Canvas film critic Tom Augustine looks back on the last decade in film
What follows are the films that resonated most for me in this decade, the films that had an active part in shaping my understanding of popular culture, of cinema, of how the world works.
20. Mad Max: Fury Road (dir. George Miller)
Undoubtedly the finest action film of this decade, George Miller's Mad Max update is an intricate and jaw-dropping showcase of death-defying practical effects and sleek, well-crafted storytelling.
19. Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
Jonathan Glazer's unnerving science fiction masterpiece recalls Stanley Kubrick in its glassy-eyed remove, revealing itself as a story of what it really means to be human from a perspective that is wholly alien.
18. A Separation (dir. Asghar Farhadi)
This 2011 domestic drama, centred round the divorce of a couple in an impossible situation, is Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi's finest, a film of finely-tuned performances and a shockingly engrossing story.
17. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
One of the most purely emotional, deeply moving stories of growing up, finding and losing love, and recovering from trauma to be made this decade. That this modest, low-budget film came to represent a burgeoning movement in modern cinema is testament to its elemental power.
16. Paterson (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
Quiet, gentle, poetic and revelatory, Jim Jarmusch's portrait of a New Jersey poet and bus driver finds deep spiritual power in the day-to-day mundanities of life. Featuring one of Adam Driver's best performances, this is a film that moves at its own leisurely pace.
15. First Reformed (dir. Paul Schrader)
Few films captured the mindset of an anxious, haunted generation looking at an uncertain future in a climate changed world like First Reformed, Paul Schrader's exploration of the loss of faith and the discovery of extremism. Ethan Hawke reveals new layers as a reverend utterly lost in the void.
14. Frances Ha (dir. Noah Baumbach)
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A loose millennial odyssey like no other, Frances Ha captures something truly indomitable about the generation it depicts, while remaining universal in its portrayal of the painful drift that are your late 20s.
13. Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater)
Picking up roughly a decade since the incredible Before Sunset, Linklater's third installment of this remarkable love story traded in woozy romanticism for clear-eyed realism, putting the relationship of its heroes Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) under the microscope.
12. Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Quentin Tarantino's historically revisionist hangout movie is a consistently surprising treat, a film at once easy to watch but staggeringly complex in the way it opens up a dialogue with pop culture history, with cinema and with the work of the director himself.
11. The Lost City of Z (dir. James Gray)
Films like The Lost City of Z don't really get made anymore, which makes its existence all the more special. Recalling romantic historical epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, James Gray's finest film captures the hunt for a mythical hidden city in South America in a mode that is boldly old-fashioned.
10. Margaret (dir. Kenneth Lonergan)
A film feared forever lost after it was shelved long-term in the early 2000s, Kenneth Lonergan's epic depiction of teenage angst and post-9/11 shellshock finally saw its release this decade, resulting in a film fascinatingly out of time and yet insistently engrossing.
9. Phantom Thread (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
A delightfully wicked confection masquerading as a handsome period drama, Daniel Day Lewis has rarely been better (or funnier). It's a film full of surprise, luscious imagery and sheer delight.
8. The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)
Now in his 70s, America's pre-eminent cinematic master Martin Scorsese showed no sign of slowing down with the controversial Wolf of Wall Street, a film of sheer, bloated excess that reflected the intoxicating venomousness of capitalism like no other movie this decade.
7. Call Me By Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino)
Luca Guadagnino's earnest, woozy coming of age tale featuring a breakout performance from Timothee Chalamet was the best romance of the decade. Framed in swelteringly warm tones that immediately call back to the feeling of summers long gone, the film captures the ache and joy of first love like no other.
6. American Honey (dir. Andrea Arnold)
American Honey is a film about America as it is today, for young people. Described at the time of its 2016 release as a "youthquake", Andrea Arnold's film about a bunch of young people adrift on a cross-country odyssey without meaning captured the pain, uncertainty and passion of a generation.
5. Certified Copy (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)
Late Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami is one of the greatest film-makers ever; one of his last films, Certified Copy, is an instant classic. It's about a potentially by-chance meeting between a writer and a fan in Tuscany that quickly morphs into an elusive, profound plunge into the depths of identity and the human soul.
4. Meek's Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
Stranded and lost in the middle of nowhere in settler-era America, settlers seeking a new life begin to run out of water and we begin to understand the folly of colonialism as shown in Kelly Reichardt's greatest film. A sparse, quiet, but blisteringly intense experience, with as haunting an ending as any in cinema.
3. The Social Network (dir. David Fincher)
Watching The Social Network nearly 10 years since its original release is to be floored by its apparent ability to see far into the future. While others lauded the arrival of Facebook as the flagship of a new era, this film saw the social media site's inception for what it really was - a breeding ground for misogynist, angry young men willing to sell everything to leave their mark.
2. The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Paul Thomas Anderson, fresh from shooting There Will Be Blood, evolved once again with The Master, a film of slippery intentions that taps into the intuitive, emotional strength of image-making rather than a strict narrative. Featuring astonishing performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master is a film to be felt, rather than understood.
1.Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
A film that speaks to the depressive state of wannabe artists in a way that feels unflinchingly honest and somehow deeply comforting all at once. Llewyn Davis is a bleak film, featuring a character as much an enemy to himself as anyone else. And yet, in its bleakness is a type of transcendence, a glimmer of understanding in a harsh, inhospitable world.