The eight best films of 2017
It is difficult to pick eight of the best movies in 2017 and even more impossible to categorise these movies into specific genres. But, these eight are the most interesting movies of the year, ones that have touched our emotions, left behind an impression from a single scene or a fragment, and ones which have allowed us to imagine separate storylines from our fractured memories.
Get Out (Kapan)
One of the most interesting films of the past year was Get Out. Chris, the main character, is concerned about visiting his lover Rose’s family, because they don’t know that he is black. But, Rose’s family, rather than being upset, greet Chris with great courtesy and vie with each other to prove that they are not racist. The family has guests visiting, driving up in black limousines, and the new guests start discussing the superior genetics of blacks versus whites, even so far as discussing the sexual prowess of blacks, leaving the viewer with a weird fascination of the characters. The movie is evocative of the 1974 movie, The Stepford Wives, appearing as if being several different types of genres, such as science fiction, horror, drama and even comedy.
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult favourite, Blade Runner, made 35 years earlier. The new movie remains faithful to the character and ideology of the earlier movie, while bringing it into the future. In the new movie, K tries to find his old partner Deckard’s daughter, as well as trying to discover his own past and identity. The “new” Los Angeles is a dark city, with holographs of virtual mistresses projected onto dark buildings and the Replicates and Clones on the brink of an uprising. As in the Dark City film, Ana, Deckard’s daughter, directs the memories of the characters. In the new movie, virtual lovers can also virtually fall in love, which leads to one of the most interesting scenes in the movie. Joy, K’s virtual lover, isn’t satisfied with virtual lovemaking, but wants to experience the real thing. So, borrows the body of a clone and makes love with her boyfriend. It is a great shame that due to the long period in between, the new and old movie, the new one is not generating the interest it deserves.
Dunkirk is the period piece showing the miraculous rescue of 300,000 defeated British and Allied soldiers from Dunkirk Beach in World War II. It is impossible to show such a vast movie from a single point of view, Christopher Nolan tells the story from several different viewpoints and locations. He also uses the iconic Spitfire jet fighter planes and presents wide frames and scenes to which only IMAX screens can do justice, while describing the impossible events of that heroic time.
Okja appears to be making a statement against Monsanto, the giant agriculture, seed and food production firm, which is intent on disrupting the food industry with its continued research into genetically modifying plants, animals and insects to grow bigger, disease resistant yields. The firm in the movie is Mirando, and it grows supersized animals, which it then ships around the world. Mija, along with her grandfather, is in charge of a supersized pig, Okja. The viewer knows early on that the sweet, innocent and heart-warming relationship between Mija and Okja is not destined to last. This is made evident as the opposing character, Lucy Mirando, an arrogant, egotistical blonde woman, who has inherited the company from her father, shows up to take Okja to the U.S. Mija, refusing to give up her dearest friend, takes Okja and runs away. Okja, like a lovable King Kong, destroys everything in sight, and just as the police come to apprehend the two, animal rights people arrive in the nick of time. With rainbow coloured umbrellas and pepper spray, the animal rights people save Okja and Mija from Lucy. The movie, rather than distinguishing between good and bad characters, is an entertaining film, which shows the weaknesses and strengths of all, while showing up the unmitigated ruthlessness and ambitions of capitalism.
Jackie is based on Jacqueline Kennedy’s life after the assassination of her husband, President Kennedy. The movie is a mix of biography and documentary and takes linear, historical activities and breaks them up into segments shown in a different order. For example, right after her husband is shot and Jackie is attempting to hold him up with her hands, she is then shown walking around the White House, reliving her life, and then the first time she falls asleep as a widow. Natalie Portman plays Jackie as a woman who whose one-dimensional melancholy never lets up, but at the same time shows Jackie’s life’s journey at various points in her life.
Gloria, who is an alcoholic and out-of-work, is forced out of her home by her boyfriend. On her way to her hometown, she meets up with her childhood friend Oscar. Oscar, while helping Gloria in every way he can, reveals to her that he has been tracking her on the Internet since they were children. From this point, the movie moves between being a psychological drama and a Godzilla monster movie, breaking both molds. If the original Godzilla was a projection of the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Colossal is a reflection of today’s society, in which characters live with anger, jealousy, and micro-fascism.
If he doesn’t rise up from the ashes, Logan may be the last movie in the X-Men genre. After he starts to lose his special powers, Logan turns to drink. Working as a limousine driver, he also takes care of the dying Professor Charles Xavier. He also helps a young girl who also has superpowers. Fighting against mafia members and gangs, Logan realises that it is more difficult to live as an ordinary person than a superhero.
Lady Macbeth is not one of Shakespeare’s characters in this movie. Rather, she is in a loveless marriage, where her husband treats her as property and her father-in-law, an even colder man, sees her as part of the living room furniture. Her first emotions are when she starts an affair with one of the gardeners. Rather than a ruthless, career woman, she is someone who wants to escape a cold, loveless marriage, and is willing to do anything to keep up her affair, even murder. Rather than being a ruthless, career-minded woman, she wants to escape her cold, passionless life and is willing to do anything, including murder. The most memorable parts of the movie are the simple decorations, static frames and minimal human interactions, with Katharine in the centre seeking to protect her lifestyle.
The eight movies above describe a world that is steadily moving towards authoritarianism, where personal freedoms are restricted, discussions of nuclear war constantly in the news, and overt racism rampant. It is as if in each of these movies, the characters are trying to find their way out of their own fascistic totalitarian worlds.
Get Out, a movie based on racism, tries out new technology to eliminate it, Blade Runner 2049 shows how clones want the same freedoms as humans. Dunkirk is a movie where soldiers are the ones who are weak and the people are the ones who show ingenuity and strength in order to save them. Okja shows how everything wants to live free and independently, and a world where people are preparing to fight for independence. In Colossal, Gloria, who has never taken any responsibility before, must find her own way and strength and stand up against the two man fighting for her. Logan, who also doesn’t like responsibility, finds himself protecting people against the mafia and gang members. Jackie shows how while she must present herself to the media as a grieving widow, while fighting her own emotions and trying to live her life. Lastly, Lady Macbeth portrays a woman who wants to live life on her own terms is willing to destroy all her bridges.
Everything else aside, it has been a good year for movies. And, these above movies are linked to each other, like liquid mercury blending together to form a pattern.