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It can be hard to evaluate the best films of the 2010s, when every damn year of the decade, especially from 2015 onward, have felt like ten years unto themselves. But movies, as ever, offer respite from that chaos. It’s been a decade that has offered impressive new voices in film and given different voices bigger platforms. Names like Jordan Peele, Ava DuVerney, Ryan Coogler and more have opened up important ideas to wider audiences, while also delivering top class entertainment. Long-term talents, from Scorsese and Soderbergh to Bong Joon-ho,  Todd Haynes and Katheryn Bigelow, have changed with the times and done great work, even when it hasn’t been their defining masterpieces, these greats have produced films that audiences have latched onto and continue to engage with in interesting ways, our often noxious online discourse still providing the opportunity to grow cultural conversation. Still, that noxious shite can make even the most ardent film lover never want to talk about cinema again, and the last ten years have seen too many unwinnable bullshit battles waged by people determined to keep their beloved franchises for themselves only, or draft movies, sometimes at random, into the unending culture wars.

Netflix have changed the game completely for film distribution and audience engagement in ways we still haven’t fully processed since 2010, for better and worse, what even counts as a “film” and how we see them have been altered forever. After a relatively wobbly start to the 21st century that now seems impossible, Disney have become a monster in the 2010s, consuming one of the great film studios in the last year in Fox, reshaping history as they see fit, flooding and fixing the market, threatening all the positives in the paragraphs above. 80% of the box office is simply too much for one studio to hold, and cinema as an art form is at risk if the 2020’s continue to allow expression to be supressed in the name of expansion.

You can see some of what’s at stake in some of the great Irish films that have come out this decade, both on screen and off. Wonderful work has been done with local cinema thanks to collaboration with fellow European studios, and great films that in decades past only Irish eyes would have been watching have warmly received worldwide. Check out our Best Irish Films of the Decade list, coming soon, for some of the best of our country’s cinema. More of that in the times ahead of us please, especially for this website’s sake. There are always challenges, but without the vibrant cinema scene that has continued to grow in this country, Film In Dublin would never have started. With that in mind, it’s a good time to delve into some of our writer’s personal favourites of the decade, our Best Movies of the 2010s.

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Director: Martin Scorsese Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Stephen Graham, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Harvey Keitel, Kathrine Narducci Running Time: 210 minutes

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There is a moment, deep in the runtime of The Irishman where Robert De Niro’s Frank Sheeran, a man decades in  service to the mafia, tries to talk Al Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa out of going past a point of no return, Hoffa invoking the wrath of the mobsters he’s found himself in league with. It’s a key communication, a warning to a close friend to put aside his pride and stubborness in the face of certain death, a plea for cooler hands to prevail in a genre where they never do, as well as an internal clash of Sheeran’s loyalties and his warped sense of duty. The words, to say the least, don’t come easy. Sheeran is unable to conjure more than loaded stock phrases and inneundo, a sad Johnny Tightlips mumbling that “it is what it is”. In the mafia, you never say what it actually is, threats and confessions alike meant always to be dangled just out of reach, and the great Martin Scorsese’s pensive reflection of decades of crime shows how these delusions and denials erode a man from the inside over time. Weaving through the histories of these stubborn criminals, The Irishman lays bare just how hollow their power and legacies ultimately are, gently but firmly.”You don’t know how fast time goes by until you get there,” says Frank and the story of how gets there and what is left of him when he does is one of Scorsese’s finest in years. A slow, sad reflection of the past.

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