My Top Ten Films of the Decade

Inland Empire

For those who know me it should come as no surprise that there are two David Lynch films in my top ten. Inland Empire is in some ways a very confusing film, but one that is, perhaps, not intended to make sense. However it is a film that completely absorbed me and one that was visually like a dream (in various senses of the word) and took me on an emotional journey. Lynch’s use of sound is second to none here and the direction is, as usual, formidable.

Cache

It was hard to decide between this and La Pianiste. However, Haneke’s Cache was a film that I had to re-watch immediately, not just because of its terrific ending. A great meditation on guilt, history, and racism in France from one of the greatest directors working in cinema.

Irreversible

One of the hardest films to watch, but one that really questions why we view films – especially in relation to the film’s most notorious scene. It is a film that is a visual overload and one where the sound design really pummels the viewer into submission (or for some, revulsion). It analyses the relationship between sex and violence, yet within these there is a sense of beauty. Not a film for everyone, but one which will always remain with me. Another film that examines similar themes (although with a more religious slant) is the admirable Martyrs.

The Proposition

Written by Nick Cave, this is a great interpretation of the western genre. Beautifully shot, great performances from all the actors, a terrific score, and an appropriate sense of dirt throughout. I never thought a western this good would come from Australia!

Requiem for a Dream

I was always looking forward to this film. Aronofsky truly impressed me with his debut Pi, and Hubert Selby Jr is probably my all time favourite author. The film really delves into the effects different types of addiction can have on people’s lives and on those around them. It definitely does not leave the viewer on high note which is in keeping with the main themes. Visually it is a real treat and the editing is almost unsurpassed. Once again, Clint Mansell provided Aronofsky with a great soundtrack.

Let The Right One In

A great take on the vampire genre, but not as good as the terrific Near Dark. What I enjoyed about this was the theme of love and how it confronts some sensibilities of childhood innocence (another film that does this, in a different way, is Gilliam’s highly underrated Tideland). The theme of androgyneity was also a nice touch. The cold, white cinematography is a joy to watch. However, the film is, in my opinion, let down by its ending. But it definitely beats the hell out of that other teenage vampire movie!

Mulholland Drive

Another labyrinthine masterpiece by Lynch, one that delves into the state of Hollywood past and present. The performances by Harring and Watts are beautiful to watch and the film contains a darkly comic sensibility. Sexy, dark, confusing, and mysterious.

Memento

The apparently non-linear film that is actually linear! A wonderfully constructed piece of neo-noir cinema with fine performances from all involved. It is a film that will leave some questioning until the conclusion and is one that encourages the audience to understand Guy Pearce’s characters condition. Nolan’s direction is precise throughout and the film never fails to engage all that I show it to.

Sweet Sixteen

Why this film has an 18 certificate I will never understand. This film sums up what it means to be a teenager not only in Scotland, but throughout Britain, and should therefore be watched by teenagers! It is a touching story of hurt, love, and loss. Compston delivers a terrific performance as Liam and in typical fashion Loach reveals what it is wrong (and right) with modern day British society.

The Lives of Others

A subtle, brooding, and moving commentary on life under the Stasi. The narrative is excellent (with a convincing twist) and it does provide a real insight into recent German history. The cold performance by Muhe is fantastic and the film creates a true sense of paranoia and its effects. A terrific political drama.

What films would make your top ten of the last decade?

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