The 20 Best Movies of the Year 2000
We were all wondering what would happen to the medium in the new millennium as cinema was 104 years old by 1999. The year 1999 has been considered one of the most important years in film history, and it can be argued that the style and formal importance of ’99 bled into the year 2000.
The action movie was given epic status with Gladiator, bringing back director Ridley Scott, who had not worked in the movie in a decade. The post-Matrix cinematography and visual effects gave us blockbusters like The Perfect Storm and X-Men.
Nurse Betty and Meet the Parents were both comedies that were awkward and dark, while The Emperor’s New Groove and How the Grinch Stole Christmas were more family-friendly. The studios that rely on effects and big names are not always a good bet, as evidenced by the films that were made with John Travolta and Robert Zemeckis.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable was a film that attempted to build on his status as a cutting-edge filmmaker. We were able to say goodbye to some of cinematic history‘s greatest talents when Walter Matthau, Richard Farnsworth, John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, and Jason Robards passed on.
The year 2000 saw some important genre- and career- defining works for many directors worldwide despite the technological advancement, Hollywood blockbusters, and overall fare that each year produces cinematically. The directors from the 90s at the prestigious Sundance Institute continued to make great films, while the overseas talent showed the West how great they are.
The soundtrack of many films of the year is a result of the work of independent artists who created labors of love that are still talked about today.
There is a lot to cover, so here are twenty picks from the year 2000.
1. Christopher Nolan’s film, Memento.
Christopher Nolan introduced the world to him through his second effort, Memento. Nolan’s neo-noir Following was made a couple of years after his independent release, and it was a success because it kept the mystery hidden from the viewer until the very end.
The film is shot in black-and-white and in color and follows Leonard Shelby, a former insurance investigator who suffers from short-term amnesia after being attacked in the middle of the night. Leonard can’t remember the exact events of the attack, but he can remember that the attackers raped and murdered his wife.
Leonard uses his tactics as an insurance investigator to find the men who sent his life into a downward spiral, and he also uses tattooing clues onto his body to find the men. Leonard has a dark connection with a bartender named Natalie, who he teams up with as he goes along.
Leonard tries to figure out the mystery surrounding his wife’s death while trying to get as many clues as he can out of Teddy and Natalie until the truth is finally revealed.
The film opens with Leonard killing Teddy in cold blood, which adds to the mystery of the plot as soon as it gets underway. The film’s black-and-white segments propel the film forward, which is what keeps the storyline linear. The mystery of Leonard Shelby becomes clearer to us as viewers, while still remaining one step ahead of the audience through its excellent handling of narrative dissection.
Nolan borrows from fifty years of mystery stories. Guy Pearce plays a confused and sometimes bumbling man with a mental condition in the film, rather than the sleek Philip Marlowe of the film noir years.
The story has elements of several films, including Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Laughton’s Night of the Hunter, and David Fincher’s Se7en. Christopher Nolan’s credibility as a master storytellers is given by his brother Jonathan Nolan who wrote the short story that is the basis of the film. The success of Memento was due to its style and application of narrative mystery, and was the first Nolan project that bend the ordinary.
2. Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu is the author of Amores perros.
The network narrative of Mexican life following chaos is an amazingly-layered look into the lives of the rich, the poor, and the disillusioned.
The plot of the movie is divided into three parts, each with something to do with the accident, whether they were in close proximity to it or if they were responsible for it, but the camera follows each one in lengthy segments.
The dog theme of each story connects the characters in a way that shows loyalty and disunity among humans.
Octavio is a low-level street hood who takes up dogfighting in order to get his brother to marry him. The relationship between Valeria and Daniel is the second story. Valeria is the victim of the film and must stay at home while she heals. Things get worse when her dog escapes into a hole in the floor and refuses to come out.
Valeria and Daniel have a heated relationship that raises questions about why they are together. The third and final segment is about El Chivo, a vagrant who witnessed the car accident at the beginning.
El Chivo is a hitman with revolutionary ties, but he is also a former teacher. He is caring for a pack of stray dogs in an abandoned warehouse in the city and trying to connect with his long- lost daughter. The themes of love, loss and murder are connected by a savage view of everyday life.
The rule of threes would become a theme for the films of Irritu, even though this was his first film, and his focus on inner turmoil and squalor has been a trait of all his works.
Amores perros is a perfect place to start. Amores perros helped get the ball rolling for talent outside of North America by helping to make world cinema a thing.
3. The film is called Requiem for a Dream by Aronofsky.
After taking cult scenes by storm with his debut, Aronofsky released his adaptation of the 1978 novel of the same name in 2000. Danny Boyle did the same thing with Trainspotting five years ago, showing the horrors of addiction. Aronofsky has no redemption in sight as the addiction that is creeping around everywhere like a spectre and no one comes out unscathed, is his approach.
A group of Brooklyn youths in the Coney Island area are shown in a movie to get addicted to heroin, partying, love, and hope, in a funerary tale. Ellen Burstyn was the best performer in the movie, but it was not due to the performances of Leto, Connelly, and Wayans.
Sara suffers from a psychological blow that is of no real fault of her own, as the younger characters get mixed up in drug abuse and dealing. She was told by a talent agency that she had won a contest and would be appearing on a television show at an unknown date. She wants to appear on television in the same red dress she wore to her son’s graduation many years ago.
Sara is referred to a dietician who prescribes a diet to lose the weight that she is too large for. These are mixed with her own hopes and dreams and they become an unbearable mixture of torment that begin to parallel the trials and struggles of her drug-addicted son and his friends.
The film is amazing to look at, with the postcard images of Coney Island and some cutting-edge cinema vérité-style handheld and steadicam shots, making it a film that will make you want to watch it again.
The film was well-received by the adolescent crowd. Clint Mansell’s haunting score has carried this film’s reputation over the past decade and a half. The film’s narrative is followed by his composition “Lux terna”, which has different alterations of the requiem-like nature of the score.
It has been used in many films and commercials. This film is loaded with excellent performances from main stars and bit parts alike, and it is also a film that has yet to be topped.
4. Code Unknown is a film by Michael Haneke.
Code Unknown, Haneke’s first film in France, revealed a detailed network narrative of European miscommunication and xenophobia. Code Unknown explores racism and family values through slow-flowing stories and complex camera work.
The title Code Unknown: Incomplete Tale of Several Journeys is already being used by the audience to prepare them for a film with no resolution. The four journeys shown at the beginning of the film are in one long fluid handheld take. A couple walk down the street and make fun of a beggar.
A fight ensues when a Malian immigrant defends a vagrant. The police arrest immigrants who are victims instead of Parisians who are victims and result in deportation, beating, and shaming. The segments follow those involved in the misunderstanding and look into their domestic lives.
Haneke uses dynamic cinematography, which is usually long static shots and images of television screens, and this one is his most conceptual, and any fan of Haneke would praise his use. The camera moves through chaotic scenes and captures the faces and demeanors of people. Haneke goes through motions to represent the caught twitch andwrinkle in many scenes.
A character on the Paris metro takes portraits of everyday people without their knowledge, using a switch-operated camera to capture the expressions and demeanors of society in general. The classic television shots are there, but most of the time the TVs are turned off and the reflections on the TV monitors are what you see.
Code Unknown is a masterpiece of film language and is complemented by amazing performances from Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic and Ona Lu Yenke, it is similar to the works of Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky.
5. Christopher Guest was the best in show.
Christopher Guest is a comedian. His cult hits This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman have been well-known and his relationship with his regular cast of characters is rock solid. Best in Show is one of his funnier and more believable films.
The film shows a dog show. The film follows five of the show’s entrants: a goofy Florida couple, a Chicago married couple, a trophy wife, and a Southern yokel.
Each has a dog that is very similar to the other entrant and that leads to tension and much laughter between the two dogs before the show starts.
The plot points show the ridiculousness of each character and their drive to win the competition. Cookie Fleck was quite the hussy back in the day, and the Swan’s infighting creates anxiety for their dog, and it turns out that Cookie and her husband were surprised.
Each character is familiar with the audience and captures the emotions and behaviors of the show.
Christopher Guest has a troupe of regulars that are found in the film, including Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Michael McKean, as well as guest himself, who performs his characters with trademark goofiness and seriousness. It feels like a real documentary and Christopher Guest is at his best.
6. George Washington and David Gordon Green are related.
The heyday of American independent film projects surrounding Robert Redford’s prestigious Sundance Film Academy and the film festival it annually produces was at its peak by the year 2000.
The Sundance Kids, a group of popular independent filmmakers from the previous decade, had films released in 1999 and 2000
Aronofsky received critical praise for his film, “Requiem for a Dream”, while David Gordon Green made independent films with unknown actors. George Washington is a gothic Southern tale that is similar to Malick-esque gothic Southern tales like Badlands and Larry Clark’s Kids.
The film has a very toned-down script and masterful handheld cinematography, and it contains virtually unknown actors. The film was a success, even though it was not widely seen at the time of its release.
The film is narrated by a character named Nasia, a twelve-year-old girl from a small North Carolina town with a tight knit group of friends. She breaks up with her boyfriend Buddy for George who is a slower and more zen-like person.
The film focuses on the activities of the children and young adults living together in this town, and this is a mere footnote. It becomes a more introspective drama as the characters come to terms with sudden shock and loss, as it falls into darker Southern gothic territory near the film’s middle.
George Washington helped to introduce the world to David Gordon Green’s Malick-inspired style and helped to fuel the auteur’s further projects.