A carpenter, a death, and the road to resurrection: The quietest of stories can also be the most tense.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne owned the decade in film. The Son is their parabolic ointment for grief.
#2. Code Unknown. (2000) Michael Haneke
When language doesn't communicate, when words are fragmented like scenes on a cutting room floor:
"Morality," Cahiers du cinéma critic Luc Moullet famously said in 1959,"is a question of tracking shots."
And tracking -- understanding -- will win after the words.
#3. Dogville. (2003) Lars von Trier
And she entered the town of Dogville, where Law lay waiting.
Only the Father knows who won.
#4. In This World. (2002) Michael Winterbottom
An unclassifiable film that blends the borders between documentary and drama, you never quite know what you're watching.
And there are other kinds of blending borders and some will pay to be smuggled, some to rot on the trip, and some to die.
This riveting tale by Michael Winterbottom softens even the most hardened of hearts in the gun-em-down border guard patrol.
#5. Irréversible. (2002) Gaspar Noé
These traumas in our lives are there for a reason. The hardships cannot be taken back. They are there to look back on as we set our feet to the journey ahead.
Is Noé a sadist for putting us through this torturous test? No more than he's an augur for asking us to look back before plunging ahead.
#6. Tarnation. (2003) Jonathon Caouette
In the YouTube decade of self-made clips, Caouette battles with himself on full display. He's a Mac-loving cineaste in a generation of childish clipmakers.
#7. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. (2007) Cristian Mungiu
Romania has come alive and is to be celebrated with joy in their participation in the film party.
4,3,2, however, is like an entry on the Obits page. A sad, true tale of political and spiritual collapse, eyes for the blessing are blinded.
#8. Lilja 4-ever. (2002) Lukas Moodysson
Outrage is the only expression for what we hear in the news every day. Lijla, as Ebert pointed out, is the human face that might rid us of callousness.
I will never forget the joy of the little Estonian, or the Lord's prayer that she prayed at night.
It is a true story in that sex slavery is still a constant in our world. We don't see it as often, but it's a constant in our midst. Moodysson serves an intention to help open our eyes. I know he widely opened mine.
I cannot separate the three films or it would be impossible to pick one for the Top 10. If one were left out it would be unfair to the others, but to not include any would be unfair to them all.
#10. The Passion of The Christ. (2004) Mel Gibson
Accused of being sadistic, but no worse than other films on the list, Mel Gibson's version of the passion is violent, raw, bloody and revolting.
It's about time someone lent truth in image to Our Story.