2010s

The Best Films of the 2010s Decade

Veteran filmmakers Terrence Malick and George Miller deliver career-defining masterpieces, Christopher Nolan’s films reach mind-bending new heights, and the wave of New Mexican Cinema hits its peak under the three amigos Cuarón, Iñárritu, and del Toro.

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Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther may not entirely break the mould of its genre, but Ryan Coogler’s rich world-building and thoughtful characterisations offer new depths to familiar superhero archetypes, grounding its conflict surrounding the distribution of Black resources within a vibrantly drawn, Afro-futurist kingdom of ancient rituals and modern politics.

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The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer’s pessimistic, circular plotting makes a smooth leap from page to screen in this taut political thriller, as Roman Polanski infuses it with a wholly cinematic atmosphere of phantasmal dread that builds his nameless protagonist on a foundation of obscured identities, as well as a chilling mystery leading him into the mouth of the malevolent forces he is investigating.

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Suspiria (2018)

Though Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria does not fully bridge the connection between its chilling occultist horror and meandering political tangents, he still manages to leave a mark on the fable’s cinematic legacy with surreal, bone-crunching editing and a deep red colour palette, plunging us into the uneasy paranoia and bloodshed of 1970s Germany.

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Widows (2018)

Steve McQueen’s dip into the crime genre with Widows shrewdly carries on his style of uncompromising filmmaking, using dazzling camerawork and slick pacing to navigate a sprawling, rolling narrative which sees the consequences of one failed robbery ricochet through Chicago’s gangs, politics, and the grieving wives who soon decide to collaborate on their own grand heist.

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Vitalina Varela (2019)

As one widow wanders the gloomy remnants of her estranged husband’s derelict home in Vitalina Varela, Pedro Costa glacially slips through cinematic paintings of a decaying Portuguese village, dimly illuminating its weathered production through harsh vignettes of light that seek spiritual healing from grief, and which challenge us to peel back the layers of its solemn visual poetry.

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Gravity (2013)

It is within Gravity’s restless, floating camera and moving allegory for grief that Alfonso Cuarón evolves it into a cinematic wonder, teasing out the compelling tension between barren emptiness and a determined embrace of life in one astronaut’s fraught journey back to Earth from the merciless void of outer space.

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