20 Best Looking Movies Since 2000

The most jaw-dropping visuals of the 21st century.

There Will Be Blood
Paramount Vantage

The 21st century might be relatively young but already movie fans have seen the industry embrace a number of innovations which have changed the way we look at movies, giving filmmakers an increasing range of tools with which to present their visions.

Not all of these innovations are entirely welcome. The resurgence of 3D in the wake of Avatar has caused as many headaches as dropped jaws, while the introduction of digital cameras has produced wildly varying results as cinematographers get to grips with the new technology.

IMAX has also made a welcome resurgence to mainstream filmmaking. Formerly the reserve of IMAX showpiece documentaries exploring the Amazon and the pyramids of ancient Egypt, now it's a standard format for most of the major tentpole blockbuster releases, expanding the canvas in ways previously unheard of.

These innovations have resulted in some of the best looking movies of all time, but at the same time some visual masterpieces of the current millennia prove that good old film stock can still deliver the goods when it comes to beautiful movie imagery.

20. Dunkirk

There Will Be Blood
Warner Bros.

Christopher Nolan is often accused of lacking emotional depth in his movies. While that's certainly open to debate, few can deny that he is one of the most capable directors currently working in Hollywood when it comes to delivering on the visuals.

Shot almost entirely in 65mm IMAX, Dunkirk's near real time account of the British evacuation in the early stages of the Second World War is a pleasingly authentic reproduction of events in which Nolan's attention to period detail is evident from the start. Better still, his continuing refusal to augment the crystal clear footage delivered by IMAX with CGI heightens the feeling of verisimilitude.

Dunkirk is perhaps Nolan's leanest film, eschewing character development in favour of a well paced account of the events as they unfolded, set to the insistent metronome-style tick tocking of Hans Zimmer's score.


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