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Best of 2001
Top 10 Movies

 
BY PETER RAINER
 

Waking Life: Richard Linklater turned collegial musing into art.
 

Amores Perros
This powerful epic by the prodigious young Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu marks the arrival of a vibrant talent. Lurid and raw, the Mexico City of this film won't be found in travel brochures.
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The Circle
Jafar Panahi's fervid drama about oppressed women in Iran is a poetic political indictment of a repressive society -- which may explain why it's been banned in Iran.
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The Gleaners and I
Agnès Varda's documentary about a French subculture of foragers is just as much about her catch-all, intuitive approach to filmmaking -- and life.
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Gosford Park
Robert Altman's best movie in years, a period murder-mystery set at an English estate, is satisfying as a whodunit but also as a whydunit that features a dream cast that includes Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, and Alan Bates.
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In the Bedroom
Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek play parents coping with the murder of their son in this nuanced and deeply moving directorial debut from Todd Field, who has a rare gift: He knows as much about life as he does about the camera.
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Our Lady of the Assassins
Barbet Schroeder's trancelike movie, in which a writer returns to his surreally violent hometown of Medellín, Colombia, in order to extinguish himself, is perhaps his best work ever.
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Sexy Beast
The finest nasty movie from England in years (and they know how to do nasty over there). The thugs in this movie really sound like thugs -- not some screenwriter's idea of how thugs sound. Ray Winstone is excellent as a retired crook baking his poundage in the Spanish sun; Ben Kingsley, as his former accomplice, is a cross between Iago and the Terminator.
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Shrek
Not just a terrific piece of computer animation but wised-up, laugh-out-loud funny, too. You may end up liking it even more than your kids do.
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The Tailor of Panama
John Boorman's adaptation of the John Le Carré political thriller is a dizzy mix of tones: a sort of slapstick Graham Greene. As the motor-mouthed, duplicitous tailor, Geoffrey Rush has never been better, which is saying something.
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Waking Life
Richard Linklater's film about a young dreamer and his linked, dream-time experiences was first shot in digital video and then "painted over" by computer artists; the result is amazingly fluid, sometimes even transcendent. Linklater has a great feeling not only for philosophical banter but also the amiable bull behind it.
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Photograph by Photofest.

 
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