9. Sin Nombre
I saw this film early in 2009, but it has managed to stay with me. In case you missed it the first time, check out my full length review of the film. Basically this film is a gritty, violent, movie about gangsters and illegal immigrants with themes of love, loss, and redemption. If that doesn't sell you, I don't know what will.
This is one of the movies I'm most passionate about this year because it is far too under seen. Not only that, but Sam Rockwell delivers one of the best performances of the year, and it is a huge mistake that he is not nominated for an Oscar. Again, not enough people saw it. In addition to the performance(s), the special effects are pretty awesome for the budget, in fact, I think Moon did more with its $5 million than District 9 did with its $30 million. It's on BluRay and DVD now, so check it out now. To read me gush over this film some more, check out my review from earlier this year.
Speaking of foreign films I saw early in the year, I saw Gomorrah all the way back in April and it continues to demand my thoughts, even though I haven't re-watched it since. This is essentially Goodfellas, but stripped of all the romanticism of mob life. The fact that it is so closely based on reality is even more disturbing and captivating. It was released recently on Criterion BluRay and is available on Netflix Watch Instantly. Obviously I highly recommend it, and also recommend you read my review after seeing the film and let me know if you agree or disagree.