Five great films from 2017

James Croot shares his top five films of the year so far.

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Based on Deb­o­rah Lip­stadt’s 2005 book His­tory on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holo­caust De­nier, this is a com­pelling court­room drama pep­pered with some truly sub­lime per­for­mances. While Rachel Weisz and TomWilkin­son do most of the story’s heavy lift­ing, the show is al­most com­pletely stolen by Ti­mothy Spall with his por­trayal of the self-ag­gran­dis­ing, sex­ist, in­sen­si­tive David Irv­ing. JohnWick: Chap­ter 2

Yes, it’s at times un­com­fort­ably ul­tra-vi­o­lent and wince-in­duc­ing, but it boasts plenty of colour­ful char­ac­ters, grip­ping drama and lots of hu­mour. Ki­netic, fre­netic and at times just plain lu­natic, di­rec­tor Chad Sta­hel­ski chore­ographs some breath­tak­ing ac­tion.

Split

While the cen­tral girls-in-peril con­ceit might seem a lit­tle over­fa­mil­iar, di­rec­tor MNight Shya­malan man­ages to over­come any sense of deja vu thanks to the ever shift­ing an­tag­o­nist’s af­flic­tion. JamesMcAvoy draws the au­di­ence into his frac­tured world and will have you on the edge of the seat or cow­er­ing be­hind it.

Toni Erd­mann

The true de­lights of Maren Ade’s film about a dys­func­tional fa­ther­daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship are in the de­tails. From an un­for­get­table lun­cheon, to an Em­bassy Re­cep­tion quickly head­ing south, there are scenes that will be seared into your mem­ory for months.

Their Finest

Filled with mem­o­rable mo­ments and one-lin­ers, as well as sur­pris­ing twists and turns, Lone Scher­fig’s pe­riod drama shows an in­ter­est­ing look at An­glo-Amer­i­can re­la­tions and a ex­hor­ta­tion that ‘‘when life is pre­cious, it is an aw­ful shame to waste it’’.

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