daily basis, it’s one of the best movies of the year, period.
– Read our Get Out review
Director Edgar Wright is known for making unique films which creatively defy Hollywood categorization — see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World or his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy — and Baby Driver might be his best work yet. The crime thriller follows Baby, a young ace wheelman who constantly keeps music blaring through his earbuds to combat tinnitus. The story is fairly rote — Baby finds himself on the run from bad guys after a heist gone awry — but Wright utilizes music to fashion the film into something more, a brash blend of spectacular set pieces woven together through Baby’s favorite tunes. We’ve never seen an action movie dictated by its soundtrack, but Baby Driver makes us want more, soon.
– Read our Baby Driver review
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