Art critic Jürgen Müller continues Taschen’s movies decades series with Movies of the 2000s, a look at the important films made since the turn of the century.
“There is a good argument that the first decade of the 21st century will be the last in which cinema as a mass medium will continue in the form we have always known it,” Müller writes, reminding us that, as an internationally respected film critic, it’s important for him to maintain a somber, thoughtful stance. And he does.
Despite an overall tone that is austere and often bleak, the films Müller has chosen to include here truly do seem to be the best of the best, with very little left out. It’s joyous, at times, to be reminded of them. And terrific to be prodded towards the ones that got away. From me, these include the 2005 political thriller Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg; Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon from 2008, the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man from 2009 as well as A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford and Lars Von Trier’s Dogville from 2003.
For all the films I’d meant to watch and somehow didn’t get to, there are many more that it is sweet to be reminded of and skillfully chosen photos and Müller’s careful words kick up the memory dust as you sift through. Included are important international films as well as award winners and seminal movies of various kinds. 8 Mile, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Spider-Man, Bowling for Columbine, The Lord of the Rings, 25th Hour, Hotel Rwanda, No Country for Old Men, Juno, In Bruges, Slumdog Millionaire. I could go one, but you get the idea. Movies of the 2000s anthologizes a mythology, in a way. It captures an era in a very special way. An absolute must at Oscar time. ◊
Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.