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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Mr. Turner (2014)

On every level of its stylistic construction, Mr. Turner inhabits the watercolours of its titular historical painter with ethereal elegance, and though this exquisite aesthetic initially seems at odds with the coarse, prickly figure at its centre, Mike Leigh’s exceptional orchestration of such beautiful contradictions affectingly reveals the complex creative processes shared by both artists.

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The Master (2012)

The inverted journeys of self-control and surrender that lonely drifter Freddie Quell and cult leader Lancaster Dodd travel along go beyond excellent screenwriting, but also affirm The Master’s extraordinary formal achievement, as Paul Thomas Anderson layers every single interaction with patterns that elusively float these soulmates through a post-war America lost in its identity.

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Oslo, August 31st (2011)

As recovering drug addict Anders drifts between vestiges of his old life on his first day out of rehab, Joachim Trier unfolds a battle in his mind between the future and oblivion, submitting Oslo, August 31st to the cycle of time that poignantly fades away sentimental memories into a mournful recognition of their widespread irrelevance.

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A Ghost Story (2017)

In adeptly translating the inert feeling of grief into a gradually accelerating narrative pace that sees time frustratingly slip away, David Lowery transforms the material world into a quiet limbo of poignant self-reflection, playing out a meditation on loss, history, and existence from the perspective of A Ghost Story’s titular spectre.

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Cemetery of Splendour (2015)

For all the beauty of its hypnotic neon sequences and the intrigue built around a mysterious sleeping sickness that is infecting soldiers, Cemetery of Splendour goes down as one of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s more modest efforts, though still effectively crafting a mystical political allegory for the historical subjugation a half-conscious nation under the Thai monarchy.

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Happy End (2017)

Although Happy End never quite escapes from under the cloud of Michael Haneke’s previous films, its derivative narrative threads do eventually congeal into a greater point around the suppressed misery and hidden depravity of the bourgeoisie, chillingly hidden behind stoic expressions that only isolate them further from the rest of the world.

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