I don’t think it was a particularly good decade, but at least these six movies have impressed me:
Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (French, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
La Meglio Gioventù (Italian, Marco Tulio Giordana)
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Korean, Chan-wook Park)
L’Enfant (Belgian, Dardenne Brothers)
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (American, Tommy Lee Jones)
My Life without me (Canadian, Isabel Coixet)
I liked the Lord of the Rings and (most) Harry Potter movies, but they’re not special favourites. Some directors whose movies I usually like (the Coens, Woody Allen, Marty, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh), did some nice things, but never reached their very best form. I don’t like hyped directors like Von Trier, Haneke or Ozon. The French film industry did quite well this decade (even though many critics are complaining); for the Italian film industry, it was one more difficult period; the best movie, La Meglio Gioventù, was originally made for TV, and some of the more prestigious productions were failures, both commercially and artistically. On the other hand the Italians produced a few very nice smaller, more intimate productions, like Dopo Mezzanotte, La Sconosciuta or Pranzo di Ferragosto. It seemed a good decade for the German film industry, but I don’t know how the German themselves think about this. I know very little about Spanish or Portuguese films, so others have to pick the best examples.
These films also gave me a good time: Mulholland Drive, El Alamein, Hallam foe, Mystic River, Mesrine, United 93, Babel, 21 Grams, Beowulf & Grendel, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Passion of the Christ, A Bittersweet Life, Le Silence de Lorna, A Tale of Two Sisters, La Sconosciuta, Indigènes, The Proposition, 3.10 to Yuma, Appaloosa, The Wind that shakes the Barley, London River, Dossier K., De Indringer, Zwartboek (Black Book), Up, Toy Story I-III, Das Leben der Anderen, Gegen die Wand, Das Wunder von Bern, Der Untergang, The Constant Gardener, Elephant.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a handful of movies, so the decade wasn’t that bad after all.
(Oh, and for me the decade means 2001-2010)