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The Best of the Decade

Over the last ten years, the cinema has given us a great deal to be thankful for: a rebirth of the Batman franchise, a series of examinations of what it means to live in this particular decade, and a mass of character studies whether they be animated or popcorn thrillers. As much as I have enjoyed the offerings, a list must be culled together for the end of the year. Except this year is different, this year ten films must be selected from hundreds. Below are some of the best of the aughts. Enjoy!

10) There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson's magnum opus, a scathing look at extremism in America and the evils of greed and profiteering from religion. It also features the best performance of the decade with Daniel Day-Lewis as oil-man Daniel Plainview.

9)  Up
A beautiful tale that entrances all ages, Up managed to captivate children and tell a tale that adults cherish as well.

8) The Dark Knight
Maybe just a comic book film, but it is the best comic book film. Christopher Nolan did to superheroes what Clint Eastwood did for Westerns in Unforgiven.

7) Children of Men
Delivered a dystopian future where children are no more, but there is still hope.

6) The Departed
The destruction of the identity in the face of pretending to be something else. Who can save you when you go to the other side? The film that finally got Scorsese his first Directing Oscar.

5) No Country for Old Men
Taking a step away from the absurdist, the Coens examine fate, evil and the failure of good men to do anything in a world that needs them most.

4) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
An examination of celebrity and idolatry told within the legend of Jesse James. Brad Pitt gives the performance of a lifetime.

3) The Prestige
Surprised that The Prestige is on this list, but not Memento? Watch this one again. Magic is brutal in Christopher Nolan's Victorian-era film, but the magicians are more brutal still.

2) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
To quote Roger Ebert on the genius of this film, "the insight of Eternal Sunshine is that, at the end of the day, our memories are all we really have, and when they're gone, we're gone."

 And no. 1 is...

1) The Fountain
I'm sure that most of you do not think The Fountain when you think of the best film of the decade, but hopefully after you read this you will give it a watch and mull it over. This is the best treatise on death, love and loss I've seen covered on film.

The Films That Missed the Cut
Eastern Promises
In Bruges
In the Bedroom
Gone Baby Gone
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
40 Year Old Virgin

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