The 10 Most Stunning Cinematography Of 2017 / by Tze Hern Yeo

It's that time of the year when Top 10 lists are spreading everywhere like wildfire. 

I thought of putting together a list of my own and figured it should revolve around my love for movies, music and everything in between.

This year I made the effort to capture my favourite stills from the pop culture I consumed and here is a shortlist of my favourites (in no particular order).

10. Master of None

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Master of None's second season was a thrilling ride from start to finish that brought so much depth to its characters with surprising turns in story structure and style. The premiere heavily references The Bicycle Thief which I loved.

9. Dear White People

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The original film was an incisive look into college life for the black community and the continuation of the story in the television series did not disappoint. The distinct colour palette lends to a unique visual style and is closely matched by the cinematography of another favourite show of mine, Insecure.

8.  A Cure For Wellness

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This mind-bender of a film has many similarities with Shutter Island but I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and loved how this shot was a physical representation of how Dane DeHaan's character felt trapped. Fun Fact: The movie Buried also used a similar trick in making the coffin Ryan Reynold's was buried in look taller than it actually is. 

7. The Handmaid's Tale

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Elizabeth Moss' standout performance in this grim series is beautifully framed primarily in close ups that give the effect of a dystopic world closing in on her. The feeling of entrapment is most effectively used in this particular shot where her character Offred is framed in a confined slanted space in her already cramped quarters.

6. Beach Rats

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Beach Rats is a stunning portrait of a teenager's struggle with his sexuality, shot primarily in hand-held style. Frankie goes into his backyard to take a smoke and the contrast of him standing out amidst the overgrown greenery was visually arresting and stuck with me after the film ended.

5. Mine

There's only so many ways you can make the brown and blue hues of the desert landscape and sky stand out but Mine deftly works around those limitations to further advance the plot. In these two frames I caught the parallels between before and after the film's inciting incident in a wordless interlude that really struck hard.

4. George Jeff by Jaden Smith

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Jaden Smith has always made interesting creative choices in his music and while I'm no superfan of his I'd happened to come across his latest music video. This frame happens about two-thirds into the song and took me by surprise with its rich colours and composition.

3. Love by Kendrick Lamar

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Kendrick Lamar is known for his powerful iconography in his music videos and in his latest one for Love comes this blink-and-you'll-miss-it frame with Kendrick surrounded by a group of women. This reminded me a lot of those group portraits on the cover of Vanity Fair and resonates strongly in light of how this year hasn't been particularly kind to women.

2. Mr Robot

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I cannot express enough how much I love this show for going deep into hacker culture with high concept episodes that challenge and excite the audience. Something about the way the light hits Joey Bada$$ (who really steals every scene he's in) makes this frame cinematic and you'd never guess from his casual demeanour that he's a stone cold killer.

1. Blade Runner 2049

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I made the effort to rewatch the original to prepare myself for the long-awaited sequel and the entire experience was A+. Aside from the spectacular sound design (which warrants an entire article on its own), the threesome scene with the hologram Joi was gripping, sensual and a technical marvel.