The Movie Waffler The 50 Best Movies Of 2000-2015! | The Movie Waffler

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The 50 Best Movies Of 2000-2015!

We count down the 50 best movies of the 21st century.

Words by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)



50. Just a Sigh (2013)
Like a middle-aged Before Sunrise, Jérome Bonnell schools Richard Linklater in human desire. Read our review.

49. Nightcrawler (2014)
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a career best performance as a sociopathic cameraman who manipulates crime scenes for more dramatic footage. Read our review.

48. To the Wonder (2012)
Dismissed by some as merely a series of shots of Olga Kurylenko twirling at magic hour (which sounds perfectly fine), Malick's film is like a cinephile's version of going to church. Read our review.

47. Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Melodramatic and manipulative in a manner only a musical could get away with, Lars Von Trier got our feet tapping and our eyes watering, while taking his place on the throne of European cinema.

46. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
A portrait of an artist as a young narcissist, Inside Llewyn Davis is arguably the Coens' finest hour and one of the best movies ever made about the power of music. Read our review.

45. Human Capital (2013)
This overlooked Italian drama is the best of the few movies to examine life in the recession era. Read our review.

44. Warrior (2011)
A male weepie if ever there was one, Warrior is a timeless movie that could just as easily have been a product of 1950s or 1970s American cinema. Read our review.

43. Birth (2004)
It took 2013's Under the Skin for director Jonathon Glazer to finally get some recognition, but this atmosphere laden thriller is still his (and indeed Nicole Kidman's) best work.

42. Piranha (2010)
A rare case of a horror remake that outshines the original, Alexandre Aja delighted monster fans with this fun filled homage to the exploitation flicks of old.

41. 3.10 to Yuma (2007)
As above, another remake that improves upon its predecessor. The climactic shootout is one of the greatest action set-pieces we've seen in a modern Hollywood movie.

40. Locke (2013)
A mild mannered Welshman instructing a colleague on the fine points of cement laying may not sound like the most exciting way to fill 90 minutes, but Steven Knight's film grips you immediately and takes you on an emotional journey despite its seemingly low stakes. Read our review.

39. The Lucky Ones (2008)
Neil Burger has since gone on to a career of big budget mediocrity; a shame, as anyone who saw his Hal Ashby style tale of a trio of soldiers on shore leave knows he's a highly capable storyteller. Rachel McAdams has never been better.

38. No (2012)
Shot on 1980s video stock, this lo-fi Chilean film is centred around an ad exec's campaign to take down General Pinochet in the country's first democratic elections, but at its heart it's simply about a disgruntled employee trying to get one over on his boss. Read our review.

37. Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013)
A love letter to a rapidly disappearing American cinema with a stunningly subtle performance from Keith Carradine, himself a relic of a bygone age. Read our review.

36. War of the Worlds (2005)
Though this is his only entry on the list, Spielberg had a decent run in the 2000s with films like AI, Catch Me if You Can and The Terminal, but it's this contemporary adaptation of HG Wells' sci-fi classic that stands out.

35. Amelie (2001)
Like Betty Blue in the '80s, Amelie was the great international breakout hit of French cinema in the early 21st century. Despite a twee level set to 11, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film manages to pull you in, and it's impossible not to fall for its charms.

34. Like Father, Like Son (2013)
Like Warrior, this is another one that will reduce the hardest hearted male viewer to a damp sponge. A heartwarming and heartbreaking look at the value of nurture over nature. Read our review.

33. There Will be Blood (2007)
The movie that saw Paul Thomas Anderson mature as a film-maker, featuring a career best turn from Daniel Day Lewis as a sociopathic oilman who makes JR Ewing seem benevolent.

32. The Piano Teacher (2001)
Michael Haneke does his best Von Trier impersonation, putting Isabelle Huppert's disturbed piano teacher, and the audience, through the emotional wringer.

31. The Savages (2007)
If you had to pick an actor and actress who personified American indie cinema in the early 21st century, you'd likely choose Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. Here they come together as a pair of siblings forced to emotionally mature when their elderly father grows increasingly ill.

30. Tangerine (2015)
Shot on iPhones and starring a pair of trans women, Tangerine is a revolutionary movie that tells a simple tale of friendship. Read our review.

29. The Bourne Identity (2002)
It's common now for indie directors to be handed big budget Hollywood properties, but when the director of Swingers was given the keys to what would become a hugely successful franchise, many eyebrows were raised. Yet Doug Liman proved highly skilled at orchestrating action set pieces.

28. Metro Manila (2013)
Recent years have seen a trend of western film-makers having to work in far flung lands in order to get their films made, and Sean Ellis's thriller is the pick of the bunch. Don't wait for the inevitable US remake. Read our review.

27. Blue Jasmine (2013)
Throughout the 21st century, Woody Allen has continued to work prolifically, producing a few gems and only one real stinker in To Rome With Love. Blue Jasmine is his best of the period, featuring another great Allen female lead, essayed by an on fire Cate Blanchett. Read our review.

26. The Squid and the Whale (2005)
More great work from Laura Linney, alongside career best turns from Jeff Daniels and Jesse Eisenberg as a pretentious English lecturer and the son who naively idolises him.

25. Margaret (2011)
A stunning, novelistic examination of post 9/11 America, Margaret was actually shot in 2005 but struggled to find distribution for six years. Anna Paquin's performance would likely have made her into a huge star had this been released back in 2005. Read our review.

24. The Hunt (2012)
Mads Mikkelsen is outstanding as a creche worker wrongly accused of child abuse. Like the great 1950s social dramas, The Hunt will have you brimming with anger by its ambiguous conclusion. Read our review.

23. Mud (2012)
Mud is that rarity in modern cinema, a true American film. Evoking the spirit of Mark Twain, none of its cast members are Brits or Aussies putting on Southern drawls, lending an extra dimension of reality to Jeff Nichols' sweaty coming of age tale. Read our review.

22. Monsters (2010)
A monster movie with both brains and a heart, Monsters landed director Gareth Edwards the Godzilla gig, going from a budget of $800,000 to one totalling $160,000,000. And now of course he's helming Star Wars spinoff Rogue One.

21. The White Ribbon (2009)
Haneke's masterpiece is a glacially atmospheric and quietly angry look at life in a puritanical rural German hellhole on the cusp of the Great War.

20. It Follows (2014)
Atmospheric like no other horror movie of recent times, with plenty of subtext to chew on and argue over. Read our review.

19. Red Road (2006)
Andrea Arnold's thriller grips you from the outset with its kitchen sink Rear Window premise. While couch potatoes were glued to Big Brother, cineastes were getting their voyeuristic kicks through Kate Dickie's Glasgow CCTV operator.

18. We Are the Best! (2013)
A delightful coming of age tale in which, refreshingly, nobody comes of age. One of the best evocations of childhood, and specifically an '80s childhood, ever put on screen. Read our review.

17. The Duke of Burgundy (2014)
A brilliant examination of the paranoia and self-doubt that plagues romantic relationships. With human toilets. Read our review.

16. The Guest (2014)
With so many movies trading cynically on '80s nostalgia lately, Adam Wingard gave us a film that captured the spirit of that era without having to nudge and wink at its audience. Read our review.

15. You Can Count On Me (2000)
Before Margaret broke his spirit, screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan made his directorial debut with this charming sibling drama, introducing audiences to Mark Ruffalo in the process. Oh, and Linney's here again.

14. Final Destination 2 (2003)
Like Superman 2, this sequel took advantage of its audience's prior knowledge of the premise and dished out non-stop mayhem from its fantastic opening set-piece.

13. Computer Chess (2013)
Many have tried to imitate the the unique film-making style of the late Robert Altman but only Andrew Bujalski's tale of a computer chess convention comes close to replicating the great man's technique. Like Altman's best films, Computer Chess initially presents you with a host of characters, but by the end you feel as though you've known them forever. Read our review.

12. Seraphim Falls (2006)
Ireland's two most iconic movie stars face off in this ridiculously underseen western. Director David Von Ancken disappeared into TV obscurity after this; a shame, as his work here is fantastic.

11. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
After the abysmal The Phantom Menace and the mediocre Attack of the Clones, George Lucas really needed to pull something special out of the bag, and he did just that, wrapping up his prequel trilogy in bombastic style.

10. Mommy (2014)
Xavier Dolan made us ask why more movies aren't shot in a 1:1 ratio, as it worked perfectly for this intimate drama. Read our review.

9. Open Range (2003)
Kevin Costner became a western legend with this outstanding old school oater. Few moments in 21st century compare to watching Robert Duvall's rugged cowboy attempt to get his finger through the handle of a fine china teacup.

8. Mulholland Drive (2001)
A cinematic tour de force, ironically Mulholland Drive began life as a failed TV pilot. Lynch rehashed many of its themes for Inland Empire but it was a pale imitation of his late career masterpiece.

7. The Son's Room (2001)
One of the best examinations of grief ever put to cinema, and a rare non-comic work from Nanni Moretti, who would never come close to matching this.

6. Little Children (2006)
Compiling this list, it's depressing how many of the featured directors haven't worked since. Todd Field has been still since giving us this suburban classic, but thankfully he has a movie, The Creed of Violence, currently in pre-production.

5. The Station Agent (2003)
TV addicts know Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones; cinephiles know him for his breakout role in this charming melancholic drama.

4. Final Destination (2000)
The turn of the century horror scene was flooded by a raft of awful Scream imitations but James Wong revitalised the genre by making death itself the villain of his grand guignol franchise. Read our review.

3. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
A creeping menace pervades this outstanding thriller. We're never sure if Elizabeth Olsen's cult escapee is genuinely in danger or if it's all in her head; either way the film gets under your skin. Read our review.

2. American Psycho (2000)
The movie that reintroduced former child star Christian Bale to the world. He's never been better than as the deranged yuppie Patrick Bateman, and no actor has delivered a more iconic performance in this period.

1. Zodiac (2007)
David Fincher's masterpiece. Like There Will be Blood, it's a case of a film-maker maturing and fulfilling his potential. The movie is so dense it requires a couple of viewings to truly appreciate what a great piece of work it really is. Its recreation of '70s San Francisco shows just how effective CG can be when used in the right way. A movie that demands your attention but richly rewards it.