An interesting year. In no particular order (and off the top of my head);
‘Dunkirk’, is a war film with relatively little war action in it. It sustains tension because you know what is going on and you know how tenuous the situation is. One of my favourite things about it is that you never see the german forces up close, because the soldiers, sailors and pilots didn’t either. We only go where the characters go. Even England is a port as one of the small ships departs for France to pick up the stranded soldiers.
It’s not my favourite war film, but it’s the product of an intelligent and disciplined approach and it expands the genre a little bit just by having been made.
‘Bladerunner 2049’ is not my favourite scifi film either, but like ‘Dunkirk’ it picks an approach to it’s genre and sticks to it, without wavering. As such, I think it achieves far more than similar stories that try to spread their efforts more broadly. ‘Ghost in the Shell’ covers a lot of the same ground, but it’s not sure if it’s an action film or a drama? If it picked one, and went with it, it could’ve been a stronger film.
‘Get Out’ is a strong thriller. It draws on important social issues and deserves praise for the way it brings them to a wide audience, but it does it by being a damn good film, with great tension and clever construction. I do think it’s a little overcooked in places, but these are minor problems. It’s not a flash in the pan, people will refer to it for years to come.
‘The Death of Stalin’, has a few stumbles too. Despite being based on a true story there are a couple of “because plot” moments that speed up transitions and character shifts. Never mind though, because the rest is sharp, funny, scary and morally complex.
I liked quite a few films this year, but those three stand out right now.