Dancer in the Dark was far and way both the most loved and hated film experience of 2000. Lars Von Trier’s sadistically brutal look at one woman’s foray from poverty into blindness was an epic work of disturbing beauty, while Bjork made her first and likely final appearance as an electrifying lead actress of shockingly subtle accuracy. Von Trier utilized the intimate immediacy of digital video and Dogma 95 politics to offer up what was surely the most affecting work of film this year for those who had the stomach to tolerate its relentless darkness.
Requiem for a Dream ^ While Darren Aronofsky’s last indie-hot flick “Pi” hypnotized audiences through its jarringly dead-on reconstruction of what it’s like to be a disturbed mind, Requiem hit hard again at the same pressure points in the minds of three drug addicts. Most daring was not Aronofsky’s fetishization of a rotting shot-up arm, but his endlessly focused eye on an aging woman awash in a sea of drugs and loneliness. The potent combination of Aronofsky’s brilliantly hyper-kinetic visual style and a perfect performance by Ellen Burstyn made Requiem a potent film cocktail.
American Psycho ^ The ingeniousness of American Psycho was not just that it showed what happens when a young man decides to get busy with some prostitutes and a chainsaw, but that it made you want to laugh while you watched it. Christian Bale’s fabulous transformation into a big-city money pusher gone terribly awry somewhere between eggshell and ecru was both a beautiful indictment of all things material and a profoundly fascinating look inside a male ego gone terribly, violently out of control. And, it was all directed by a woman–Mary Harron.
Quills ^ The only thing bad to say about Quills is that if its lead actor, Geoffrey Rush, by playing the Marquis de Sade, who fairly invented sexual spanking, is denied an Oscar because of said character’s naughty preoccupations, it will be a sad day in movies indeed. Philip Kaufman’s peek inside the cell and cranium of the Marquis as he sits rotting in a prison while dastardly engaging those religious and nubile around him made for one of this year’s great film experiences. Fundamentally, the movie is truly about the act of creation and teaches everyone that sometimes writing on the walls in your own feces is better than not writing at all.
Cremaster 2 ^ Probably one of the most overlooked of the year, Cremaster 2 was the latest installment in the Cremaster series from art-movie stud Matthew Barney. While what exactly Cremaster 2 was about was never all that clear, it’s beautiful Utah vistas and bucking bull-rides combined with Norman Mailer as Houdini and Barney as Gary Gilmore to result in an undeniably ravishing look at the inarticulatable state of being male. With Cremaster’s title being a reference to the male genitalia itself, and props from Cremaster 2 touring the country in museum’s, Barney’s insistence on using film as art to dissect the male body is particularly wonderfully precient.
Get the rest of Susannah Breslin’s list of the BEST MOVIES OF 2000>>>