No one really knew what to do with themselves upon the release of Mulholland Dr. in 2001. David Lynch’s surrealist epic about the dark side of Hollywood, the nature of obsession and mud-monsters hiding behind dumpsters was immediately heralded as both his masterpiece and irritatingly confusing.
It continues to maintain both of these reputations, but it has now been bestowed with a seriously big accolade. The BBC has just named the film the best film of the 21st century.
The top-100 list was organized and created from a poll led by the BBC that culled the votes from a group of nearly 200 film critics located around the world. Lynch’s neo-noir easily led the pack, though it is joined by an impressive company in the top 10, including Hayao Miyazaki’s animated classic Spirited Away, Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic There Will Be Blood and the always-heartbreaking Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
A surprising number of recent films ranked high on the list, with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood making the top 10 cut and last year’s swashbuckling Mad Max: Fury Road placing higher than the usual critic’s fare of elitist arthouse flicks. The most represented directors on the list included Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan and the Coen Brothers, all of whom had three films place on the list.
The top 10 in numerical order are:
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007) 9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011) 8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000) 7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011) 6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004) 5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014) 4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) 3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) 2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000) 1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
For the complete list of the top 100 films of the 21st century and a breakdown of the ranking system, head over to BBC Culture.
For more classic film content, check out our guide to mastering the style of Stanley Kubrick.