The Times names Haneke’s ‘Caché’ the decade’s best

Posted by · 11:30 am · November 8th, 2009

Cache (Hidden)I’m not sure why the British broadsheets are all falling over themselves to publish their ‘best of the 2000s’ lists in early November, but mere days after The Telegraph critics declared Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” the film of the decade, The Times has weighed in with their own Top 100.

In their list, a different Michael comes out on top: Haneke’s cryptic and rather brilliant 2005 thriller “Caché” (or “Hidden,” if you prefer), which only came in at #44 on the Telegraph list, is their pick of the last 10 years. (Has that threat of a Ron Howard remake gone away yet?) I must say, I’m happier with that choice than the Moore film, which doesn’t even feature on The Times list.

That said, the lists’ objectives are different: The Telegraph aimed to gather the most significant films of the decade, disregarding aesthetic worth in some cases, while The Times has gone for a blunter ‘best films’ claim. Both lists are equally contentious and sometimes silly, as such group-think collectives tend to be. (“Team America” in the top 10 is an obvious attention-seeking ploy, but what of the British bias that places “Casino Royale” and “The Queen” similarly high?)

(More, and the Times Top 20, after the cut.)

Still, I’ll state a slight personal preference for The Times list, if only because it includes a few more films that I’m considering for my own list — which I’ll wait until the end of the year to offer — including one film not mentioned by The Telegraph that has a guaranteed place in my own top five. (No, I’m not telling.)

Of their own film of the decade, the Times critics say this:

It is only as the decade draws to a close that it becomes clear just how presciently the Austrian director Michael Haneke tapped into the uncertain mood of the Noughties. The film’s twin themes resonate perfectly with the defining concerns of the time: tacit national guilt about a questionable foreign policy, in the film it’s France’s occupation of Algeria, but it’s not hard to piece together the parallels with more recent conflicts. Plus, as round-the-clock surveillance became a part of our daily lives, here was a film that captured the creeping paranoia that resulted from the eyes of unseen strangers invading private life.

Check out the full list here (and the Telegraph list here). Their Top 20 is listed below:

1. “Caché” (Michael Haneke, 2005)
2. “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Paul Greengrass, 2004 and 2007)
3. “No Country for Old Men” (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
4. “Grizzly Man” (Werner Herzog, 2005)
5. “Team America: World Police” (Trey Parker, 2004)
6. “Slumdog Millionaire” (Danny Boyle, 2008)
7. “The Last King of Scotland” (Kevin Macdonald, 2006)
8. “Casino Royale” (Martin Campbell, 2006)
9. “The Queen” (Stephen Frears, 2006)
10. “Hunger” (Steve McQueen, 2008)
11. “”Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (Larry Charles, 2006)
12. “The Lives of Others” (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
13. “This Is England” (Shane Meadows, 2007)
14. “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
15. “Downfall” (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
16. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Michel Gondry, 2004)
17. “Brokeback Mountain” (Ang Lee, 2005)
18. “Let the Right One In” (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
19. “United 93” (Paul Greengrass, 2006)
20. “Donnie Darko” (Richard Kelly, 2001)

→ 39 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

39 responses so far

  • 1 11-08-2009 at 11:35 am

    James D. said...

    I just saw Caché for the first time a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t even call it Haneke’s best of the decade (The Piano Teacher).

  • 2 11-08-2009 at 11:45 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I respectfully disagree. (And “The Piano Teacher” never connected with me, staggering performances notwithstanding.)

  • 3 11-08-2009 at 11:51 am

    Me. said...

    What’s with all the “Borat” love?

  • 4 11-08-2009 at 11:52 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    You can expect Team America on my Top 100.

  • 5 11-08-2009 at 11:57 am

    James D. said...

    I saw The Piano Teacher the day after Caché (like everyone else, I am crunching for my decade list) and the former just resonates with me so much more. Other than the climactic suicide, I recall little from Caché.

    Me.: I loved Borat. If I can forget about Bruno, Borat just seems like such a fantastic critique of middle America.

  • 6 11-08-2009 at 12:00 pm

    Me. said...

    Sure James… but top 20 of the decade worthy? I think that’s too much.

  • 7 11-08-2009 at 12:00 pm

    tc said...

    1,3,10,14,17 would all potentially be in my top 10, so it isn’t too bad.

    As for Haneke, my favorite film of his is constantly changing between Cache, The Piano Teacher, and The 7th Continent. All masterpieces.

  • 8 11-08-2009 at 12:02 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Of the top twenty in The Telegraph and The Times’ lists, these films appear in both of them:

    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
    Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
    Brokeback Mountain
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    The Lives of Others
    Slumdog Millionaire

    Sort of interesting to see a consensus develop on these films (though I think with more time, the “magic” of Slumdog will fade), especially The Lives of Others, which I feared would be unjustly known as “the movie that stole Pan’s Labyrinth’s Oscar.” One of them is actually my #1 of the decade, but I’ll save that for when Kris exposes his list.

  • 9 11-08-2009 at 12:02 pm

    James D. said...

    Me.: Sure. It wasn’t even on my Top Ten of 2006, but there are many on the list I find more puzzling. I didn’t know ANYONE felt that strongly about The Last King of Scotland.

  • 10 11-08-2009 at 12:03 pm

    Me. said...

    This is my top 10 so far:

    10. Almost Famous
    9. Spirited Away
    8. The Triplets of Belleville
    7. Volver
    6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    5. Water
    4. Pan’s Labyrinth
    and then there’s a three way tie between
    Amélie, The Lord of the Rings, The Pianist

  • 11 11-08-2009 at 12:06 pm

    Cameron said...

    I’m shocked that Talk to Her isn’t in the top 10. Shocked and appalled.

  • 12 11-08-2009 at 12:09 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’m with James, actually. There are at least 6 films in that Top 10 that I think are lesser achievements than “Borat.”

  • 13 11-08-2009 at 12:11 pm

    James D. said...

    I haven’t begun to formulate my Top Ten yet, but a few films that I know will be in the discussion:

    You Can Count on Me, Elephant, The Pianist, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Che, The Best of Youth, Lost in Translation, L’Enfant.

  • 14 11-08-2009 at 12:14 pm

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Five minutes after I watched Cache I thought it was a masterpiece. But five minutes after that I realized it was stupid. The son’s schemes and games caused his own father to kill himself. Way to go.

    United 93, however, is a masterpiece. It’s one of the most important films of the last fifty years.

  • 15 11-08-2009 at 12:17 pm

    James D. said...

    United 93 was the best film of 2006, but I am afraid to watch it again because the emotional reaction will be blunted.

  • 16 11-08-2009 at 12:18 pm

    Me. said...

    Great choices with The Pianist, Lost in Translation and L’Enfant James.

  • 17 11-08-2009 at 12:19 pm

    tc said...

    “Five minutes after I watched Cache I thought it was a masterpiece. But five minutes after that I realized it was stupid. The son’s schemes and games caused his own father to kill himself. Way to go.”

    Might want to watch it again, if that’s what you got out of it.

  • 18 11-08-2009 at 12:20 pm

    Erik said...

    someone there really, really, really, REALLY likes Paul Greengrass… His last three films all appear in the top 20, coming in at 2, 2, and 19.

  • 19 11-08-2009 at 12:32 pm

    Maxim said...

    An inclusion of the loathsome and deeply shallow “Grizzly Man” authomatically makes this the WORST list of any kind I have ever seen. There is no getting around it as someone has to finally say it – UK press is not only the worst in the world, even their serious publications are absolute rubbish. Times is terrible and their film critics are afwul. The same goes for Guardian/Observer which never fails to make me angry regardless of what section I have to be reading.

    So no, I’m not basing my judgments just on their recent “lists”.

  • 20 11-08-2009 at 12:33 pm

    James D. said...

    Grizzly Man was shallow? I think it is one of the top documentaries of the decade.

  • 21 11-08-2009 at 12:42 pm

    John said...

    omg, I HATED ‘Cache’.

  • 22 11-08-2009 at 12:50 pm

    leocdc said...

    I didn’t like Cache….I saw it with all my family expecting something amazing and even it was incredibly well-constructed, I hate the ending that they come out… anyway maybe with a second view I hope I’d see it with other eyes…

  • 23 11-08-2009 at 12:53 pm

    han said...

    my decade’s best is gus van sant’s last days.

  • 24 11-08-2009 at 1:18 pm

    tc said...

    Wow, found this quote on the times site from Haneke: “Next I am making a film about ageing with Isabelle Huppert.” Very cool!

    And as for Van Sant, I’m more of a Gerry guy, which would likely appear on my top 10.

  • 25 11-08-2009 at 1:38 pm

    head_wizard said...

    well its a better list then the Telegraph but no way would Cache be my top movie, I agree with James, its not even Haneke’s best Piano Teacher is better and what is with the top ten? That is when the list got weaker? Team America? that would even get on a list of the top thousand movies for me.

  • 26 11-08-2009 at 1:38 pm

    geha714 said...

    The Lives Of Others is # 1 of the decade for me.

  • 27 11-08-2009 at 2:33 pm

    Mike said...

    The Times and I absolutely agree.

  • 28 11-08-2009 at 3:38 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    Uhh, James D., no spoiler alert before your “Cache” post? Tsk. You’re disgracing our name.

  • 29 11-08-2009 at 3:43 pm

    James D. said...

    Hey man, everyone and their sister has ruined An Education for me. Besides, Caché is old news.

  • 30 11-08-2009 at 4:02 pm

    Paul M. said...

    It’s a shame there’s no mention of “Revolutionary Road,” “Zodiac,” “Notes on a Scandal,” “Paranoid Park,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Sexy Beast,” “Best in Show,” and “I’m Not There,” which will probably all be in my top 100…

  • 31 11-08-2009 at 4:08 pm

    Maxim said...

    “Grizzly Man was shallow? I think it is one of the top documentaries of the decade.”

    I hated that film. Herzog basically raped another man’s legacy by ruling over his life. It was Hersog expressing his opinion and passing his judgements oven another person’s life.

    The way it was edited, sequenced and presented was simply hateful, as simple as that.

    And there wasn’t an ounce of insight in the whole thing. And the only reason why the movie was compelling at all why because of the footage shot by the poor guy himself! There was no need for Herzog to insert that much of himself into his “documentary”. He should have just showed us the footage in sequential order and let the audience decide for themselves whether the guy was actually a loser or a person who knew exactly what he wanted out of his life. The is exactly what he didn’t do and there is little objectivity in his narration as demonstrated by the narration near the end of the film and it’s exactly the reason why I don’t consider this to be anything orther than as Herzog’s vanity piece disguised as a documentary.

  • 32 11-08-2009 at 6:59 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Well, I certainly don’t agree with any of these ‘best of the decade’ lists so far. Especially not seeing The Assassination of Jesse James in the top 10.

  • 33 11-08-2009 at 7:18 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Interesting you say that, Maxim. I’ve never seen Grizzly Man (I know, the shame), but I got that exact same impression from Herzog’s butchering and fabrication of Eugene Debruitt in Rescue Dawn.

  • 34 11-08-2009 at 9:14 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Maxim- you are exactly correct that Herzog overtakes and overpowers Timothy Treadwell in Grizzly Man and makes the film all about himself. But I don’t see that as a debit to the film. It’s quite obvious that Herzog uses his documentaries to ponder his own questions of existentialism and he’s never anything but up front about it. He states his hypothesis at the beginning of the film so you either take it for what it is or complain about what it was never meant to be.

  • 35 11-09-2009 at 1:35 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Caché is a film that truly gets under your skin and doesn’t let go. Great film to watch? No. One that lasts? Yes.

    I almost wanted to stop reading the list when There Will Be Blood already apperaed at just #63. That was just crazy.

  • 36 11-09-2009 at 2:52 am

    Manuel L. said...

    Those Brits really know how to come up with weird choices…
    Here’s my top 10, for the moment:
    1. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
    2. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch)
    3. Mystic River (Clint Eastwood)
    4. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen)
    5. The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
    6. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu)
    7. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee)
    8. Capote (Bennett Miller)
    9. Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)
    10 (tie). The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik)
    10 (tie). The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)

  • 37 11-09-2009 at 7:49 pm

    Marvin said...

    Yi Yi, L’enfant, Volver and Children of Men are all mighty fine inclusions. There is lots of Almodovar, which is always good, no La mala educacion (Bad Education) though? To me that’s his defining film this decade, not having seen Los abrazos rotos yet of course.

    Hail Dancer in the Dark, a devastating experience if I ever had one. Also a fine musical!

    Terrible top 20 however, except for Brokeback.

  • 38 11-09-2009 at 10:25 pm

    The Dude said...

    Glad that United 93 is recognized in this list. Given the importance of 9/11 in world history and the trajectory Paul Greengrass’ career has taken him, you’d think this movie would be central in a discussion of the decade’s best, but I feel a lot of critics and media outlets forget this movie. Which is a shame…it’s a powerful piece of cinema, and well-made at that. I haven’t given any thought to a top 100, but if I WERE to make one United 93 would most likely be somewhere in my top 10 or 15.