9. Before Sunset
Richard Linklater's 2004 sequel to his 1995 classic romantic drama Before Sunrise sees estranged one-night lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) running into each other in Paris nine years after their initial tryst.
Ingeniously, Linklater decides to have the movie take place over an 80-minute real time reunion between the two, imposing an urgent time limit on their meeting before Jesse has to catch a flight home to his unhappy married life in America.
As the two walk around Paris and catch up, it's clear that neither is content with their lot and that their prior feelings for one another are still there.
As the film gets closer to its end-point, both the characters and the audience are anxiously waiting to see what will happen. Of course, in the final scene, Jesse concedes that he's going to miss his plane.
Considering how difficult it is to mine true tension out of character-driven romance, Linklater's work with the real time format here is nothing short of miraculous.