Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Top 5 films of the decade

Inspired by film spotting, that most excellent podcast, I've decided to post my top 5 films from the last decade.

Its a tough one, and I have some honorable mentions that I'll share at the end. Note, I will in all probability spoil each film that I talk about here.

#5 No Country for Old Men: The Coen brothers have often shown an obsession with showing characters falling because of their obsession with riches. Here the main character is actually damned for his pity- he could have gotten away if he hadn't come back to give a dying man some water. This is a cruel film, about the harshness of the world. Our protagonist does not die during INSANELY tense scenes earlier in the film, but is murdered off camera. Anton Chigurh, who gives a brilliant performance, does not get caught, or punished, and the only misfortune he suffers is due to random chance.

#4 The Incredibles: Yes, I know, on some level, that WallE is better. Except I have seen few things that have managed to accurately capture the family dynamic as well as the Incredibles. I have seen few films with action as kinetic as this film. Its a brilliant, funny, family story, and I will hold it above other Pixar films for a long time to come. The moral at its core is a tiny bit muddled, but otherwise I find this film flawless.

#3 City of God: Wow. Now this is one hell of a film. Filmed using actors from the slums of Rio De Janiero, this tells the rise of a gangster with no soul, and the war erupting when he decides to take control of the entire region. As the narrative proceeds, and we see a monster take more and more control, we also follow our protagonist, who is learning how to be an adult, falling in love, and doing his best to escape the slum. Of course, his escape only underlines all those who failed to do so, and instead took up a gun, dying before their eighteenth birthday.

#2 Memento: Still probably Christopher Nolan's best film, the central conceit here is brilliant, and is vital to underline the mystery at the heart of the film. We follow the film from the perspective of one who has forgotten all he has done, and it leads to moments of hilarity, and moments of tension. A splendid film that should be watched by all.

#1 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well it had to be, didn't it? The perfect marriage of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman to make a film about love and memories, and how forgetting does us no good. The imagination, the wit, the soul on display here is splendid to observe. I don't think Gondry has been as good since- Science of Sleep explores the same themes, but felt a lot more empty than this work. Great performances here from everyone- I love both Carey and Winslet in this film. We get to see the best and worse of their relationship, and even the ending works (something that often lacked in Kaufman's earlier films).

Honorable mentions- The Dark Knight is the best super hero film so far, but is outmatched by other films on this list. Amelie is a beautiful fairy tale, and could easily be on this list. Children of Men would definitely be on this list if I had watched it more than once- I absolutely loved it, but am worried that my memories might be unfairly fond. Spirited Away is amazing, and was really just pushed off here. Slumdog Millionare is fantastic- a dark fairytale in the slums of India.

What's everyone elses' top 5?

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