Now that this decade is coming to a close, for the last paper of the year we thought we’d do a roundup of what we think are the most important films of the 2010’s, featuring one from each film writer. These films don’t necessarily line up with the ones we have loved the most, however, they are what we think have shaped, changed and influenced the film industry over the past ten years. Film has developed a lot over the course of the decade, we have witnessed the release of the first Avengers film, a Star Wars return, Twilight happened, there was a Frozen craze that felt like it lasted forever and much, much more…
When thinking of the best and most important films of the decade, Moonlight was one of the first ones to cross my mind. This film made history when it became the first best-picture winner from an African-American director, Barry Jenkins, at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. For anyone that watches The Oscars, that moment where the award was snatched away from La La Land (thank god) to be correctly received by the crew of Moonlight after a colossal error is unforgettable. A quick Google search has told me it was also the first best-picture film to have LGBT-themes at the heart of the storyline – monumental is certainly a word apt to describe this film. Before I was ever interested in keeping up with new film releases, I decided to go watch Moonlight at the cinema on a whim with my friend as he had been told it was “good”, and I left the cinema stunned. The gorgeous cinematography, impeccable casting and acting, and beautiful execution of the coming-of-age story of a gay black man were all achieved on a low budget, making it all the more impressive. Although the systemic racism of The Academy and entire film industry sadly still hasn’t been eradicated, the recognition of this film was a step in the right direction and I am sure it will go down in history.
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (2018)
An animation so rich and vibrant, I can only hope the new decade will bring us more of its kind. Spider-man: Into The Spider-Verse perfectly encapsulates the decade of the superhero movie by bringing a twist to one of cinemas most rebooted masked mavericks. Bringing to life a vision true to the style of the comics that inspired it, the creators of Into the Spider-Verse manage to break the rules of animation with inspired creative choices and by beautifully blending multiple animation styles together with phenomenal results. This film could make the shortlist of most influential films of the decade based on its creativity in visual design alone but brings so much more. The way characters’ thoughts and feelings are portrayed in this piece is entirely unconvential but undeniably real, an audience can feel every betrayal, every ounce of pain while never being too long from comedic relief. Much like the average Imperial Student, Into the Spider-Verse does it all: explaining the multiverse, converting non-superhero fans, giving audiences a killer soundtrack and diverse characters that are brought to life vividly, I wait in anticipation for the return of Miles Morales and co. in 2022.
In a decade dominated by sci-fi and superhero franchises, Whiplash, a film about a promising young drummer whose ambition is to become a world-class musician, stands out with its simplicity in terms of means of expression. It’s extraordinary how immersive and hypnotic it felt without digital special effects – that’s due to brilliant film and sound editing. All cuts match the music perfectly and they feel so natural and spontaneous, as if the film itself was an improvised jazz piece. The beat and its pace are also essential in building up the tension on the screen. Furthermore, Whiplash is minimalist in the number of characters and subplots. The main focus of the story is the interaction between the student and the teacher, and it’s very clear from the beginning until the end. As such, the message conveyed by the film is very concise. Whiplash poses two important questions: how much should you sacrifice for a successful career? And where is the line between trying to push someone to succeed and bullying – does the end simply justify the means? Whiplash is one of a kind, not many films are as intense and memorable. Great acting, a straightforward storyline with a satisfying ending and the omnipresent rhythm make it one of the most important films of the decade.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)
Cutting it close but still making it into this decade, The Social Network established itself in late 2010 as one of the best films to come out of cinema in recent years. Taking source material from an inherently lacklustre subject in Mark Zuckerberg, a film about the formation of website doesn’t sound like the most riveting or exciting of topics, yet it is the exact opposite. Kicking off the decade, this film showed audiences exactly what a film should be, with a perfect script from Aaron Sorkin, a perfect soundtrack from Trent Reznor (of NIN), and perfect directing from David Fincher, it seems it would’ve been harder to make a bad film rather than a good one with such a talented line up. This set the precedence in a decade that has now become almost defined by biopics, with every studio wanting their shot at an academy award, and so churning out (semi) non-fictional pictures year after year. The extremely talented cast only enhanced the already outstanding script, with Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg being the real stand out performances. Again, I really have to draw back to the soundtrack here, as there are very few films that are so brilliantly scored. The electronic whiring along with strung out synthesizers perfcetly encapsulate the landscape that the plot is centred around, with an extremely unique and iconic sound. As each brilliant piece of this puzzle slotted together, it defined itself as one of the most important scenes of the decade.