Editor's note: I found this in my drafts. I have no idea how I wrote this; I haven't seen most of these films. I think I must be taking the piss, here. Indications are this was written December 15th, 2009, which was before Robin Williams died. The original post included the asterisked note "*Important that Robin Williams wasn't in them" - cryptic. Non-prophetic. I've added a double-asterisk to signify: **the decade 2000-2009.
The rest is much as it was, apart from a couple typo fixes and deletion of unnecessary instances of "very."
Bit of an enigma on the whole. It can't be plagiarism. But where did I get these opinions on these films? Why write this?
Perhaps it's a satire. Why does anyone write these sorts of recaps?
15.) Rocky Balboa (2006)
Suspend your disbelief for a moment. If we forget about the other sequels and consider this film in partnership with Rocky (1976), what we are left with are two movies that complement each other perfectly, albeit thirty years apart from each other. Watch the two movies that bookend the series back-to-back. We have a very moving story of a man at the end of his career, mourning the loss of a loved one and trying to rebuild a relationship with his son, with a truthful, humorous and extremely touching portrayal of one of the finest characters to ever grace the screen. It really did bring a tear to my eye.
14.) Zodiac (2007)
A film that appeared to split the opinion of audiences, but for me it was the film that finally marked the maturity of David Fincher, and his transition from a very good director into a great filmmaker. A story of obsession, based on events around the Zodiac killings, it leaves us feeling uncomfortable and searching for answers.
13.) An Education (2009)
A recent release but one that stole my heart when I first saw it. Not least because of a personal resonance, but also because of an outstanding central performance by Carey Mulligan, and a true story which could quite easily have been one-dimensional, but was realized in a very thought provoking way.
12.) Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Didn't get the credit and the audience it perhaps deserved on release, partly due to some similarities between it and the Madeleine McCann saga, but this is a gem of a movie. It's a beautiful meditation on the difference between right and wrong, with an understated performance by Casey Affleck, which is heartbreaking at times.
11.) Closer (2004)
Started off as a stage play, then made the transition to the silver screen, where it's four lead characters and their relationship machinations left audiences emotionally drained. Which of the characters do you most identify with?
10.) Dancer in the Dark (2000)
The only musical to make it onto my list but don't let that put you off. This is breathtaking at times and will put you through an emotional journey that will leave you shocked and crying like a baby at the climax.
9.) Mystic River (2003)
This is a powerhouse of a movie. Clint Eastwood at his finest as a director with great turns by Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon. Deeply affecting with it's multiple tragedies, it's a consummate look at a small community, Shakespearean in tone and delivery.
8.) Into the Wild (2007)
A remarkable movie from the directorial hand of Sean Penn, this is a moving and beautiful portrait of a young man who chooses a very different life to the rest of us. Spiritually uplifting and earth-shattering.
7.) City of God (2002)
A frenetic and dazzling movie from Brazil that rates as good as anything that Scorsese has produced. With brilliant use of music, some stunning cinematography and professional performances from a virtually amateur cast, it's a movie that leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout.
6.) Synecdoche, New York (2008)
What may turn out to be the most important movie of the decade. It's exploration of reality and meaning of life leaves you mentally and physically exhausted after watching it and remains with you long after seeing it. I still think about it all the time. Not an easy watch by any means but one that is worth it.
5.) Downfall (2004)
Based on the memoirs of Traudl Junge and the final days she spent with Hitler in his bunker, this is a captivating film, not least for the wholly believable performance by Bruno Ganz in one of the most difficult roles an actor could ever be asked to play.
4.) Hunger (2008)
Brutal, visceral, devastating. In a time when new technology has become commonplace to replicate thrills, this is a film that uses no such tricks, instead showing the real power of performance and the use of a camera.
3.) Donnie Darko (2001)
A movie which successfully treads the line between profound and pretentious, it is an easily identifiable treatsie about life, death and love, one which comes on an old friend who just can't take a hint.
2.) Requiem for a Dream (2000)
With a score that has launched a million other films/promotional videos and some exceptional cinematography by Matthew Libatique, this is a hauntingly powerful movie based on source material by Hubert Selby Jr, which marks out Darren Aronofsky as the talent of his generation of directors. Unmissable.
1.) The Lives of Others (2006)
My film of the decade. A film about time and pressure, it captures a moment from history almost perfectly, showing the intensity of a relationship between two men who have never met and the things people have to do to survive.
Other worthy contenders that didn't quite make my top fifteen include:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hidden, Tarnation, Adaptation, Revolutionary Road, Primer, Two Lovers, In the Shadow of the Moon, Lost in Translation, In the Mood for Love, Memento, Sweet Sixteen, Mulholland Drive, The Kid Stays in the Picture, The Pianist, Amelie, Pirates of the Caribbean, La Vie En Rose, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Amores Perros, Man on Wire, No Country for Old Men, Sophie Scholl - The Final Days, Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, 500 Days of Summer, Where the Truth Lies, Zoolander, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Dreamers, Apocalypto, This is England, The New World, Intacto, Pineapple Express, Adventureland, Hotel Rwanda, Almost Famous, The Piano Teacher, In Bruges, O Brother Where Art Thou?, L'enfant, Royal Tenenbaums, Good Night and Good Luck, Phone Booth, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Sunshine, Battle Royale, American Psycho, The White Ribbon, Wonder Boys, There Will be Blood, Borat, Anything for Her, Juno, American Gangster, Y tu Mama Tambien, Phone Booth, The Wrestler, The Science of Sleep, About a Boy, Hustle and Flow, Pan's Labyrinth, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Dark Water (2002), Wedding Crashers, Mesrine: Killer Instinct/Public Enemy No. 1, Tell No One, Dead Man's Shoes, Be Kind Rewind, Brokeback Mountain, Let the Right One In, Roger Dodger.
There are probably others that I have forgotten or I haven't seen but that's still quite some list. Do you agree with my list? What did I miss out? And what would be your film(s) of the decade and why?