2017 has been a great year for film and here at Flickreel, we have been counting down the best of what the year has had to offer so far and some of those films that are still to come that we cannot wait to see. This time it’s the turn of the thrillers, of which we have seen some great ones so far – here are some of our favourites…
The Belko Experiment
From the twisted mind of James Gunn, writer/director of both Guardians of the Galaxy films as well as Slither and Super, comes The Belko Experiment. Directed by acclaimed Australian director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), the film tells the story of a social experiment that abruptly takes place in the Colombian offices of the Belko Corporation. Ordered by an unknown voice over the tannoy system, the workers (Tony Goldwyn, John Gallagher Jnr and John C. McGinley amongst them) must participate in a deadly game that is winner takes all – by any means necessary. Bloody, darkly funny and unpredictable, this one isn’t for the faint of heart but if you can stomach it, it’s well worth a watch.
While it may not have got a huge release in either the UK or US, we cannot recommend Cate Shortland’s tense nail-biter enough. Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) stars as Clare, an Australian backpacker who arrives to take in the sights and sounds of Berlin. On one of her first night’s, she meets Andi (Max Riemelt) and the two soon fall for each other but Clare soon finds herself trapped by Andi in his apartment – and with no means of escape. What starts as a typical thriller soon becomes an emotionally complex and character study into relationships. If you haven’t already, seek this one out immediately.
The king of controversy returned this year – the great Paul Verhoeven. Leaving behind his Hollywood stories such as Total Recall and Basic Instinct, the Dutch filmmaker is at his as brilliant best in this tale of a video game company CEO (played by the magnificent Isabelle Huppert) who after being raped in her home by an intruder, sets out to uncover the identity of the man by any means necessary. While the film is brutal and violent as many Verhoeven’s films, this one has a dark funny bone just under the skin that gives it its alluring edge. An intoxicating but uncomfortable watch.
One of the big surprises of the year was William Oldroyd’s superb re-telling of the Lady Macbeth story, transporting the action to rural 19th North East England from the cold winters of Russia. A slow, turbulent and increasingly tense film that looks absolutely stunning, it’s elevated even further by the phenomenal central turn from Florence Pugh – a true breakout performance that has now seen her swap her corset’s for wrestling with Dwayne Johnson in her next film.
Let it be shouted and sang from the rooftop’s so everyone can hear – Kristen Stewart is one of the best actresses working in Hollywood right now. Period. For all the Twilight haters that may still lurk in a dark corner, her re-team with acclaimed filmmaker Olivier Assayas’ further cements Stewart’s place amongst the elite is perhaps her greatest work. Working as a personal assistant to a top model, Maureen (Stewart) is still mourning the death of her twin brother when, with her ability to talk to spirits, she believes his spirit remains in Paris where she decides to stay until he makes contact. More ghost story than The Devil Wears Prada, Personal Shopper is a genuinely eerie and taut chiller mixed with a story about grief and loss.
And the five we can’t wait to see…
Murder on the Orient Express
Brought to life in different forms over the years since it debuted, Agatha Christie’s classic murder-mystery gets a new big-screen adaptation thanks to Kenneth Branagh. As well as directing, the Brit also stars as Detective Poirot in this version, onboard to Orient Express to uncover the killer who has struck amongst the passengers, with thirteen strangers (Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench among others) all treated as suspects. It’s a great story already but with a big-budget and a new look, this one could be a huge hit come the Autumn season.
Based on the best-selling novel by Jo Nesbo (Headhunters), Michael Fassbender stars as Harry Hole, a detective investigating the disappearance of a local woman whose tracks lead them towards noted serial killer The Snowman. Tomas Alfredson, director of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is behind the camera for this one with Rebecca Ferguson, Tony Jones and J.K. Simmons co-starring in a film that could well be in the mix for Oscars next February.
With his directorial efforts somewhat mixed thus far (Good Night and Good Luck brilliant, The Monuments Men not so much), George Clooney returns behind the camera for his 6th film that he and film partner Grant Heslov have co-written with the Coen Brothers. The darkly funny “whodunit” stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac who are part of a small family neighbourhood shaken by a recent home invasion that may not be all it appears. The pedigree speaks for itself here and with the film featuring at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals in the next few months, keep an eye out for this one debuting at the London one too.
It’s been a little while since Una first debuted on UK shores – we saw it at last year’s London Film Festival but thankfully the film will find its way to cinemas this September. Based on the play Blackbird by David Harrower, Rooney Mara stars as the titular Una, a young British woman who confronts her old neighbour Ray (Ben Mendelsohn) at his workplace. Quickly we discover that the two had a sexual relationship when Una was thirteen before Ray abandoned her and was charged with sexual offenses. Superbly performed by all involved and with tension as tight as anything out this year, Una is one to keep an eye out for.
The directorial debut of writer Taylor Sheridan, creator of Sicario and Hell or High Water, comes fresh off some fantastic reviews and word-of-mouth from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Elizabeth Olsen plays FBI agent Jane Banner, called into the small Native American town by local game-tracker Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) after he discovers a woman’s body on one of his trails. We’ve been fortunate enough to see this one already (no spoilers here) but we can agree with the reviews thus far – this is one of the year’s very best films.