Films You ‘Aughts’ To See (if You Haven’t Already)

Like every other film writer, I was recently asked by my editor to compile a list of my favourite films of the past decade. My 100 titles were mathematically tabulated with those of several other critics, and what resulted was In Review Online’s much-vaunted The 100 Best Films of the Decade feature. Though such exercises are inherently flawed (since no single film-lover has seen every movie made in the Aughts), a group list such as InRO’s is slightly more reflective of Great Films because it pulls from a wider pool than the experience of one.

And if you click through, the InRO list will give you a sense of where I stand on the matter. Consider it a taste barometer if nothing else, even if I don’t agree with every choice (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) or every ranking (In the Mood for Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). There are even a few movies I haven’t seen yet (George Washington, The Assassination of Jesse James…). Most, however, are solid films and/or the decade’s required viewing, whatever your assessment may otherwise be.

But I couldn’t resist posting this addendum. In the process of tabulation, many of our choices fell by the wayside, as did many of our big-studio titles (we seemed to diverge quite a bit on what’s ‘good’ in Hollywood). For completion’s sake, then, here are several titles I consider excellent, or essential, or must-see Hollywood fare; at the very least, I had to flag Puiu’s excluded masterpiece, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. There was also hesitation within our circle about larding our feature with late-decade releases, so I’ve reinserted a few of those worthies, too. — Ranylt Richildis

My original list, by decade:

Ten Favourite Films of 2000; Ten Favourite Films of 2001; Ten Favourite Films of 2002; Ten Favourite Films of 2003; Ten Favourite Films of 2004; Ten Favourite Films of 2005; Ten Favourite Films of 2006; Ten Favourite Films of 2007; Ten Favourite Films of 2008; Ten Favourite Films of 2009.

Michael Mann's visual feast "Public Enemies"

A handful of notable also-rans:

Autumn Ball (Ounpuu, Estonia)

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (Herzog, US)

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Edel, Germany)

The Beaches of Agnes (Varda, France)

Bronson (Refn, UK)

Goodbye Solo (Bahrani, US)

The Headless Woman (Martel, Argentina)

Humpday (Shelton, US)

Julia (Zonca, France)

La danse: Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris (Wiseman, US)

The Sun (Sokurov, Russia)

United 93 (Greengrass, US)

The White Ribbon (Haneke, Austria)

Tilda Swinton is Erick Zonca's "Julia"
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2 thoughts on “Films You ‘Aughts’ To See (if You Haven’t Already)

  1. That’s an interesting list and full of films I’ll need to add to my Netflix cue. But how could you leave The Dark Knight off? I’m not a big fan-boy or anything, but that certainly seems deserving of a top 100 list.

    moviehater’s comment refers to my original personal list of 100 that did, indeed, omit “The Dark Knight.” I updated an old post to make it less redundant, but I don’t like deleting folks’ valid comments. — RR

  2. I’m with you on CASINO ROYALE, big time. One of the best action movies of the decade. Now, THE LIMITS OF CONTROL on the other hand…

    Nicely done. And beautiful work on those capsules for the big list. Having read your ardent defenses of them, I now feel as though I may have severely underrated both INGLORIOUS BASTERDS and A SERIOUS MAN.

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