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Top 10 Most Confusing Films

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I have watched quite a few films in my life, and the more I watch them, the more I wonder, what is the point? I mean, sure, there are plenty of movies that have obvious answers to your questions, but sometimes, a picture comes around that makes you ask more questions than the answers you receive. It’s these films that make or break a career. Some may be considered the greatest thing ever, and some may be considered the worst thing ever, but they’ll all end up making you scratch your head in. Warning: this list contains spoilers.

10

Fight Club

I had to put this on the list, not because it’s the most confusing movie ever, but because I fear the backlash did I not. My opinion? No. The reason is because I already knew the big twist of the movie when I came into it. That ruined the experience for me, but Edward Norton made up for that. Still, it is a confusing movie, and far superior to the same director, David Fincher’s Se7en. Anyone who has seen Fight Club appreciates its inclusion here. If you haven’t seen it – the last few moments will make you realize why it is here.

9

Donnie Darko

Walking talking rabbits, time travel, schizophrenia, bizarre therapy sessions – this film has it all. But the one thing it is missing is clarity. If you have seen this film you probably love it. Gyllenhaal gives a superb performance in what is definitely one of the most unusual films for its time. This is a must-see film – regardless of how difficult it is to understand.

8

Eraserhead

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.

7

Memento

This film is quite interesting. The set up is great because it’s a concept that seems to have never really been done before. The confusion of it all is in the fact that it’s told out of chronological order, due to the character’s short term memory loss. This is not the first film with disordered time (think Pulp Fiction) but unlike Tarantino’s masterpiece, Memento is firmly grounded in a mental problem. The confusion is not through artistic direction but through an aberration of the character’s mental state. If you haven’t seen this film please do. You won’t regret it.

6

Big Man Japan

A man known as Masaru Daisato has inherited the duty of protecting Japan against various monsters. He is able to grow several stories high, through the power of electricity. However, he is regarded as an outcast by his fellow citizens, and suffers under burden of a heroic heritage which overshadows his own less-than-shining accomplishments as a monster fighter. To make matters worse, in his personal life he is failing as well as both a father and a grandson. In the end, his failures and doubts reach a hallucinogenic apotheosis. Now you know why this film deserves a place on this list.

5

The Shining

Two film makers stand out as the masters of the unusual – Kubrick and David Lynch. This is a definite cult classic and while Stephen King may not have been impressed, Kubrick managed to take a fairly typical horror story and turn it into a bizarre film – and while you may not think about it upon first watching, it definitely is bizarre. There is very little dialogue, and what you see leads itself to many different interpretations. Frankly, how normal is a film that includes a lift spewing blood?

4

Mulholland Drive

David Lynch has made some straight forward films, but then there are films like this – the work for which he will be always remembered. This movie gets a lot of credit for being really confusing and it is no wonder – even Lynch doesn’t know what it means! Characters are played by multiple Actresses, an insane amount of identity issues occur, and theories suggest that the first 3/4′s of the film are all just a dream sequence. Twin Peaks was Lynch’s great TV show, and even though this was going to be Twin Peak’s successor, instead it came out in movie format, and so any questions that might have been answered are left in the dust.

3

Primer

This is the most underrated Science Fiction film I’ve ever seen. Filmed for 7,000 dollars, and using a cast that you could count on one hand, Primer was Shane Carruth’s attempt at a re-envisioning of the tried and true plot of time travel. Primer is an anomaly for confusing movies, because there is not one person in the universe who will fully comprehend it. Carruth didn’t know what he was doing while he was writing it (which brings to mind Lynch’s Inland Empire). It just sort of came – so to speak. It’s confusing to the writers, the actors, the characters, and the audience – intentionally.

2

The Matrix Trilogy

Thomas A. Anderson is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a malevolent hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines which live off of their body heat and imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents, super powerful computer programs devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion. The real question in this film is: what is real?

1

2001: A Space Odyssey

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.