Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My fave films of the decade

No movies from 2009 in my list of my 10 fave films of the decade, though The Hurt Locker and Avatar came very close....

Also bubbling under: Sideways, Pan's Labyrinth, Man on Wire, No Country for Old Men, Wall-E, Millions, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Borat, Spirited Away, Mystic River, Slumdog Millionaire, Up in the Air, A History of Violence, Adaptation, Kill Bill, The Lives of Others, Yi Yi (A One and a Two), Wall-E, Before Sunset, Vitus, The Pianist, Million Dollar Baby, School of Rock, Michael Clayton, Elf, Casino Royale, Minority Report, Traffic.

Below are 10 movies that proved to be transcendent experiences at the cinema over the past 10 years.

10) The Pianist
9) Letters from Iwo Jima
8) Munich
7) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
6) Mulholland Drive
5) The Incredibles
4) Almost Famous
3) Amelie
2) Lord of the Rings (ok, technically three movies but I'll cheat as it's all one story)
1) Children of Men

"Children of Men" was one of the most powerful movie experiences of my life. For two hours, I wasn't aware that I was in a cinema at all. I was crouching, ducking, and weaving through Alfonso Cuarón's nightmarish depiction of a future in which the human race is dying out because incapacitated women are unable to bear children. "Children of Men" has many marvels not the least of which are two astonishing sequences filmed in unbroken camera movements (you're so wrapped up in the tension of the scenes that it's only afterward that you realize how complex those shots were to orchestrate).

Cuarón's bleak, yet wholly remarkable, film borrows imagery inspired by warfare in Baghdad, the July 7 London Tube bombings, the Holocaust, Abu Ghraib, and Guantánamo to create an allegory about how the brotherhood of man has been fractured into divisions of race, religion, nationality, and gender. Yet, the movie's theme and message is so subtle that it's only after the film is over that one parses its meaning.

Sadly, the movie studio didn't seem to understand what it had in its hands. It was ditched in movie theaters with scant thought as to its Oscar chances and the trailers made it look as if it was a trashy sci-fi thriller. Once the critical plaudits started to mount, it seemed as if the studio was taken by surprise. But without an Oscar campaign, the film was ignored during awards season. No matter. The film's reputation has only increased over time and several film critics have included the film in their "Best of the decade" lists.

1 comment:

  1. I agree 100% on Children of Men. I watch it every time I need new inspiration about film.