Best director of the naughts. Certainly not an obvious choice but I think it’s Steven Soderbergh. For these reasons…
He directed two masterful, experimental epics to bookend the decade: “Traffic” and “Che”. One small masterpiece: “Bubble.” One truly great studio film: “The Informant!” Terrific avant-garde indie: “The Girlfriend Experience.” Decent to high-quality studio fare: the three Ocean’s films, particularly the first two. Cerebral studio re-make: “Solaris.” Mainstream, albeit underwhelming, studio film: "Erin Brockovich. High-quality indie (technically released in 1999): “The Limey.” A couple of questionable missteps, one of the indie variety (“Full Frontal”), the other studio (“The Good German”).
But here are some remarkable facts: from 1999 – 2009, Soderbergh directed FOURTEEN feature films in just about every genre imaginable short of musicals and westerns (although “The Limey” certainly feels like a western). He directed ten hour-long episodes of an HBO series (“K-Street”), directed a short film (“Equilibrium” for the film “Eros”), and miraculously handled the cinematography for all but two of these films (“The Limey” and “Brockovich”) under the pseudonym “Peter Andrews.” Oh, and he won a directing Oscar, deservedly so, for “Traffic.”
An absolutely unparalleled resume for the last decade. While a few of these films were admittedly poor, it is Soderbergh’s sheer output that is astounding to consider. There were better directors who made superior films, yes… but no other director was as committed to exploring style and narrative and genre on his own terms than Soderbergh.
Watchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get responses. This thread has already happened.
I like Soderbergh and your argument is better than the last guy’s, but I don’t see him in the same category as Weerasethakul, HHH, or Haneke. Not even Gus Van Sant!