There were a lot of really awesome films that came out in the past year, unfortunately I think there were a few that slipped under the radar and I just want to take a moment to talk about how great I thought these movies were.
Just for the record I’m not going in a particular order of like how much I liked these movies. Also I am in no way saying these were the best movies of 2017, just one’s that I felt should have got more attention.
Movie #1: Free Fire
While technically Free Fire debuted in film festivals back in 2016, it didn’t receive a wide release until late April of 2017, so count it!
Free Fire is a movie that truly caught me off guard. I had heard little to nothing about it before going to see it, but my roommate had told me that it was set in Boston during the 70’s, had the IRA in it and stars Brie Larson, Armie Hammer and Cillian Murphy. I was expecting a pretty serious crime drama. I was very wrong about this. Free Fire is an action comedy, and the likes of it I haven’t seen since Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead and I think the reason Free Fire feels so much like those two films is that they all have done such a wonderful job with physical comedy. Most comedy movies frankly butcher their physical comedy by going for stuff like characters suddenly shooting into a wall, farting, and puking. Free Fire is much smarter than that.
I would have absolutely loved to be in the room when this movie got pitched. I think it would have gone something like this.
“So we got the next big action comedy for you here. Imagine it’s 1978, we are in Boston and down by the harbor the IRA is buying a bunch of guns. Suddenly the deal goes south and there is a shootout.”
“I love this opening, what happens next?”
“Next? Uh… Nothing. The whole movie is basically the shootout. It’s like over an hour-long shootout.”
“What? Who on earth is going to see this? This is a terrible idea. How are you going to tell jokes in a shootout? Absolutely no one will want to see this.”
“We’re gonna get Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, and Armie Hammer to star.”
“Oh cool yeah that’ll work go for it.”
Movie #2: Gifted
Gifted is a movie the exact moment when they can tug at your heartstrings to really get to you and they do it a lot. Just to give you an idea about the film it stars Chris Evans as Frank Adler, a lone uncle trying his best to raise his dead sister’s daughter Mary, as it turns out Mary is a once in a generation math prodigy and as her talents begin to attract the attention of others Frank fights an uphill battle to give her the normal childhood that her mother desperately wanted for her daughter. Maybe I’m too big of a softie on account of the overly emotional during movies gene from my dad, but this movie really got to me.’
The real magic of this film is undoubtedly the back and forth and the chemistry between it’s two leads, Chris Evans and McKenna Grace. All I’ll say is that when you watch this movie you might think just for a split second that Chris Evans actually raised this girl in real life. McKenna Grace is going to have an astounding career in acting if Hollywood doesn’t chew her up. As for Mr. Evans, while he may have become a household name flinging an indestructible shield as Captain America, movies like Gifted show us while he’ll be around long after he puts away his uniform and leaves the Marvel Universe.
Movie #3: Wind River
We’ve had a comedy and a heart-warming film about family and love, but now it’s time to get darker. Way darker. Wind River isn’t about happy endings, or overcoming flaws. It’s about Justice, Vengeance, and the unspoken horrors for Native American women on reservations.
This film is brutal. I’m not sure there is any real happiness to be found in it what so ever. It begins with a sense of mystery and intrigue, but as the plot progresses and the veil of mystery lifts only depressing truths lay there, with fits of rage and fury sprinkled on top. The film is anchored by Jeremy Renner’s performance as the protagonist Cory Lambert, a wildlife officer who finds the body of an 18-year old girl on the Wind River reservation in Wyoming and is subsequently brought in to assist a FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) in the investigation. Renner’s character is the classic western lead, a lone gunman with his own morals that he enforces upon those who have done wrong, often that enforcement comes with the use of lethal force. Wind River is made for those who love revenge films and long for the return of the classic western. (It’s not a full on western, but it’ll help tide you over for now.)
Movie #4: Blade Runner 2049
I hesitated about whether or not I should put this movie on this list. Was it really a surprise that the sequel of a cult classic sci-fi noir film from 1982 was going to garner that much attention? Like this is some really niche stuff, so it shouldn’t be expected for a movie like this to get THAT much attention. However Blade Runner 2049 is very unique in the world of sequels. Not only was it faithful to the original film, but it took the ideas and stories from the original and actually built upon them, rather than simply ignoring it’s predecessor or being a glorified remake of it. For that reason I believe that Blade Runner 2049 should have gotten more attention from people.
That being said, I get why some folks didn’t like this movie. Science fiction film that are more concerned with asking questions like, “what does it mean to be human?” or “Is the truth more important than keeping the peace?” rather than setting up big and awe-inspiring action sequences tend to split audiences. So what I will say is that if you enjoyed the original Blade Runner, you’ll surely enjoy 2049 as well.
Also sidenote, can we just have Denis Villeneuve direct all sci-fi films from now on? Seriously Arrival and this? Dude just gets the genre.
Thanks for reading, were there any movies you thought deserved more attention? Do you think I’m totally out of my mind? Let me know, peace out!
Image sourced from Google.