Did You Understand These?
The level of bafflement and discussion is rarely seen in nowadays movies, as film makers feel the need to spoon-feed us in the belief that we are mindless drones ready to consume anything that does not require any brain power. But, movie has a great legacy of perplexing audiences by serving up inaccessible pieces of entertainment that seem to both challenge and enthrall us with their mystery. In honor of this great tradition we have looked back at some of the most confusing films in recent memory. Each of these movies has fueled hours of discussion but for the most part continue to bewilder us all and keep us coming back hoping we will finally solve the puzzle, but maybe some questions are never meant to be answered. Let us know if there are any films we missed out on.
# 10 Primer
The twisted tale of backyard time traveling becomes so convoluted that even after several viewings you’ll find yourself wondering what just happened. I know that I’ve give up of understanding this movie!
# 9 Don’t Look Now
Great film but can someone explain the ending? I’ve found so many comments on net for this movie and decide to watch it – call me stupid but I didn’t figure it out what happens at the end. I’ve heard many theories but none that really make any sense.
# 8 Southland Tales
This apocalyptic movie is from the director of Donnie Darko, I might be alone here but I loved it. I’ve seen it several times and still don’t fully understand what’s going on, but love it anyway.
# 7 I Heart Huckabees
This philosophical comedy needs to come with a reading pack, you know, something like “viewers instruction”. The philosophies that are central to the plot in I Heart Huckabees are existentialism and nihilism and absurdism. Existentialists believe that the only meaning in human existence is to exist, so they embrace their existences and create their own meanings for their lives. Nihilists believe that there is no meaning to existence, and any attempt to create meaning is also meaningless because there is no meaning. Absurdists believe that there may be meaning, but humans will never be able to know it, so it’s a 50/50 chance that trying to create your own meaning in your life is worth it.
# 6 Vanilla Sky
Lazy plotting or confusing? You decide. I don’t like T.Cruise, but in this movie I don’t like him even more! There is no answer to what this movie is about, but instead, questions are answered with more questions about what it all means. Which, in my opinion, is way more frustrating than just being unsure of what is going on.
# 5 Synecdoche, New York
My friend said to me that this is really good movie, but I didn’t get it – there, I said it. Just… simply, I didn’t understand it.
# 4 The Matrix Revolutions
I don’t know if I didn’t get what was happening or was so disappointed by the Messiah subtext of this final chapter that I chose to dismiss it as simply confusing. Either way a horrible way to finish a great series. Btw, Matrix (first part)is one of my favorite movies of all time!
# 3 Mulholland Drive
and any other David Lynch film
I love Lynch but I have long given up (since Twin Peaks) working out what his films are about and just sit back and enjoy the disturbingly hypnotic ride.
# 2 Donnie Darko
The director’s cut unnecessarily clarified many questions but my theory is that the film makes perfect sense if every time they mention time travel, they’re actually talking about a parallel universe. Thoughts?
# 1 2001: A Space Odyssey
The film does make more sense after several viewings and catching up on forty years of discussion but I have yet to meet someone who got it on their first viewing. The confusing film by which all are judged. In the middle of this wonderful film occurs a 15 minute interlude of psychedelic colors and strange music (not unlike a Windows screen saver). What the hell Kubrick was thinking no one will ever know – but despite the bizarre aspects to this film, he will be forever remembered for giving us some of the best (and most true to life) pictures of what life in space might really be like.
I can give you few more movies that I didn’t really understand after several views, but I really enjoy them. Just like the examples:
- A Clockwork Orange
Set in the futuristic 1995 (It was filmed in 1971 by the late Stanley Kubrick), A Clockwork Orange follows the extremely delinquent Alex DeLarge as he leads his gang of friends on ultra-violent adventures, which include beating up old men, raping women, and basically anything horrible that you could imagine someone doing to another being. After being convicted of murder, he is sentenced to 14 years in prison, but after a couple years, he makes a deal that will get him on parole. He agrees to take part in experimental aversion therapy that the government believes will help neuter criminals, but will the future of that society be better when the government dictates what morality is to the citizens within it and enforces their version of morality?
- Fight Club
Many people say “Well, I read the book, and when I saw the movie, I wasn’t confused at all!” Well, that’s because you read the book before you saw the movie based on the book, while others (including me) only saw the movie based on the book. Most of the confusion this movie creates is solved by the end, except for the very end, which is hard to understand because of how the dark the scenes are, as well as the massive head wound Edward Norton’s character, a man suffering from a split-personality disorder, inflicts upon himself with a gun. By physically pulling the trigger, he mentally exterminated his second personality. He survives because he shoots himself through the cheek, avoiding any important organs or veins.
Is it a nightmare or an actual view of a post-apocalyptic world? Set in an industrial town in which giant machines are constantly working, spewing smoke, and making noise that is inescapable, Henry Spencer lives in a building that, like all the others, appears to be abandoned. The lights flicker on and off, he has bowls of water in his dresser drawers, and for his only diversion he watches and listens to the Lady in the Radiator sing about finding happiness in heaven. Henry has a girlfriend, Mary X, who has frequent spastic fits. Mary gives birth to Henry’s child, a frightening looking mutant, which leads to the injection of all sorts of sexual imagery into the depressive and chaotic mix.