Best movies of the century so far: Mark Liversidge’s top 10
We’re asking our readers for their picks of the best movies of the century so far - you can vote here or via the form below for your top five.
We’ll reveal the top choices of our readers later this month - but to give you some inspiration for your choice, we asked our film critic, Mark Liversidge, for his.
Over to you, Mark...
Despite fears that it would suffer at the hands of TV and the internet, cinema has continued to thrive as an art form in the 21st century. Here are my personal highlights of the last twenty-and-a-bit years.
10. The Social Network
Historians looking for a film which truly captures the zeitgeist of the first fifth of the 21st century should look no further than the power games of the development of Facebook. One of David Fincher’s best films (Gone Girl is also unmissable), it also has the century’s best trailer with a female choir covering Radiohead’s Creep.
9. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Parasite captured all of the attention at this year’s Academy Awards and became the first foreign language film to win. As is often the way, it’s not even the best film of the year: Celine Sciamma’s delicate drama of forbidden discovery uses music and art to explore desire and freedom. Wonderfully for grammar obsessives, it features a portrait of a lady, on fire, and portrait, of a lady on fire.
8. 12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen (the British artist turned director, not the motorcycle-riding actor) brought us the devastating history of the life of free black man Solomon Northup and his sale into slavery. It features two of the foremost examples of the acting craft since 2000, with Chiwitel Ejiofor as Northup and Lupita Nyong’o as his fellow slave Patsey.
Denis Villeneuve started the last decade with Oscar nominated twin drama Incencides, and has since become one of the most in-demand directors: Prisoners, Sicario, Blade Runner 2049, the upcoming Dune adaptation. But with Amy Adams as a linguist trying to communicate with aliens, he created a sci-fi thriller that strikes at the heart of love and loss.
Martin Scorsese might be forgiven for resting on the laurels of his work as one of the finest directors of the last century, but he’s also one of the finest directors of this century too (Gangs Of New York, The Departed, Shutter Island, Hugo, The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Irishman). Time may come to see Silence as one of his most overlooked works, with two Jesuit priests on a mission to Japan.
5. Hidden (Caché)
Michael Haneke has been the director, above all others, that has truly caused me to ask what cinema is and what our role is in it as observers. The White Ribbon and Amour are other exceptional examples of his recent work, but this drama about a couple receiving video tapes of their house and family examines our natural voyeuristic instincts to troubling effect.
4. The Act of Killing
Our current century has also seen some thought-provoking, innovative documentary making, such as I Am Not Your Negro, Waltz With Bashir, Man On Wire and Grizzly Man. That film’s director Werner Herzog executive produced this stunning indictment of Indonesian death-squad leaders as they re-enact their crimes as musicals and gangster films. Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up The Look Of Silence is also a must-watch.
3. No Country for Old Men
Cast me adrift on a desert island with the recent output of Coen brothers Joel and Ethan and I’d be a happy man: O Brother, Where Art Thou, A Serious Man, True Grit, Inside Llewyn Davis and more. Cast me adrift with one film and you’d better make it this one, with Javier Bardem’s iconic hitman Anton Chigurh and a wistful ending sat at the kitchen table.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Film must continue to evolve to survive, and Michel Gondry has done as much as anyone to drive that evolution. His partnership with writer Charlie Kaufman examines love and memory like never before, with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet trying to forget each other using surgical procedures.
1. The Prestige
If you’re trying to come up with your own list, you might end up searching other lists of recent cinematic greatness, and you might not find Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece on any of them. But from the small touches (David Bowie as Nikola Tesla) to the epic twists, this battle of magicians Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale shines an unflattering light on our desire for power, and blends period drama with sci-fi and a dab of horror to make a timeless classic.
Now it’s your turn. Vote for you top five here - and look out for our ultimate list of the movies released since 2000.