2010-2019 was a fantastic decade for cinema. We’ve been introduced to some breakout stars, surprising hits, plenty of record breaking achievements and some of the finest movies to ever grace cinema. By far my most challenging list yet, I have compiled my top 5 movies from this decade.
Obviously, there’s been a lot of films to come out in that time and its no easy feat getting through them all, so if you see something missing, the chances are I may not have gotten round to see it yet, or it simply didn’t leave as much of a mark as the five listed below.
Without further ado, here’s my list for the five best movies this past decade had to offer.
This is how you reinvent yourself. Jordan Peele, known mainly for his comedy in both tv and film, debuts with one of the most unique, raw, and ultimately refreshing horrors of the last 20 something years.
His controversial but essential political commentary on the racial issues is platformed in a nerve-racking, unprecedented thriller. Although perhaps not a horror film in the conventional sense, Jordan Peele’s directional debut manages to remain an unsettling experience with its chilling realism, well timed jump cues and unrelenting soundtrack.
Thanks to a stunning central performance from Daniel Kaluuya, the horrors he lives on screen feel genuine and horrifying. Each distressing event his character Chris, encounters throughout his time in the Armitage household, are met with squirms or whimpers of an uncomfortable nature. With the director predominantly working in the comedy genre though, there are understandably moments of hilarity scampered throughout its script. Mainly coming from Chris’ TSA agent best friend, Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery). Rarely does he appear without cracking a joke, or making light out of a very dark situation.
Get Out certainly wasn’t a fluke for Peele’s surprising career change, as he doubled up on his success with the highly discussed Us. But it was his first major dive into directing, that has left the lasting impression.
Another directional debut makes its way onto the list, this time it’s Damien Chazelle. His 2014 classic centred around an inspired and dedicated drummer Andrew (Miles Teller), and his no-nonsense, mean-spirited mentor, Fletcher (J.K. Simmons).
In its opening scene we meet our student drummer slumping over his drum set, where he’s seemingly been for sometime. Shortly enters a stoic looking Fletcher, and things immediately start to feel uncomfortable. Interrupting his rhythm and ability to speak at every turn, allowing his nervousness to fuel Fletcher’s dissolution.
Their relationship is the cornerstone to Whiplash’s success. The further the film progresses, the more their behaviours deteriorate. Andrew is pushed to the edge, and then some because of Fletcher’s constant pressure.
It’s as exhausting to watch as it is for Andrew and his fellow orchestral band members to endure. It has a tempo that once it hits, it consistently remains. Every beat of the snare and crash of the cymbal are delivered to musical perfection. Chazelle’s admoration for Jazz music shines through with his professionalism and clear eye for the details.
Whiplash’s overnight success was certainly warranted, and remained one of the standouts ever since its release. It’s tremendously written and well paced narrative structure, leave you constantly breathless. From its opening sequence, to its vigorous crescendo, Whiplash serves as an exemplary addition to the world of cinema.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 action drama Drive, has remained one of the most popular movies of this past decade. It’s an artful, stylistic, 80’s-esque, pop culture phenomenon.
Starring Ryan Gosling as ‘Driver’. A freelancer who uses his talent for an array of jobs. From garage mechanic to stunt driver and getaway driver. The latter of which, is what this movie predominantly exploits. As he specifically mentions, he doesn’t get involved in the robbery, he doesn’t carry a gun, he just drives.
As simple of a concept you can get, certainly in terms of how it treats its plot. But with such great writing, a cool techno soundtrack and enticing cinematography, from its enthralling opening sequence, Drive never loses its traction.
With great support from Ron Pearlman, Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks, Gosling isn’t left being a one man show. Having said that, this is a decade in which elevated the actor to new heights and possibly gained the most impressive filmography of any actor in the last ten years, this is right up there as one of his best pieces of work.
Possibly the most controversial pick on my list, but Argo is a perfect example of why it can be a great thing going into a movie knowing as little as possible.
Despite picking up the Best Picture Oscar back in 2013, it’s a film that has been slightly left behind in the wake of all the bigger pictures to come out in the later part of this decade, and that is a real shame.
Directed and performed by a more matured Ben Affleck, Argo is an intense drama that covers the true story of the ’79 Iranian hostage crisis. I guess a story you’re only really familiar with if you’re an American or happened to be around when such event occurred.
It has a humorous tone that was a welcoming treat, and manages to coincide with its gripping (if not a little on the nose) dramatic pandering, without feeling too forced.
It’s a hero’s story and you can feel a real sense of satisfaction when the final credits roll around. With that being said, it’s ironically two of the men who remain out of harms way, that are the real hero’s of Affleck’s direction. Alan Arkin and John Goodman, representing Hollywood hot heads, deliver the brunt of the jokes, softening the heart racing energy which becomes prominent in its final act.
Ever since being wonderfully surprised when I begrudgingly went to see it in the movie theatre, it has remained one of my favourites, and although you may disagree with my pick, I got a few words for ya. ‘Argo f*@k yourself!’
Although it could be argued that Denis Villeneuve has only gotten better with each film he directs, it was his debut English speaking title Prisoners, that not only put him on the map, but left the biggest mark in terms of viewing experiences for me.
An intricate, well paced thriller starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano. Prisoners is a dark, gritty and often uncomfortable maze of twists and turns wrapped up in a chilling, child-abduction concept.
It utilises each of its main cast to perfection, prompting perhaps career highs from each of its leads. Denis certainly gets the most out of his cast, with its harrowing and troubled script creating a consistently distressing spectacle.
It’s an edge of your seat affair that constantly pulls you in with its alluring atmosphere and beautifully gloomy cinematography. It asks the question how far are you willing to go? Then doesn’t hold back on its answer.
When asked by others ‘what film do I really need to see?’ 9 times out of 10 this is the answer. Denis stormed into the mainstream with this dark and twisted drama, and he’s remained at the top of his game ever since.
Do you agree with any of my picks? What makes your list? Drop a comment below.