It's finally come to the end of the first decade of the 21st century and every film writer out there has been putting together their "best of" lists to celebrate/commemorate the last 10 years. So I thought I'd jump in with my own list, one which I've tried to make with equal weight given to both the technical best films and my personal favourites.
We're almost into the top ten but before we get there we have numbers 15 down to 11. So without further ado, here's the third part of my list of the top 25 movies of the decade, 2000-2009. Enjoy.
15. Catch Me If You Can
Steven Spielberg may have Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan (both of which I love), but along with the first Indiana Jones, his tale of real-life con man Frank William Abignale Jr. is probably my favourite of his. Leonardo DiCaprio's performance as the lead character is arguably the best he's ever given; Tom Hanks is great as ever as the detective after DiCaprio, and the Oscar nominated supporting performance of Christopher Walken is the stuff of pure brilliance.
But what I think is best about Spielberg's film is how it strikes the perfect balance between fun and serious, breezy light entertainment with a lot of emotional weight to hook onto. One second, Frank Jr. is flitting from city to city posing as an airline pilot, the next he's having a tense conversation with his proud father. It's a film I go back to time and time again and enjoy it as much now as I did the first time I saw it.
If there's ever a module in a film study class for which students have to watch certain events of WWII captured on film, Downfall should be very near the top of the list. Hands down, the most realistic and compelling portrayal of the second World War of the last 10 years, it features one hell of a performance by celebrated German actor Bruno Ganz, giving us a portrayal of Hitler that's appropriately chilling yet strangely empathetic at times. The latter may seem odd, but it makes the man (at least in this particular portrayal) more fully rounded than the one-sided figure we so often see in the movies that tackle this subject matter.
Pretty much the whole movie is set within the confines of Hitler's bunker - that's almost 150 minutes set within one location. Sounds boring, right? Well, it isn't, far from it, in fact. It's one of the most compelling movies in years, one that's as realistic as it is dramatic. A true masterpiece of modern times.