And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Or at least the most exciting bit for me. Coming up with my top five movies is an almost impossible task. I’ve done my best to do the research and not forget about some epic movie I loved. Then again, if I do forget something, does it really deserve a place on the list?
5. City of God
Based on a true story, this movie centres on the street kids in Rio de Janeiro, and how they end up getting involved with the gang violence/drug dealing in their neighbourhood. Possibly one of the most affecting and startling films I’ve ever seen. This isn’t because the violence is any worse than the average 18 rated action movie, it’s because it’s being carried out by kids, and is also based on a real account. The main drug dealer in the movie, Li’l Ze’s final scene is truly startling yet strangely poetic. A fitting end to “The Wire” of Brazilian cinema.
Wall-E’s opening twenty/thirty minutes has widely been acclaimed as one of the best openings ever. After that, it’s supposed to fall flat. I would disagree. I think so much has been made of its opening, you forget how enjoyable the rest of the movie is. The scene where Wall-E and Eve are flying outside the ship, the vision of humans as 100% consumers, the captain’s joy as he sees the video showing him earth. I can’t really think of a time watching this movie I didn’t have a smile on my face. My favourite of Pixar’s movies from the past ten years. I hope they continue to give us hit after hit in the ‘tennies’.
3. United 93
The only movie on the list I have no desire to watch again. In fact, the only way I see me watching this again is if I have to for some teaching/academic purposes. Like Schindler’s List, a movie I feel everyone should watch but which is not ‘entertainment’ like most movies are. Rather it’s an account of how the event of 9/11 changed the world, and the people on United 93 were the first to have to decide how to react to it. Because of Greengrass’ style: using real people to play their roles in Flight Control, and some relatives of the victims to play people on the flight, this felt so real I was blubbering like a baby by the end. A movie like few others, I thoroughly recommend you seek it out.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth
I grew up watching Disney Movies: Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc. All of these movies have a ‘fairy tale’ quality which I love. Talking animals, magic, simple narratives and clear lines between good and evil. Pan’s Labyrinth is Disney for grown-ups. Del Toro expertly combines quite a simple narrative with a lot of complex themes. The world he creates is both beautiful and haunting, inhabited by equally scary humans and monsters. I’ve watched the movie three times now, and still think there’s more going on here than I’ve managed to unravel. Hopefully my newly purchased blu-ray edition will give me something else fourth time around.
1. There Will Be Blood
One of the most remarkable movies this decade. If it merely featured music and visuals, I think it would still be incredibly watchable. As it is, the characters of Eli and Daniel Plainview and both perfectly pitched as rivals determined to win the hearts and minds of a community. Day-Lewis’ performance is one of the all-time greats: taking a character could easily be seen as an evil villain and allowing the audience to root for him for most of the movie. One of my friends described it as having the ‘hangover’ affect: where you continue to think about scenes, characters and themes long after it finishes. Watch it. Be underwhelmed. Then realise a week later the majesty of what you saw.
Feel free to post your own top 5 movies of the decade below: