Author: Jurgen Muller
Taschen have over the years been publishing this series of books that take a look at the decades of cinema; listing each year therein and highlighting some of the standout films of each year. Jurgen Muller has been at the helm of this project all along and now brings us up to date with the 2000’s edition.
As with previous decade editions there is a wide spread of films here looked at from Blockbusters (Pirates of the Caribbean; The Harry Potter Series, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), Anime (Finding Nemo; Spirited Away; Wall-E; Up), Comic Book Movies (The Dark Knight; Sin City; Iron Man; A History of Violence) Oscar bait (Million Dollar Baby; The Departed; Brokeback Mountain; The King’s Speech; The Hurt Locker; Slumdog Millionaire) and Independant features (Amelie; The Royal Tennenbaums; Sideways; In Bruges). This is still just skimming the surface. There are at least a dozen or so examples for each year.
The books opening takes an elongated look at the Coen Brother’s No Country for Old Men which itself is a blend of the above categories: A fascinating study of a film that by many standards needs a couple of viewings to get to full grips with. This film may get the longest page extent 0- but it sets the tone for how Muller approaches and views cinema within the context of the entire book. Each film get’s their piece – each lusciously designed with stills from the film over a black backing. The text itself is all meat with no fat.
The book is designed to give you a flavour of the decade’s best from around the world. There is no time for listing every film that year, or even highlighting the poor quality that perhaps some years had delivered. This is more of a time capsule (albeit a heavy one) that can be dug up for people to realize what we were good at within the time it covers.
Is there anything questionable about this book? Why yes of course. I found it odd that Christopher Nolan’s Inception; a highly intelligent Blockbuster (which is a rare thing these days) should go amiss. And also perhaps the inclusion of the likes of Due Date which is a real ugly duckling amongst the bunch. But it can be argued that Todd Phillips make a bit of a stamp on American comedy cinema with his films in this decade (but perhaps The Hangover is a more significant example).
Those couple of irks aside and you have a volume that slips nicely in with the previous releases (of which you may want to also check out). The book gets as academic as it can when it can, but is more of a collector’s item in terms of reading pleasure. Owning a few myself now, I can say that standard is there throughout and they are well worth having on your shelf. A large part goes down to Taschen’s design. Bravo.