The Movie Sleuth's Top 5 of 2017

After an interesting year that gave us an unbelievably rounded selection of motion pictures and a few polarizing ones as well, The Movie Sleuth team turns in what they think were the top 5 films of 2017. From big budget sci-fi to Oscar worthy films, the top 5 chosen are all decidedly unique from each other and special for their own reasons. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 The Killing of a Sacred Deer

 The LEGO Batman Movie

5. mother! 

A symbolic recreation of history, both biblical and environmental, mother! redefines the boundaries of what is permissible with respect to both presentation and exploration, using extreme, flesh and blood representations to symbolize the destruction of both the material and ethereal. The hubris of gods, artists, and those who consume their dogma are on display and Aronofsky dares to reflect the darkness of humanity back onto the audience, pleading for reason to prevail in a union of faith and science. mother! is the rare viewing experience that demands to be seen in the cinema, on the largest screen possible, not for overwhelming effects or action sequences, but for the awful truth that monsters sit among you in the dark. Available now for digital streaming, mother! is divisive, appalling, and absolutely unforgettable. -KJ

4. Get Out 

In the history of movies, there have been very few true horror movies that were worthy of being called great movies. Perhaps it's just the nature of the genre – it's hard to have meaningful character development when your characters keep getting slaughtered by some rarely believable force. Get Out manages to stay true to its genre roots while delivering performances, pacing, and storytelling that are staggeringly good. The attention to detail in the plot, in particular, is a wonder to behold. Give Get Out a serious watch, especially if you've already seen it – nuanced performances give subtle hints to the true nature of the story early and often, and the characters are all written with consistency and complexity. The story being told offers a biting commentary on racism, progressivism, psychology, and even the film's genre, all without ever being preachy or heavy-handed. Wrapped up with one of the best finales in recent history, Get Out defied all expectations, despite a first-time director, a campy genre, and a controversial theme, and earned its place as one of the absolute best of 2017. -PM

3. Baby Driver 

“And once upon a pair of wheels, I hit the road and I'm gone.” The lyrics of the Paul Simon song that serves as the titular inspiration for Baby Driver is also it’s driving force. Music is the driving character in the story of a young and talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort). Baby relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom. Baby Driver is comedy auteur Edgar Wright’s masterpiece, the result of years and years worth of work distilled into a pure mix of action, comedy, and jukebox musical that is deeply re-watchable. -LO

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Governed by tragicomedy, Three Billboards shines in its ability to seamlessly swing from hilarity, to drama, to absurdity. In Billboards, Frances McDormand plays a stoic shopkeeper with a stark agenda: find justice for her daughter’s killer. Woody Harrelson, who plays the initial antagonist, sets up a character whose transformation is beyond satisfying. And perhaps more entertaining than Harrelson’s role is the one played by Sam Rockwell, a bumbling constable who helps bring resolution to the plot. Aside from the spot-on acting, which exaggerates in all the right places, the story is a refreshing change of pace from big blockbuster films and familiar Oscar bait. -BP

1. Blade Runner 2049 

Every once in awhile Hollywood actually delivers a film so remarkable that you leave the cinema swirling in your own emotional soup. It's a soup so thick that you spend the next few days wondering how light shown through a piece of plastic coated with light sensitive gelatin at 24 frames per second could actually have the power to crack open your domepiece and let a little of your third eye seep through. Blade Runner 2049 definitely qualifies as one of these rare films. Set 30 years after the end of the original cult classic, director Denis Villeneuve brings us the story of officer K, a blade runner who stumbles upon a secret that ends up fracturing his reality. It is the venturing down the rabbit hole of this fractured reality that forces the audience to examine the power behind the stories we choose to tell ourselves, about ourselves, and the world around us. It is hands down the best film of 2017 and deserves all the praise it has received and more. -DM