Best films 2000 onwards

The best films of the '00s · Best of · The A.V

The scene was not unlike 12 Angry Men (or, in this case, 3 Shlubby Men, 1 Exasperated Woman, And A Dude On Speaker Phone From Arkansas): Armed with lists of their favorite movies of the decade, the five core A.V. Club film writers spent days sequestered in a stuffy, un-air-conditioned room—okay, it was actually just a few hours, and we were comfortable—in an effort to forge consensus on the Top 50 films of the ’00s. The result: A ranked list that is in no way arbitrary and will serve as the canonical standard for decades to come. You’re welcome.

50. Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy comes in the middle of Park Chan-wook’s “vengeance trilogy”—three unrelated films about the obsessive, destructive pursuit of revenge—but it’s the best of the lot. Park’s insane fable follows a man (Choi Min-sik) imprisoned in a single hideous room for 15 years by an unknown enemy, and then abruptly set free on a bloody mission to track down what just happened to him and why. The results are downright operatic in their violence and outsized drama, but a dark thread of humor runs throughout, in scenes like the bravura, long-take hammer battle (see our best scenes of the decade list) and the moment where Min-sik sets out to determine whether a decade of martial-arts theory alone in an apartment can translate into real-world adeptness against a bunch of bullying punks. Spoiler: It can. If Min-sik wasn’t capable of staggering acts of brutality, this film would be a lot shorter, and a lot less outrageous.

49. Gerry (2002)
After his dabbling in Hollywood (or at least Indiewood) projects hit bottom with Finding Forrester, director Gus Van Sant went through a kind of artistic detox that resulted in a series of dream-like minimalist films that cut against the grain and revitalized his career. The first of a “death trilogy” that concluded with Elephant and Last Days, Van Sant’s Gerry proceeds from a simple, seven-word premise: “Two guys get lost in the desert.” Though Van Sant is making a statement about modern man’s disconnection from nature, Gerry works mainly as a hypnotic and beautifully abstracted exercise in style, with carefully composed landscapes and soundscapes that draw receptive viewers into a unique headspace. Each sequence has its own topographical marvels, but the film is also surprisingly hilarious at times, suggesting a cross between Samuel Beckett and Abbott & Costello.

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