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Sight & Sound January 2018


The best films of 2017, with critics’ votes and comments, and reflections on key themes of the year, from blockbusters and franchises to late works by veteran filmmakers. Plus new essays on Get Out and Twin Peaks: The Return, Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Miike Takashi, The Disaster Artist and The Deuce.

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The world may be upside down, but the movies are adapting. For our annual snapshot of the year’s best movies, we cast our poll open to the full spectrum of moving-image art works – films, video art, TV, VR, you name it (because we can’t).

One hundred and eighty-eight international critics and curators choose five new releases that made the biggest impression on them in 2017 – and as you’ll see below, rising to the top are some exciting new voices, new visions and new forms…


Films of the Year

2017 has seen disruption on many fronts – race, gender and technology among them – and the films voted for by critics in our annual poll reflect the anxieties afflicting the world in general and the film business in particular. But there is room, too, for slowness, silence and sheer beauty. By Nick James.


The Year in Review

+ The year in… American independent cinema

In an age of infinite choice and perpetual crisis, it gets harder and harder for independent filmmakers to break through all the noise. Even so, quality will out – and 2017 prepared the way for future excitements. By Violet Lucca.

+ The year in… British cinema

A bumper harvest of accomplished and original British films – what more could anyone ask for? But look a little deeper into the success, and it is clear that British filmmakers are working under heavy constraints. By Nick James.

+ The year in… blockbusters and franchises

Hollywood’s conviction that bigger is better has led to some bloated, bland franchise fodder this year, but hints of originality and humour still crept through – and it looks like the women are storming the barricades. By Leigh Singer.

+ The year in… late works by veteran filmmakers

There was something of an elegiac feel to aspects of the year, marked as it was by a number of long-held passion projects that finally made it to the screen by a generation of auteurs approaching the end of their careers. By Philip Concannon.

Frances McDormand: The Power of Saying No

Frances McDormand has always excelled when playing tough, quick-witted characters – often with a comic edge – and in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri she gives the performance of her life playing a no-nonsense mother on the trail of her daughter’s murderer. By Dan Callahan.

The Skin Game

The recent revelations of widespread sexual misconduct in the film industry can’t help but cast a light on the experience of watching The Deuce, a series which tracks the sex workers and smut peddlers of 1970s New York  through the early days of the porn industry. By Hannah McGill.

Trail of Blood

The tirelessly prolific Japanese director Miike Takashi’s brutal supernatural samurai drama Blade of the Immortal is the latest brilliant addition to a restless, genre-switching career whose hallmark has always been its resistance to easy categorisation. By Tom Mes.

Gary Oldman: Mad Dogs and Englishmen

From his early roles playing punks, skins and dreadlocked criminals to his remarkable portrayal of Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s World War II drama Darkest HourGary Oldman’s extraordinary career has been marked by a chameleon-like ability to inhabit his characters. By Graham Fuller.

Another Dimension

The influence of Rod Serling’s sci-fi/fantasy series The Twilight Zone, which ran on US television from 1959-64, has always been pervasive, but as a new stage version arrives in London, its legacy feels more powerful than ever, surfacing in everything from Black Mirror to Get Out. By Dick Fiddy.


Films of the month

The Disaster Artist
Mountains May Depart

plus reviews of

A Bad Moms Christmas
Battle of Soho
Better Watch Out
Bingo: The King of the Mornings
Blade of the Immortal
Brawl in Cell Block 99
A Caribbean Dream
Daddy’s Home 2
The Dinner
Happy Death Day
Hi-Lo Joe
Human Flow
Justice League
Love, Cecil
Lu over the Wall
The Man with the Iron Heart
Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge
Molly’s Game
Murder on the Orient Express
Paddington 2
The Prince of Nothingwood
Secret Superstar
Shot Caller
Thank You for the Rain


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