The 10 best movie scenes of 2017
It’s been a great year for movies: we’ve had top-drawer original dramas, sensational superhero movies, superb sequels and more. It was a tough gig to narrow it down, but we present to you the 10 best movie scenes from 2017…
Blade Runner 2049 – K fights Deckard
Pick a random 24th of a second of Denis Villeneuve’s luscious Blade Runner sequel and you’d find an image fit for any gallery wall, so it’s tough to pick a stand-out scene. For the sheer audio-visual audacity, we’re going with the fight between K and Deckard in the Vegas casino lounge, complete with a glitching Elvis Presley hologram providing the very patchy soundtrack. It’s an irresistible clash between old and new: Ryan Gosling’s new breed of blade runner up against Harrison Ford’s old-school private dick, in a setting that proves that cutting-edge technology is not always the best bedfellow for classic music. It’s an assault on the senses in every way, and that’s before you factor in the fact that Harrison Ford actually punched Gosling for real.
Fast & Furious 8 – It’s raining cars
Surely the Fast & Furious franchise had no more gas left in the tank? Improbably, impossibly, the eighth instalment in the lunk-headed, petrol-sniffing, Top Gear-watching movie series turned out to be the best yet. The highlight was the scene in which Charlize Theron’s uber-hacker makes zombies of New York’s vehicle population, leading to scenes of swarms of hundreds of remote-controlled cars jamming the roads and – in what must rank as the franchise’s most purely ridiculous sequence to date – an avalanche of cars raining down from the top floor a multi-storey car park. The franchise’s answer to any action scene has always been ‘Throw more cars at the problem’ but only Fast & Furious 8 took that direction literally.
mother! – The dinner party
It’s difficult to pick out a single highlight from Darren Aronofsky’s intense Biblical allegory, not just because the whole thing is one long fever dream, but because the whole thing is one long fever dream – it’s difficult to remember where one scene ends and another begins. For clarity’s sake, let’s focus purely on the events of the dinner party onwards: from the moment the doorbell rings to the movie’s grisly denouement, there’s hardly time to take a breath. The anger swells, bigger than any tide in Noah, from minor irritants (shout-out to the douchebag couple who break the sink) to the baying cult who claim the blood sacrifice they so dearly wanted. Few movies grasp you quite so keenly in the chest, fewer still refuse to let go after the credits have stopped rolling. Love it or hate it, you can’t forget it.
Get Out – The sunken place
It’s telling how quickly Get Out became part of the national conversation – not just because it held up a mirror to Americans who were frightened by the reflection, but because it was jam-packed full of razor-sharp ideas and iconic scenes. Enter the sunken place: according to director Jordan Peele, it’s a metaphor for the deep, dark hole that African-Americans have to struggle to escape from every day, but the sunken place is frightening in a literal sense too. As Catherine Keener stirs her tea with her silver spoon of privilege (props to the sound department for making a china cup sound so ominous), she hypnotises Daniel Kaluuya’s hero Chris, frozen still with fear as he sinks into his seat, then deeper, until he’s beyond our plane of existence. The most unsettling scene in a movie that takes great pleasure in making you feel uncomfortable.
Wonder Woman – No Man’s Land
There was no more fitting location for the first wave of female superhero movies to gain their foothold: No Man’s Land was fertile ground indeed. Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air in a summer chock full of super-dudes, proving that she could go toe-to-toe with any hero on her day. There was no more iconic shot this year than the sight of Diana of Themyscira clad in full Amazonian warrior gear, soaking up German gun-fire like a sponge on the battlefield, standing firm as if powered by the belief of every female superhero fan around the world who’d waited so long for someone to take a stand. A new cinematic superhero was born in this moment, and DC found the new centre of their universe.
La La Land – Summer montage
We have to rewind a long way back through all of the various horrors of 2017 to go back to La La Land in the first week of January, but goodness me it’s a journey worth taking if you feel like cleansing yourself with some sheer cinematic joy. Pick a musical number, any musical number, and you’ve got yourself a classic song and dance, but there’s something special in the ‘Summer montage’ as Seb and Mia fall deeper in love and the city of Los Angeles is only too happy to play Cupid. Composer Justin Hurwitz’s track ‘Madeline‘ is a flighty and flirty big band jazz number, the perfect soundtrack to a montage that’s as light as air and pastel-coloured like candy floss. Like the rest of the movie, it’s irresistible: do yourself a favour and give it a rewatch – it’s so sunny it’ll top up your serotonin.
Atomic Blonde – Stairwell fight scene
No sooner had John Wick entered the pantheon of classic action heroes, we have another new contender to reckon with: Lorraine Broughton. Okay, so her name doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue like “John Wick”, but Charlize Theron’s ass-kicking heroine will rip your damn tongue right out of your head. This blonde bombshell is cut from the same cloth as John Wick (director David Leitch directed both movies) and this insanely savage stairwell scrap showcases a similar fighting style: punch, kick, shoot, stab, get hurt in the process, repeat until one or more parties are dead. It’s proof there’s still life in the action genre yet – if John Wick was the movie that lit the touchpaper, Atomic Blonde pushes the detonator.
Alien: Covenant – Double Fassbender
What’s better than Michael Fassbender playing a prissy android gone bananas? How about two Michael Fassbender androids and a whole lot of sexual tension? Prometheus bot David and Covenant droid Walter find themselves sharing a flute during a moment of Xenomorphic downtime, with David littering his grandiose speech with double entendres (“I’ll do the fingering”) and ending it with a lingering kiss. It’s all high camp, of course, a welcome distraction from the acid-tinged bile of the main event, but such moments are precious in the Alien franchise, and Fassbender – single or plural – has used scenes like this to become the series’ shining star. Who even needs the aliens any more?
Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Vulture’s lair
By far the year’s greatest bait and switch. We’d been invested in two stories throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming: Peter Parker’s school life and the romantic misadventures that come with it, and Spider-Man’s frequent clashes with Michael Keaton’s villain – but we had no idea both stories would converge in such sneaky fashion. It’s prom night, and Peter visits the family home of his girlfriend Liz, preparing for the ghastly ritual of awkward small-talk with her father… only to find out daddy is none other than The Vulture. It’s a surprise right out of left-field and it’s played perfectly cagey by Tom Holland and Keaton – the scene in the car when the penny drops and the Vulture is swathed in the jade green of a nearby light could have come straight from the pages of a Jack Kirby comic-book.
Call Me By Your Name – Mr Perlman’s speech
Even before Michael Stuhlbarg’s last act speech to his son, this LGBTQ odyssey from director Luca Guadagnino was an instant classic. It’s the cherry on the cake (or the peach, if you will) when Stuhlbarg settles in to lecture his heartbroken son about his homosexuality but instead gives the most heartening, enlightening speech imaginable. “You had a beautiful friendship,” Mr Perlman tells his son Elio (Timothée Chalamet. “Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you.” It’s the kind of single-serving scene that could easily have been grand-standed with one eye on a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but Stuhlbarg approaches it with quiet sensitivity and innate humanity.
The 20 best movies of 2017
The biggest movie mistakes of 2017
The biggest movie plot holes of 2017