Top 10 Most Underrated Films of the 2000's

The 2000's saw the release of some fantastic films. These are the ones that no one bothered to watch. Today we're looking at films released between 2000 and 2009 that for some obscure reason have been overlooked or forgotten over the years and have all suffered from a modest box office performance or general lack of acknowledgement, despite their (with hindsight) obvious cinematic value. Films that are generally known by the public or have received good professional reviews are not included, such as 'The Prestige' (2006) and 'American Psycho'  (2000) etc.

10. 'Brick' (2005)

Directed by Rian Johnson and starring a young and subtle Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 'Brick' is one of the best thrillers of the decade, which no one saw. Playing out like a hard-boiled detective story set in high school, the film borrows heavily from classic noir stories in the vein of Dashiell Hammett and is every bit as entertaining and complex. It has a well-developed story with rich characters, and the high school setting provides a great modern twist on the old-school detective story. Today, it's a cult classic.

 

9. 'Narc' (2002)

Everyone loves a good, gritty cop drama, and 'Narc' is just that. Which begs the question: Why isn't it more popular? The film stars Ray Liotta and Jason Patric as two detectives who are trying to find the killer of an undercover police officer. The co-stars turn in electrifying performances, portraying the dirty, unethical cop figure with gusto and intensity. While critics praised the movie, in the US it only ever showed in fewer than 1000 theatres, and therefore did not reach a wide audience. It saw little recognition on video either, and eventually faded into obscurity.

 

8. 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' (2002)

Directed by George Clooney and with an all-star cast that includes Drew Barrymore, Julia  Roberts and Clooney himself, it really is a wonder why this movie never caught on. The film follows the biographical story of Chuck Barris, a game show host who claimed to be an assassin working for the CIA. The actors are all fantastic, most notably the perpetually underrated Sam Rockwell as Barris and the sets and cinematography captured the era perfectly. Mixing dark humour with intense drama, the film finds a perfect balance and a unique but sadly overlooked experience.

 

7. 'Watchmen' (2009)

This film has superheroes and a dark, complex story. What more could you want? The story follows a team of retired superheroes in an alternate history at the peak of the Cold War. Like director Zack Sneider's previous movie, '300' he adapted the graphic novel flawlessly and perfected its dark look for the screen. It's a visual masterpiece, featuring strong performances and an intriguing mystery. But it somewhat underwhelmed at the box office due to its towering length and controversially violent content.

 

6. 'I'm Not There' (2007)

Inspired by the life of timeless performer Bob Dylan, this film uses non-traditional techniques to achieve its distinctive feel. Many different actors portray the different facets of Dylan, including Heath Ledger and Christian Bale, but it's Cate Blanchett who steals the show, receiving an Academy Award nomination for her stellar performance. It's a weird and intimidating film, but it's all for the sake of artistic merit, and in that sense the film is flawless, Dylan even praised the movie and the actors in a Rolling Stone article, calling them incredible. So at the very least, it wasn't overlooked by its subject.

 

5. 'Treasure Planet' (2002)

This animated feature, as well as the overlooked 'Atlantis: The Lost Empire' (2001) played a hand in Disney's brief downfall during the early 2000's. Sometimes, the masses simply underappreciate great art in its time. A futuristic take on Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island', the film follows a young boy as he battles the elements of space to reach a prosperous planet. It's a visually wondrous film and while critics liked its sense of humour, excitement and pace, audiences didn't. The film only amassed 109 million dollars on a 140 million dollar budget, making it a financial bomb and ensuring the planned sequel was cancelled.

 

4. 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' (2005)

An overlooked classic in the crime/comedy genre, this film centres on a thief posing as a Hollywood actor who gets caught in the middle of a murder investigation. Co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer share terrific chemistry, and the movie features one of Downey Jr's    most overlooked roles as he is truly hilarious. The comedy is sharp and the action is gritty with the film blending so many genres together it becomes a biting satire on classic hard-edged stories.

 

3. 'Moon' (2009)

Another movie with another amazing performance by Sam Rockwell, 'Moon' is a grossly underrated science fiction film that attempts to tackle heavy themes and questions while looking great in the process. The movie follows an astronaut as he faces a crisis after being alone for three years on the moon. It's a dark and lonely film filled with elegant, spacious cinematography, but it's Rockwell's Oscar-snubbed performance that pulls at out heartstrings. It could be considered the next great sci-fi experience if people would actually watch it.

 

2. 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' (2007)

A unique title for a unique movie. It lets the audience know right away what they are getting into. The film tells the riveting story leading up to the historic killing of Jesse James. Starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, they become their characters through hypnotic performances, and the film is completed by memorably beautiful and desolate cinematography. It deserves a spot in the pantheon of great westerns but sadly it bombed at the box office and failed to make an impression.

 

1. 'The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou' (2004)

This film was written and directed by Wes Anderson and features all of his trademark quirkiness, eccentricity and originality. Which make for a fun, if awkward time. It's filled with terrific performances by an all-star cast, most notably, Bill Murray as Steve, a man who sets out to find the shark that killed his friend. While Wes is becoming more popular today, this movie proved too strange for audiences, receiving mixed reviews and bombing with a box office performance of only 35 million dollars.

 

So, do you agree with our list? Have we forgotten your favourite underrated film of the 2000's era? Which film should we add and which should we remove from the list? Drop us a line and let us know. And in the meanwhile, happy viewing!

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