Hunter has worked for Screen International since 1990, as a film critic and features writer. He is based in Edinburgh and is also co-director of Glasgow Film Festival.

More critics pick best films of 2017

Gods own country

Source: Altitude

‘God’s Own Country’

Top five 

1. God’s Own Country

Dir: Francis Lee
So much more than the ‘British Brokeback Mountain’, God’s Own Country marked an auspicious debut from Francis Lee. His intense, immersive romantic drama matches the bleakness of its Yorkshire landscapes with the inner turmoil of a dour character struggling to express his emotions. Excellent performances from Josh O’Connor as farmer Johnny and Alec Secareanu as Romanian farmhand Gheorghe — and how refreshing to see gay characters who are comfortable with their sexuality, even if complex relationships are more tricky. There is a raw honesty to the whole film, and a sense of compassion that is hard-won and deeply felt. 
CONTACT: Protagonist Pictures 

2. You Were Never Really Here

Dir: Lynne Ramsay
Lynne Ramsay at the height of her powers; virtuoso filmmaking that transforms Jonathan Ames’ novella into a brutal, unforgiving 21st-century Taxi Driver.

3. Blade Runner 2049

Dir: Denis Villeneuve
A majestic, uncompromising beast of a film from Denis Villeneuve via Tarkovsky, mixing wondrous images and thought-provoking reflections on what it means to be human. 
CONTACT: Sony pictures 

4. Loveless

Dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Loveless may operate on a smaller scale than Leviathan but it resonates with a similar sense of despair as Andrey Zvyagintsev dissects failings and vices with a surgeon’s precision.
CONTACT: Wild Bunch

5. Paddington 2

Dir: Paul King
Witty, inventive and bursting with good cheer, the Paddington sequel is utterly delightful, and just the tonic for whatever ails you.
CONTACT: Studiocanal 

Best documentary

Faces Places

Dirs: Agnes Varda, JR
The combination of Agnes Varda and photographer/muralist JR is simply irresistible in this joyful celebration of the urge to be present in the world and create art.
CONTACT: Cohen Media Group 

Undiscovered gem


Dir: John Carroll Lynch
The late Harry Dean Stanton could not have asked for a more fitting swansong than this touching tale from actor-director John Carroll Lynch. An endearingly laid-back salute to a seemingly indestructible 90-year-old coming to terms with the inevitability of death, this is wise and wonderful filmmaking with a central performance that deserved more attention in the awards-season conversation.
CONTACT: Magnolia Pictures International