Jinn's 100 Films of the 2010s

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A system of cells interlinked
65. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011, dir. Sean Durkin)





A claustrophobic look at cult psychology and its lingering after-effects. Stark to the point of hypothermia, it's a much deeper, empathetic and rewarding viewing than some of the other similar films, like Sound of My Voice or The East, and likely more fun than whatever island resort that Jared Leto is currently trying to lure the disposably affluent to.


HM: Room (2015) is a powerful drama which I don't feel is necessarily helped by the wraparound hostage plot. On the sheer matter of the psychology, the examination of clinical depression, it could stand on its own without such a criminal conceit.
I think I watched this as a double feature along with 2014's Faults, another little-known film about cults. I recall liking both, but should probably revisit both films.

I take it from your additional commentary here that you are not a Brit Marling fan?
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I take it from your additional commentary here that you are not a Brit Marling fan?
Nothing against her, I had forgotten her involvement in The East, and her other film I remember was Another Earth?, I think? Which was OK, Sound of My Voice was OK. Not super impressed yet but I haven't written her off or anything.


Haven't heard of Faults, but I'll check it out.
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Ya know, I generally agree with you on that point but I did think he was very good in Wind River so I've started to accept him.
Haven't seeen that one yet, but I've been very hit or miss on Taylor Sheridan.



I compare it to Zero Dark Thirty, another military thriller that could have been so rote in the hands of someone who is skillful but not an artist.
Hmm. I thought that Zero Dark Thirty was pretty dern rote.



H
Hmm. I thought that Zero Dark Thirty was pretty dern rote.
Wow.



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Outside of the tense extended raid sequence, I thought the film was a bore.


And I'm not denying that the fact of its ethically and morally dubious account of torture has something to do with my repulsion. This is adequetely portrayed in 2019's The Report (a much better intelligence procedural) which reflects the journalistic evidence that the film was intended to pre-emptively sway public opinion prior to the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA torture program, which the ZDT dishonestly portrays as being responsible for catching Osama bin Laden.


Some of you may not care about the politics, but I can't abide propaganda designed to support and normalize the violation of human rights. Mark Boal is an immoral shill.



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62. Meek's Cutoff (2010, dir. Kelly Reichardt)





One of the best westerns of the decade, and one closer to New Hollywood realism, absent the more romantic notions of frontier life that has become a glossy given in American mythology. Meek, himself, may be an overly one-dimensional foil, but the ensemble acting leads a lot more authentic credence to the slow decent into savagery.



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61. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018, dir. Coen Brothers)





Speaking of romantic myths of the American West, here's an anthology devoted to dismantling them one by one. The film lost most people when it (*spoiler*) dispatches our hero in the first few minutes, easily the most fantastic and cartoonish myth. It's succeeded by increasingly brutal and unforgiving scenarios of greed and impudence (hallmarks of western ethics), and one of purely uncharitable tragic chance, before finally ending on a brilliant vignette (and a Coen Bros. career highlight) involving a carriage ride, the mercilessness of mortality, and the deeply human need to create myth and meaning in the face of the tragedy of an indifferent universe.



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60. Incendies (2010, dir. Denis Villenueve)





A similar dismantling of myths, this time concerning the vicious cycle of sectarian and religious strife in the Middle East, one that demands empathy and the cessation of senseless inherited hate. The film is too emotionally complex and provocative to come across as preachy as that sounds, but it finds its way to that destination anyway.



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59. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011, dir. Takashi Miike)





Miike's remake of the Kobayashi samurai classic isn't a visually startling (I did not see the 3D version, btw), but more profound as a character study. Miike is an extraordinary and prolific director who can be stylistically all over the place, and can easily fall right off the sylistic map (Yakuza Apolcalypse - holy horny toads!), but I chose this as his most affecting and powerful film.


HM: Miike's 13 Assassins from the same year, roughly a retread of Seven Samurai, is nearly as impresssive, and probably a lot more fun for casual viewers.



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58. Parasite (2019, dir. Bong Joon-ho)





Now known as the film that busted through the Asian Ceiling of Oscar acclaim, it may not be the very best of the recent renaissance of Korean cinema, but it is a perfect fit to be the one to kick down America's doors. Initially a spunky class comedy, it slips into darkness with a quickness by the halfway mark, and careens into chaotic terror. No one is spared from charges of hypocrisy here. After Carnage, this is one of three films that I can imagine would make Luis Bunuel proud. (The third will appear a bit higher.)



Meek's Cutoff is a film I greatly respected but didn't enjoy watching. It has since metastasized in my brain and is now a driving point reference in some of my own creations and I love it. The kind of film that just lingers with you supremely well.



Outside of the tense extended raid sequence, I thought the film was a bore.


And I'm not denying that the fact of its ethically and morally dubious account of torture has something to do with my repulsion. This is adequetely portrayed in 2019's The Report (a much better intelligence procedural) which reflects the journalistic evidence that the film was intended to pre-emptively sway public opinion prior to the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA torture program, which the ZDT dishonestly portrays as being reponsible for catching Osama bin Laden.


Some of you may not care about the politics, but I can't abide propaganda designed to support and normalize the violation of human rights. Mark Boal is an immoral shill.
I don't know about all that, despite being pretty political, but I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about the film and I thought it was masterful. I was really surprised Bigelow did not get another Best Director nom and I would have been comfortable with the film winning Best Picture.



61. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018, dir. Coen Brothers)





Speaking of romantic myths of the American West, here's an anthology devoted to dismantling them one by one. The film lost most people when it (*spoiler*) dispatches our hero in the first few minutes, easily the most fantastic and cartoonish myth. It's succeeded by increasingly brutal and unforgiving scenarios of greed and impudence (hallmarks of western ethics), and one of purely uncharitable tragic chance, before finally ending on a brilliant vignette (and a Coen Bros. career highlight) involving a carriage ride, the mercilessness of mortality, and the deeply human need to create myth and meaning in the face of the tragedy of an indifferent universe.
I have to rewatch this one. I knew it would be a challenge with its structure and I liked most of it but **** it was depressing and I didn't leave totally satisfied.



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I don't know about all that, despite being pretty political, but I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about the film and I thought it was masterful.
This is what is so insidious about propaganda. They understand that popular opinion is far more influenced by popular culture than it is by journalism. They can permeate public perception like osmosis, to where if you were to ask a random person today about the efficacy of torture, they would be far more likely to cite something like ZDT or 24 as proof that torture is effective, despite the broadly reported front page coverage that it definitely is not. Clearly one of these things had more influence than the other, and not about an arcane matter of foreign policy but involving a 180-degree distortion of established fact regarding war crimes. This was intentional. The CIA knew the Senate report would be released (they had already hacked their committee computers), and deliberately set out to pre-emptively sway public opinion on a crime they already knew they were guilty of committing and would eventually come to light. The entire film is a bad faith gesture and a pernicious lie. And there's evidence suggesting that Bigelow and Boal were aware of this. So is it any wonder that many people today "don't know about all that"?


I'm sorry, but the complete lack of integrity involved with ZDT trounces any possible technical merit it may have. The propaganda clearly worked, which is all the more reason to call it out.



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Hmmm, no "Boyhood". So how about A. Payne's "The Descendents"?
Ya killing me, John.



This is what is so insidious about propaganda. They understand that popular opinion is far more influenced by popular culture than it is by journalism. They can permeate public perception like osmosis, to where if you were to ask a random person today about the efficacy of torture, they would be far more likely to cite something like ZDT or 24 as proof that torture is effective, despite the broadly reported front page coverage that it definitely is not. Clearly one of these things had more influence than the other, and not about an arcane matter of foreign policy but involving a 180-degree distortion of established fact regarding war crimes. This was intentional. The CIA knew the Senate report would be released (they had already hacked their committee computers), and deliberately set out to pre-emptively sway public opinion on a crime they already knew they were guilty of committing and would eventually come to light. The entire film is a bad faith gesture and a pernicious lie. And there's evidence suggesting that Bigelow and Boal were aware of this. So is it any wonder that many people today "don't know about all that"?


I'm sorry, but the complete lack of integrity involved with ZDT trounces any possible technical merit it may have. The propaganda clearly worked, which is all the more reason to call it out.
I dunno, man, I didn't come away with any sense of the torture being a good thing. On the contrary, I came away with what I thought was a complex ethical question that I felt the main character struggled with all the way to the end and the audience was supposed to as well: it may have achieved the result, but is it ever worth it, is it ever acceptable? If it was pro-torture propaganda, which certainly doesn't seem like Bigelow's brand, it was lost on me.



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I dunno, man, I didn't come away with any sense of the torture being a good thing. On the contrary, I came away with what I thought was a complex ethical question that I felt the main character struggled with all the way to the end and the audience was supposed to as well: it may have achieved the result, but is it ever worth it, is it ever acceptable? If it was pro-torture propaganda, which certainly doesn't seem like Bigelow's brand, it was lost on me.
It's cool, Wools. We might have to agree to disagree. Besides the politics, its not my kind of movie.



Good call on Scruggs. I formally request a mini-list of your segment rankings (when you have time).



It's cool, Wools. We might have to agree to disagree. Besides the politics, its not my kind of movie.
I am comfortable with that, cheers.