Friday 9 September 2016

Greatest films of the 21st century

The BBC has polled 177 international film critics, and come up with a list of the 100 best films of the 21st century.

It's not a bad list, although inevitably it's not the one I would have come up with. Maybe it's a little skewed towards pretentious arthouse fare. My own approach to arty films is this: I'm willing to accept some of them are doing very clever things, which I don't have the patience or background knowledge to fully grasp. Others are absolute tosh. It's not always possible to get a consensus on where the boundary lies.

A few thoughts on the list:
  • No way is Mulholland Drive the best film of the 21st century. I've never really gotten the cult of David Lynch; I'll grant this one deserves to be in the top 100, maybe the top 25, but first place? I think not.
  • Much the same goes for In The Mood For Love, in second place. I thought it was a lovely, melancholy piece of cinema, but it really shouldn't be that high up.
  • A horrible, glaring omission is the Infernal Affairs trilogy, which can best be described as a Hong Kong equivalent of The Godfather. The first one was remade by Martin Scorsese as multi-Oscar-winning The Departed, but I have always preferred the original.
  • I also think The Martian and the Lord of the Rings trilogy should be somewhere in this list.
  • A History of Violence? Really? If you're going to pick a Cronenberg film from the 21st century, Spider, Eastern Promises, and Maps to the Stars are much better.
  • On a more positive note, it's good to see Spirited Away, Children of Men, and Mad Max: Fury Road place highly. All are wonderful and perhaps underrated films.
  • I've seen Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and found it fascinating, although I'm not sure I understood it. The director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, has three films in the top 100 and I really must try and see the other two.
  • Timbuktu and Fish Tank are little-known gems which I was very glad to catch in the cinema.
I don't have the time or energy to compose my own top 100, but I'll nail my colours to the mast with a personal top 25. The order is a little arbitrary and I'm sure I've left a few films out, but here goes:
  1. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
  2. No Country For Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
  3. 12 Years A Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
  4. Inside Out (Pete Docter, 2015)
  5. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
  6. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
  7. The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015)
  8. The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum, 2014)
  9. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Peter Jackson, 2003)
  10. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
  11. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
  12. The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
  13. Up (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, 2009)
  14. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
  15. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
  16. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
  17. House of Flying Daggers (Yimou Zhang, 2004)
  18. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
  19. Infernal Affairs (Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, 2002)
  20. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)
  21. District 9 (Neill Blomkamp, 2009)
  22. Winter's Bone (Debra Granik, 2010)
  23. Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000)
  24. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014)
  25. Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001)

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