JSHmoviestuff started life in the 2010s so let me tell you my MOVIES OF THE DECADE – films from 2010-2019 that delighted, thrilled, astounded and moved me.
I started to notice on social media towards the end of 2019, that people were putting out their MOVIES OF THE DECADE. So, I thought I’d throw my selection into the mix seeing as JSHmoviestuff started its life in early 2011 and has been around for almost the entirety of the 2010s.
When I got my thinking cap on and went back into all my Review of the Year posts to choose my highlights, I was also looking for a quote that encapsulated the ten films that I’d decided upon. The quote I chose and that you see in the post’s title is from the Dardennes brothers’ extraordinary film TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT as I felt it spoke of the battles, large or small, real-world or fictitious, that each of the characters in these movies experiences and learns from. They all come out at the end of these films, hugely transformed by what they’ve been through and I for one enjoyed every minute.
So, let’s get started. The movies are in year release order and to read my full review or a post in which I talk about the movie, just click on the film’s title.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)
Director David Fincher. With Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake.
The genius that is director David Fincher brings his brilliant laser-focused detail to bear in the story of the origins of Facebook. Exquisite acting from Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as his best friend and co-founder of ‘The Facebook’ Eduardo Savarin who gets pushed out by Justin Timberlake’s very smooth entrepreneur Sean Parker. A host of excellent actors are first-rate in the supporting roles – Armie Hammer (x2!), Rooney Mara, Max Minghella, Rashida Jones, Dakota Johnson, and Joseph Mazzello – and the 2-hour running time zips by in a flash.
Director Bennett Miller. With Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
What a bromance is at the centre of MONEYBALL! Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are truly sublime as the most charming of odd couples: Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane and economics whizz Peter Brand, who along with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s head coach Art Howe, shake up the world of baseball in Bennett Miller’s superbly recreated sports drama. An early and very winning performance by Chris Pratt as one of the baseball team’s key players is another bonus. I loved this movie instantly and I love it every single time I watch it and there’s been many-a-viewing since 2011.
THE ARTIST (2011)
Director Michel Hazanavicius. With Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo.
The early days of the talkies are so, so, so beautifully recreated in black and white in Hazanavicius’ THE ARTIST. As we watch a deservedly Oscar-winning Jean Dujardin as George Valentin go, with the help of Berenice Bejo’s young newcomer Peppy Miller, from egotistical film star to a true artist in this magnificent romantic comedy/drama. This left me a tear-soaked wreck on its first viewing and every time since – marvellous.
RUST AND BONE (2012)
Director Jacques Audiard. With Marion Cotillard, Matthias Scheonearts.
You’ll feel your heart has been brilliantly put through the wringer after watching RUST AND BONE, Audiard’s exquisitely realised drama which chronicles the romance between Stephanie, an injured whale trainer and Alain, a bare-knuckle boxer and contains performances of such raw power from Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenearts that will knock you sideways. I’m a huge Audiard fan and this, for me, is the best film he’s made to date. And this is the man who made A Prophet and The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Astonishing.
ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012)
Director Kathryn Bigelow. With Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini.
For me, Bigelow surpasses even her incredible 2008 Oscar-winning picture The Hurt Locker with this completely gripping and impeccably recreated account of the decade-long hunt to capture Osama Bin Laden. By following the efforts of an initially insignificant CIA operative, Jessica Chastain’s pitch-perfect Maya, we see how the task she takes on becomes an obsession as she becomes convinced the man in the fortified compound in Abbottabad is the world’s most wanted man. An exemplary supporting cast that includes Jason Clarke as a wonderfully rumpled CIA interrogator, the masterful Mark Strong as Maya’s Pentagon boss, and the inimitable James Gandolfini is on blistering form in a cameo as the CIA Director. Bigelow and her regular collaborator and screenwriter Mark Boal deliver a commanding and powerful film that never ceases to exert its grip whenever you watch it.
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (2014)
Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes. With Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione.
Here it is, a performance by Marion Cotillard that, for me, equals or possibly exceeds the Oscar-winning she gave as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose and is maybe the performance of the decade. She plays Sandra, a factory worker who will lose her job on Monday morning unless she can convince her colleagues to forgo a bonus so that the company can pay for her – all over the course of one weekend. As we watch her visit each employee and witness her pleas to keep her job, we go on a rollercoaster of emotions as Cotillard breathtakingly portrays everything from utter despair to the joy of hope. TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT is heartbreaking and uplifting storytelling, exquisite film-making by the Dardennes brothers.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo. With Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford.
There had to be a Marvel move in here somewhere, didn’t there? And what a movie is CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER This, for me, is the finest film of the whole of the first 10 years of the MCU. The hiring of the Russo brothers as directors and the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely delivered a wonderful 70s paranoia to Cap’s continuing acclimatising to the modern world. Chris Evans is spot-on as the man with the shield having to battle his darkest fears and his best friend Bucky Barnes (an ace Sebastian Stan) aka The Winter Soldier. Oh and Scarlett Johnasson is fab as the Black Widow herself, Natasha Romanoff, Samuel L. Jackson delivers my favourite portrayal of S.H.I.E.L.D. head honcho Nick Fury and let’s not forget the one and only Robert Redford as the suave Alexander Pierce. A-mazing.
Director Denis Villeneuve. With Emily Blunt, Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluuya.
Selecting SICARIO, the first of my brace of films by the excellent Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, it’s also important to salute the contribution of writer Taylor Sheridan and director of photography Roger Deakins in this phenomenally thrilling and very dark journey into the world of the Mexican drug cartels – what a terrific script and oh, how beautifully shot. And the performances! Emily Blunt is fantastic as the idealistic FBI agent who with her fellow agent, brilliantly played by Kaluuya, becomes part of a task force headed by Brolin’s sharp commander and Del Toro’s shadowy operative. Ethics and morals take a hit as they go into battle along the U.S. / Mexico border in a movie that grips you like a vice and never lets you go.
Director Christopher Nolan. With Fionn Whiteread, Aneurin Barnard, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Lowden, Tom Hardy.
Every single film which director Christopher Nolan produces is an event but with DUNKIRK I think he made his masterpiece. What a movie and what a visceral recreation of the desperate rescue attempt in 1940 of Allied soldiers from Northern France as they were surrounded by the advancing German Army. Nolan tells us this in three clever timeframes and in masterful fashion via air, land and sea. And he has the cream of British acting talent to play Spitfire pilots (fab newcomer Jack Lowden and Nolan alumni Tom Hardy), the Commander of the Royal Navy (the awesome Kenneth Branagh) and a mariner who wants to use his own boat to help the evacuation efforts (a peerless Mark Rylance). But it’s an unknown, the gifted Fionn Whiteread with whom we journey through this story, as British soldier Tommy stranded on the beach at Dunkirk awaiting a miracle. Nolan’s movie is just that. Sublime.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017)
Director Denis Villeneuve. With Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Jared Leto.
And Villeneuve is back again with my final choice BLADE RUNNER 2049, the much-anticipated sequel to one of the most iconic science-fiction films since 2001: A Space Odyssey – Ridley’s Scott’s Blade Runner. Double wow for this. It’s quite something to take on such a challenging project but Villeneuve brought us a movie that paid fantastic homage to the original whilst expanding and enriching our experience in that rain-soaked hell-hole that is Los Angeles of the near future. And a large part of that was to do with cinematographer Roger Deakins’ dazzling images which finally earned him a much deserved Oscar. We got to see Harrison Ford once again reprise his celebrated role of Rick Deckard and enjoy some crackling chemistry with the movie’s lead, the tremendous Ryan Gosling. He’s given some pretty outstanding performances over this decade but I absolutely love his portrayal of Officer K, the replicant policeman who uncovers a fascinating link back into the past that also has a shattering effect on his future. Brilliantly talented new discoveries Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks both make memorable impressions and Robin Wright is stellar as K’s superior. This is top-drawer film-making and I love it.