We have always felt the need to classify everything we lay eyes on, and it is reduced to two simple categories: the best and worst. We are the only species who has develop a consciousness and a criterion to understand and judge the world. Nevertheless, that opinion might not be as evolved as we think it is.
We can present ourselves as experts and convince others we have the authority to determine what is worth mentioning and preserving in the archives of history and what is not. But the majority of people who feel this need often classify the world in a simplistic way. Truth is, whether we are experts or not, humans will always feel the need to tell others what they should watch, hear, buy, or do.
The authority to establish what is worth consuming or not might come from a position of knowledge. People, as a result of it, choose to fully accept what they have been told to love or hate. Or they take what they’ve been given and come to their own conclusions.
In the case of the BBC, they leaned on the expertise of 177 film critics from 36 different countries to rank the best movies made in the last sixteen years. Yes, BBC Culture has undeniable influence on people all over the world, but they surely omitted a few movies in the selection process. So, we’ll simply leave you the list and open the floor to debate: what films are missing and why were some even included?
25. Memento (2001) by Christopher Nolan
This film brought the attention of the critics to Nolan’s work. It was also the film that provided him with a solid fan base. The way Nolan established the narrative, which other directors would emulate in the following decade marked a turning point in the film industry. Memento proved that a successful film only needs a compelling story to capture the audience. In your eyes, does this film deserve a place on this list?
24. The Master (2012) by Paul Thomas Anderson
23. Lost in Translation (2003) by Sofia Coppola
22. Caché (20005) by Michael Haneke
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) by Wes Anderson
20. Synecdoche, New York (2008) by Charlie Kaufman
The film’s title is a word puzzle which takes us to a neighborhood in New York, and to an alternative reality. This is a formula that couldn’t fail for the debut project of Kaufman. The result is a complex plot based on themes like family, refuge, love, and, literally a bed. A film where a man can face its insecurities and solve them. The question still stands: Is Kaufman better than Anderson and Coppola?
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) by George Miller
18. The White Ribbon (2009) by Michael Haneke
17. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) by Guillermo del Toro
16. Holy Motors (2012) by Leos Carax
15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (2007) by Cristian Mungiu
By taking us back to the final days of the Romanian communism, this movie speaks of the moral and political conflicts of the society of those days. Life changing decisions need to be made by the leading characters, in a context where freedom is just a dream. It is a story based on the lives of women under that repressive system. However, are there better films that could take its place on this ranking?
14. The Act of Killing (2012) by Joshua Oppenheimer
13. Zodiac (2007) by David Fincher
12. Children of Men (2006) by Alfonso Cuarón
11. No Country for Old Men (2007) by Joel & Ethan Coen
10. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) by Joel & Ethan Coen
The Cohen Brothers use dark humor to go back to the nostalgic sixties. This time, they tell the moving story of Dave Van Ronk. A wonderfully directed movie which deserves to be in the top ten of this movie selection.
9. A Separation (2011) by Asghar Farhandi
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two(2000) by Edward Yang
7. The Tree of Life (2011) by Terrence Malick
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(2004) by Michel Gondry
5. Boyhood (2014) by Richard Linklater
This film is controversial among the critics and regular audience. It is indeed an ambitious project, where the director focused on the artistic aspect of the narrative; but nothing more can be said about it. Linklater is a creative director without a question, but Boyhood is not his best material, especially if it is compared to his trilogy Before…
4. Spirited Away (2001) by Hayao Miyzaki
3. There Will Be Blood (2007) by Paul Thomas Anderson
2. In the Mood for Love (2000) by Wong Kar-wai
1. Mulholland Drive (2001) by David Lynch
Naomi Watts as the leading actress of a neo-noir film is perfection. Thanks to Lynch’s work, we have once again turned our sights to a well-written surrealist narrative. Mullholland Drive teaches us that a film should focus on the quality of the story and not how much it can gain from the box office. This is, without a question, the best psychological thriller of the twenty-first century.
BBC gave us a review of 100 films, which included WALL-E (29th place) and Ratatouille (90th place). However, this was only an exercise limited to only the films experts considered to be the most relevant. When it comes to a list that claims to show the most extraordinary works of the Seventh Art we cannot help but ask, are these critics right? How will this ranking change in ten years time?