Published Oct 24, 2019
20. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Lynne Ramsay and Joaquin Phoenix have gained acclaim in their own spheres for their uncompromising executions of unorthodox visions; in You Were Never Really Here, they use each other to reach the height of their powers. In a scant 90 minutes, Ramsay's stylized explorations of trauma and corruption are matched by Joaquin Phoenix's devastating, nuanced portrayal of Joe, a former FBI agent who now rescues victims of sex trafficking, for an all-encompassing, unrelenting cinematic experience.
19. Jackass 3D (2010)
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
While James Cameron's Avatar (2009) may have delighted moviegoers with its immersive 3D worlds, Johnny Knoxville and co. took the burgeoning film format, and their shitty stunts, to new heights with their third full-length feature. It's a true work of fart. I mean art.
18. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman
No film this entire decade has pushed the medium of animation, and animated storytelling in general, quite like Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It's an all-around awe-inspiring achievement in style and motion.
17. Good Time (2017)
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie
Robert Pattinson in a goatee and a shitty dye job, running around New York City in an Ecko Unltd hoodie soundtracked by Oneohtrix Point Never and shot on crackly film. Come for the cutting edge hip aesthetics, stay for the unspeakably tense, anxiety-inducing action thriller. The Safdie brothers have ensured that you'll be stressed as hell, but you'll still have a Good Time.
16. Hereditary (2018)
Directed by Ari Aster
Ari Aster's already-iconic debut feature Hereditary blasted into 2018 and rose on a trajectory of well-earned hype. Harrowing, ambitious and intense, it's the most stressful ghost story you'll ever see.
(Laura Di Girolamo)
15. Spring Breakers (2012)
Directed by Harmony Korine
Irony is completely finished and there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure anymore, as the lines between "underground" and "mainstream" have seemingly disintegrated. Perhaps the last evidence of those distinctions are on display in Spring Breakers, a film where casting Disney starlets as drug-taking mischief-makers alongside Gucci Mane still felt transgressive. Nearly plotless, endlessly colourful and soundtracked by ear-piercing dubstep, Spring Breakers was one of the last films to add vitality to the great highbrow/lowbrow debate.
14. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Directed Céline Sciamma
As much as it's a perfect depiction of the relationship between painter and artist, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is an equally perfect portrait of love. Starring a lesbian and directed by one, too, it's the most authentic portrayal of lesbian romance this decade. It's also a stunning feast for the eyes.
13. The Social Network (2010)
Directed by David Fincher
For most of his career, David Fincher has made a name for himself with character-driven stories about killers, crooks and the people tasked with catching them. But in 2010, he tackled something far more sinister: Silicon Valley tech bros. We've only grown more scared of them since.
12. The Handmaiden (2016)
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Park Chan-wook's dense psychological espionage is teeming with overwhelming erotic energy and a palpable sense of dread. Exacerbated by Park's breathtaking visuals, The Handmaiden is the classic queer novel made fresh.
11. It Follows (2014)
Directed David Robert Mitchell
It Follows channels the classic horror atmosphere of John Carpenter, complete with a creepily beautiful synth score and a supernatural villain who hunts people down by walking very, very, very slowly. Plus, the movie has educational value, since we're pretty sure the whole thing is a metaphor for STIs.