These are strange times we are living in. 2020 has been a difficult year, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. After two months of self-isolation, cramped up in your home, you might find yourself feeling a bit insane. The days all start to feel the same and you begin to lose your sense of reality. You begin to question what is happening and why it is happening. To put your mind off of these dark and cloudy thoughts, why not escape reality with the art of cinema.
This week we share with you some of the best mind-bending movies you must watch. The best movies are the ones that make you think. Long and hard. Movies that drift through your thoughts even after the credits have rolled and ended up as a topic of discussion where you try to dissect and piece the puzzle together to come up with a conclusion that either makes sense to you or doesn’t.
Here is the list of the best mind-bending movies to ever grace the big screen:
Released in 1958, Vertigo is an American film noir psychological thriller film directed by legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Based on the French novel D’entre les morts by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac, Vertigo is a Hitchcock classic that is regarded as one of his most career-defining work. The film received two nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Sound at the 31st Academy Awards.
The plot follows the story of John “Scottie” Ferguson (Stewart), a former police detective who was forced into early retirement following after an incident in the line of duty resulted in the death of his partner. Scottie suffers from acrophobia and vertigo as a result of the traumatic incident. Scottie is approached by Gavin Elster (Helmore), an old acquaintance of Scottie’s, and hired as a private investigator to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine (Novak). Madeleine’s peculiar behaviour has led Gavin to believe his wife is going insane, maybe even suicidal, as he believes she is possessed by the spirit of a dead ancestor who committed suicide. Scottie is initially reluctant to take on the task but eventually agrees after seeing the hauntingly beautiful Madeleine.
Vertigo’s initial reviews were mixed but contemporary reviews have been universally positive, with many critics regarding it as one of the greatest films of all time. Driven by the superb performances of its leads, Hitchcock’s visionary direction, compelling storyline and off-beat love story, Vertigo is one of the most culturally, historically and aesthetically significant films ever created.
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey, Ellen Corby, Konstantin Shayne and Lee Patrick.
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by: Alec Coppel & Samuel Taylor
Based on: D’entre les morts by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac
Runtime: 128 minutes
Release date: May 9, 1958
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Released in 1971, A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian crime film directed by influential filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick. Based on the Anthony Burgess novel of the same name, the film received four nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing at the 44th Academy Awards.
Set in a futuristic Britain, the plot follows a gang of delinquent teenagers who go on a nightly rampage, committing rape, theft and what is coined “ultra-violence”. The gang of “droogs” is led by the charismatic leader, Alex (McDowell) and consists of Pete (Tarn), Georgie (Marcus) and Dim (Clarke). When his gang express discontent, they start an uprising and leave Alex to be caught by the police. To reduce his jail sentence, Alex is offered to participate in an experimental programme promoted by the Minister of Interior (Sharp) called the “Ludovico Technique”, a conditioning technique to curb the destructive impulses of men, but it doesn’t go as planned.
A Clockwork Orange received critical acclaim upon release, with many critics praising its disturbing and though-provoking plot, and dark humour. Tackling the subject of psychiatry, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and social, political, and economic subjects through disturbing and violent images, the film remains one of Kubrick’s best work to date.
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke, John Clive, Adrienne Corri, Carl Duering, Paul Farrell, Clive Francis, Michael Gover, Miriam Karlin, James Marcus, Aubrey Morris, Godfrey Quigley, Sheila Raynor, Madge Ryan, Anthony Sharp, Philip Stone, Michael Tarn, David Prowse, Carol Drinkwater, Steven Berkoff and Margaret Tyzack.
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by: Stanley Kubrick
Based on: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Runtime: 136 minutes
Release date: December 19, 1971
Released in 2000, Memento is an American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by British-American filmmaker, Christopher Nolan. Based on a pitch by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, Memento received numerous accolades, including two nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing at the 74th Academy Awards.
Memento tells the story of Leonard Shelby (Pearce), an ex-insurance investigator who suffers from anterograde amnesia, the inability to form new memories and has short-term memory loss as a result of an incident related to the murder of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. Leonard utilises an elaborate system of Polaroid photographs and tattoos to trace information he can’t remember, to track down his wife’s murderer. The film presents two separate sequences of scenes intermixed throughout the film, one storyline told chronologically in black-and-white, and the other storyline told in reverse order in colour sequences.
Regarded as one of Nolan’s best films, Memento received universal critical acclaim, with critics praising its unique narrative structure and themes on memory, perception, grief and self-deception as well as Nolan’s skilful direction and screenplay.
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior, Callum Keith Rennie, Larry Holden, Jorja Fox, Stephen Tobolowsky and Harriet Sansom Harris.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by: Christopher Nolan
Based on: “Memento Mori” by Jonathan Nolan
Runtime: 113 minutes
Release date: September 5, 2000
Released in 2010, Inception is another film written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Inception is a science fiction action film that features an ensemble cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio. The film received many accolades, including eight nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards, winning four of the categories including Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.
The film follows the story of Dom Cobb (DiCaprio), an expert thief and master practitioner of the art of extraction, inserting oneself into a subject’s dreams and steal valuable secrets from the deep subconsciousness. Cobb’s unique ability makes him a coveted player in the world of corporate espionage, yet it has also cost him everything he ever loved and has made him an international fugitive. Cobb is offered the chance to redeem himself and get his life back with one last jo includes the art of inception. Instead of stealing ideas, Cobb and his team have to implant another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious. Should they succeed, it would be a perfect crime, yet no matter how careful they plan, an unexpected enemy presents pose danger in their every move.
Inception was met with universal praise upon release, with many praising its screenplay, direction, themes, visual effects, musical score and ensemble cast. Visually stunning, intellectually compelling and emotionally riveting, Inception is a smart, innovative and exciting film that remains as one of Nolan’s cinematic masterpieces.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine, Lukas Haas and Talulah Riley.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 148 minutes
Release date: July 16, 2010
Get Out (2017)
Released in 2017, Get Out is an American horror film written and directed by Jordan Peel in his directorial debut. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, the film received numerous accolades and garnered four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, winning the latter.
The plot follows the story of Chris Washington (Kaluuya), a young African-American photographer as he prepares for a weekend getaway with his Caucasian girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Williams), to meet her family in their Lake Pontaco house. Chris feels uneasy and unwelcome, as there are only three other African-Americans there, two of them are employees. Chris starts to notice strange happenings as the weekend progresses at the farm, discovering a series of disturbing and sinister revelations, leading him to a truth he never would have imagined.
Get Out received universal acclaim upon release, with many commending its direction and themes. Get Out is a superbly crafted film that seamlessly blends its social commentary with effective storytelling and entertaining horror-comedy thrills to present a hilarious, scary and thought-provoking piece of cinema.
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener, Lil Rey Howery, Erika Alecander, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel and Zailand Adams.
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Written by: Jordan Peele
Runtime: 104 minutes
Release date: February 24, 2017