(This list is in no particular order)
David Lynch’s filmography is a case study in surrealistic movie making. His movies leave you embroiled in a conflict of interpretations. And Mulholland Drive is the best of them. Lynch won the Best Director Award at Cannes for this film and was also nominated for Best Director at the Oscars.
A movie about an aspiring actress, who moves to Los Angeles and befriends an amnesic woman , the story is seemingly a sum of disjoint vignettes, only to be threaded together towards the end. The episodic structure of the movie is intentional, as it was conceived to be a TV series initially. But we can only agree that making it a feature film was the wisest decision. Naomi Watts is a revelation in this one and it helped catapult her into the public eye. The neo-noir movie is best known for its open ended interpretations. David himself has staunchly refused to comment on the movie’s symbolism. It is one movie which looks better on the second viewing.
The Man from Earth
Amidst the fascination for grandeur and visual effects, sometimes directors lose sight of the basic. A mind blowing concept topples expensive CGI any day. And this movie is all about its script. How often have you been engaged thoroughly by conversations within a small room, between characters who are seemingly hoi polloi? The best we can remember is 12 Angry Men. Man from Earth revolves around John Oldman (is the name a subtle giveaway?) who claims to be a Cro-Magnon who has secretly survived for more than 14,000 years. The sequence of events take place during Oldman’s farewell party. The entire movie advances in steady pacing through intelligent and factual arguments where Oldman makes startling revelations about his life to his erudite group of guests. After a point, the audience themselves start connecting the dots and there lies the success of the movie. The movie prods the intellect and makes us read about the concepts and events mentioned long after its running time. A must watch for some brain cardio.
Predestination is a film that will make you rip your hair apart while your eyes pop out through disbelief! Although that sounds like a horror flick, the plot playing out here has some horrid concepts. Don’t get us wrong though, this time-loop execution is one of most mind-blowing adaptations ever which makes it hard to grasp in one viewing. Based on Robert A Heinlein’s short story “All you Zombies”, it is the second time travel movie in our list. Even after you understand the science behind it, your mind refuses to accept the consequences and you will find yourself saying – “Wait. What just happened !” The twists keep unraveling with regular frequency, which means, the audience’s attention span is tested and a sci-fi geek’s curiosity is given wings.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
How is a comedy labeled a repeat watcher? Pertinent question, of course. Movie goers assume that a comedy will be easy to fathom and the more you watch them, staler the jokes become. But the beauty of The Big Lebowski is just the opposite. We followed the hype around this cult movie and watched it one evening. Decent watch, but what’s the hullabaloo,we wondered. We revisited it again on a Sunday, and we found the antics of the lazy protagonist and his quirky set of friends, a bit of a catch on. And then on and on. Credit to Jeff Bridges for giving us, the “lazy-folk”, the “happy go lucky” brigade, a role model to follow. No wonder there are Lebowski fan groups and festivals all around the world. Situational comedy featuring stoner characters always works. This one works more than the others.
Primer is undoubtedly the most complicated, yet utterly simplistic movie you will ever watch. It is the quintessential cult movie which, like a good bottle of wine, has got better and more popular with time. Time travel is a concept which has been juggled around by many prominent directors over the years, but what makes this stand out is the multiple loops of timelines being juxtaposed together and the simplistic approach to all that. And to think that it came from a relative newbie, Shane Carruth who writes, directs, produces, edits and stars in it, makes it sort of an underdog story among the myriad of science fiction movies churned out by Hollywood with great regularity. Carruth made the movie at a shoe-string budget of 7000$ but incredibly, the movie never looks cheap. The interweaving timelines are shown with such guile that the audience is left keeping a track of the proceedings (and failing) rather than worry about petty cinematography etc.
Here is a diagrammatic representation of time travel in Primer. Watch the movie and then you will be able to relate to it. Or not. Any which ways, it is a thinking man’s ultimate indulgence.
(We are almost tempted to call this the Christopher Nolan segment)
Christopher Nolan has commanded equal star power as the stars of his movies because of the scripts he chooses and the narrative style he brings to the screen. Memento is a movie which starts as a puzzle and when you have seemingly solved it, you will have to watch it again to cross check your assumptions and conclusions. Guy Pearce plays a man suffering from anterograde amnesia who unravels his story through two timelines. One, in black and white, which follows a chronological order, while the other in colour, which follows an opposite order, eventually “meeting”at the end. Ok, we might have lost you at “timelines”, so please watch it to get enthralled by a master.
Christopher Nolan at it again! A critical and commercial success, this movie is a flag bearer for the sci-fi thriller genre. The movie follows the simple statement “dream within a dream within a dream” and throughout the movie one is left analysing which dream we have jumped into at any given point. With a star cast heavy with A-Listers, this movie has been subjected to much debate over its ending, which has been left to the audience’s discretion.
If you haven’t watched any of these, you know how to use your data plan now!
Disclaimer : The images used in this post are the sole property of the makers of these films and are not owned by us in any form whatsoever.