With so many characters shoved in, it's no surprise that only a select few have any emotional lift. That said, the ones that do -- especially the ones played by Michael Fassbender -- prove to be powerfully intriguing.
Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.
Like the gladiators of old, 2008 resembles a battle of formidable acting gods, especially when looking over the 20 choices presented below. Indeed, if anything, choosing a winner requires more of a leap of faith than any amount of critical skill - they all were that good.
As cinema went completely commercial, abandoning art for artifice, true aesthetic acumen was hard to come by. Luckily, for the movies included herein, it was their difference, as well as their diversity, that helped them stand out from the rest of the high concept hackwork.