What follows is the first part of the hideously overdue rundown of my Top 100 favourite films of the last decade. Not a Top 20, not a Top 50 but a Top 100. You can see why I’m doing this in installments.

Most lists like this are published in late-December or early-January, but most lists like this don’t contain lovingly hand-crafted haiku summaries. You get what you wait for. This delay has also given me the chance to catch up with films released in 2009 that I didn’t manage to catch last year. That helps to explain why some films included in this list didn’t appear in my Top 10 Films of 2009. That, and the fact I’m pathologically fickle.

Of course, strictly speaking, the first decade of the twenty-first century started in January 2001 and ends later this year. In that sense, then, this list has actually come early. The only problem with following that line of thought, however, is that I’d have to reconfigure the chart to include films that haven’t been made yet. That’s too much hassle.

The dates I use are UK theatrical release dates, which are often later than US release dates. As a result, this list contains films you may think belong to the previous decade.

I sympathise with these films. I’m often accused of belonging to a previous decade, too.


100. 3:10 to Yuma (dir. James Mangold, 2007)

Cowboys Crowe and Bale

Evoke a simpler era

(Train arrives on time)

99. Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures (dir. Hasko Baumann, 2007)

French comix legend’s

Influence is everywhere

We live in his world

98. Watchmen (dir. Zack Snyder, 2009)

Caped Citizen Kane?

Not quite, but it sure does try

Heroic attempt

97. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (dir. Errol Morris, 2004)

War and remembrance

From US politics giant

Life lessons linger

96. Infernal Affairs (dir. Wei-keung Lau/Alan Mak, 2004)

Hong Kong cop and crook

In deep cover collision

There will be bullets

95. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2000)

Urban warrior

Finds Zen in a pigeon loft

(He could have found worse)

94. Sin City (dir. Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller, 2005)

Miller’s comic noir

Faithfully cut-and-pasted

Rourke’s Marv steals the show

93. Tropic Thunder (dir. Ben Stiller, 2008)

Actors’ film folly

As they stumble into war

Year’s funniest film

92. Casino Royale (dir. Martin Campbell, 2006)

James Bond is re-Bourne

Exchanges gadgets for grit

He’s blonde now, you know

91. Big Fish (dir. Tim Burton, 2004)

Shaggy dog story

Brings the best out in Burton

(Sequel: ‘Cardboard Box’)

90. Public Enemies (dir. Michael Mann, 2009)

Mann’s gangster epic

Is a fedora-clad ‘Heat’

(The film, not the mag)

89. Insomnia (dir. Chrstopher Nolan, 2002)

Sleep deprivation

Prevents scenery-chewing

At least I think so

88. Avatar (dir. James Cameron, 2009)

J.C. rose again

With pulp sci-fi eye-popper

Tangled up in blue

87. Gran Torino (dir. Clint Eastwood, 2009)

It’s flawed, but who cares?

Clint’s in front of the camera

And that makes our day

86. Coraline (dir. Henry Sellick, 2009)

Neil Gaiman’s kids book

Becomes stop-motion delight

Sinister buttons!

85. American Splendor (dir. Shari Springer Berman/Robert Pulcini, 2004)

Not a cape in sight

As comix artist laid bare

Underground classic

84. Rocky Balboa (dir. Sylvester Stallone, 2007)

Italian Stallion’s

Final return to the ring

A Sly-con swansong

83. Lost in Translation (dir. Sofia Coppola, 2004)

Platonic affair

What’s so funny about that?

It’s Big in Japan

82. The Orphanage (dir. Juan Antonio Bayona, 2008)

Twisty Spanish yarn

With a very sad middle

Behold the sack mask!

81. Million Dollar Baby (dir. Clint Eastwood, 2005)

Clint tugs at heart strings

In girl boxer tearjerker

That still packs a punch

80. Death Proof (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2007)

Best half of ‘Grindhouse’

Left many moviegoers cold

(Like I give a shit)

79. The Departed (dir. Martin Scorsese, 2006)

Jack’s shows a mean streak

On Marty’s gritty Mean Streets

Infernal remake

78. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (dir. Steven Spielberg, 2001)


As Spielberg channels Stanley

Beautifully bleak

77. Brokeback Mountain (dir. Ang Lee, 2006)

Ang Lee’s ‘Giant’ became

A shorthand for homophobes

But what do they know?

76. Burn After Reading (dir. Ethan Coen/Joel Coen, 2008)

Coen’s strike again

Dumb idiots hatch dumb plot

It’s sadistic fun!