30 Excellent Under-the-Radar Films (2005-Present)

This is a list I created of great films that you may have overlooked or let slip passed in the last 5 years. None of them have any superheros, transforming robots, or fancy CGI. If you're stuck one evening without a movie to watch, hopefully this list helps you pick one out.
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1.
The Fall (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances. (117 mins.)
Director: Tarsem
“ A beautiful film, with great imagination. Shot in 28 countries over the course of 4 years; Uses no CGI. ” - justin_philpott
 
2.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
“ Best film of 2012 so far...hands down ” - justin_philpott
 
3.
In Bruges (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be. (107 mins.)
Director: Martin McDonagh
“ Amazing. I am so angry this film gets overlooked so often. It defies classification. Its part comedy, thriller & crime-drama with traces of existentialism and atonement mixed in. Plus it was filmed in the beautiful medieval city of Bruges. ” - justin_philpott
 
4.
Mary and Max (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. (92 mins.)
Director: Adam Elliot
“ An animated film not made for young children? Hilarious in parts and extremely moving in others. It is a lot deeper than you originally think. I love Philip Seymour Hoffman as the voice of Max. ” - justin_philpott
 
5.
Ip Man (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense. (106 mins.)
Director: Wilson Yip
“ The cover says it right: The best martial-arts movie ever made. I don't usually like martial-arts films. The fight choreography is incredible. The Story is surprisingly good. It is based on the true story of the war between Japan and China in the 1930s. So there is also a history lesson included. ” - justin_philpott
 
6.
Little Children (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts. (136 mins.)
Director: Todd Field
“ Awesome film. I love the voice-over narration. Jackie Earle Haley is phenomenal in an Oscar nominated role. He plays a convicted pedophile recently released back into suburban life. ” - justin_philpott
 
7.
City Island (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The Rizzos, a family who doesn't share their habits, aspirations, and careers with one another, find... (104 mins.)
“ I have no idea why this film didn't make it to theaters? Andy Garcia's performance is great; the whole cast is great for that matter. It tells the all too common theme of a dysfunctional family with some creativity. ” - justin_philpott
 
8.
It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward. (101 mins.)
“ Not laugh-out-loud funny, but uplifting and heartfelt. Don't get me wrong, it is kind of funny as well. ” - justin_philpott
 
9.
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl. (99 mins.)
Director: Simon Curtis
 
10.
Animal Kingdom (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A seventeen year-old navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him. (113 mins.)
Director: David Michôd
 
11.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
 
12.
The Skin I Live In (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession. (120 mins.)
“ Not for the faint of heart. I would watch this one by yourself. Creepy beyond words. You'll be thinking about it for months after watching. ” - justin_philpott
 
13.
Beginners (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover. (105 mins.)
Director: Mike Mills
 
14.
Anonymous (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her. (130 mins.)
Director: Roland Emmerich
 
15.
The Orphanage (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend. (105 mins.)
Director: J.A. Bayona
 
16.
A Single Man (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles. (99 mins.)
Director: Tom Ford
 
17.
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later. (129 mins.)
 
18.
The Lookout (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Chris is a once promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist. (99 mins.)
Director: Scott Frank
 
19.
In the Valley of Elah (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq. (121 mins.)
Director: Paul Haggis
 
20.
The Counterfeiters (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The story of the Operation Bernhard, the largest counterfeiting operation in history, carried out by Germany during WWII. (98 mins.)
 
21.
Hesher (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young boy has lost his mother and is losing touch with his father and the world around him. Then he meets Hesher who manages to make his life even more chaotic. (106 mins.)
Director: Spencer Susser
 
22.
The Descent (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators. (99 mins.)
Director: Neil Marshall
 
23.
Everybody's Fine (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A widower who realized his only connection to his family was through his wife sets off on an impromptu road trip to reunite with each of his grown children. (99 mins.)
Director: Kirk Jones
 
24.
Catfish (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries. (87 mins.)
 
25.
The Debt (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them. (113 mins.)
Director: John Madden
 
26.
Moon (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems. (97 mins.)
Director: Duncan Jones
 
27.
Adam (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Adam, a lonely man with Asperger's Syndrome, develops a relationship with his upstairs neighbor, Beth. (99 mins.)
Director: Max Mayer
 
28.
The Mist (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A freak storm unleashes a species of blood-thirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives. (126 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
 
29.
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A photographer, Leon's obsessive pursuit of dark subject matter leads him into the path of a serial killer, Mahogany, the subway murderer who stalks late night commuters, ultimately butchering them in the most gruesome ways imaginable. (98 mins.)
 
30.
The Hunter (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Martin, a mercenary, is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger. (102 mins.)
Director: Daniel Nettheim