Top 5 Most Confusing Films

Have you ever watched a movie where at the end of it you thought to yourself, “What the heck just happened?” I feel there’s a preconception with the word ‘confusing,’ in that it is generally related to something bad. When it comes to films, I do not necessarily think this is the case, in fact, most often I believe it’s the opposite. For a film to be confusing, it generally means it leaves you thinking long after you’ve left the cinema or pressed stop on the DVD remote. In my opinion, that is a real skill.

I must, of course, distinguish between a confusing film that makes you think, and a film that’s confusing just for the sake of it, the latter often being just a producer’s excuse for a poorly made film. Regardless, I’m sure you can all think of these types of films that either frustrate you, or amaze you. Here’s my top 5.

5. A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind is a wonderful film by Ron Howard, and Russell Crowe gives a fantastic performance as a brilliant but asocial mathematician. What starts as a seemingly standard drama, takes an extremely confusing turn of events partway through the film, no doubt causing many viewers to be confused for the majority of the rest of the film. This only adds to the excellence of the film, and proves there can be twists and turns in these types of dramas too.

4. Memento

Christopher Nolan (The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception) is the king of confusion of the best kind. His films are the definition of thought provoking, and almost every film of his that I’ve watched I’ve been thinking for days, even weeks later about every different aspect of the film. Not only is Nolan the king of thought provoking films, but he is also a master of time manipulation in his movies, as shown with his first fully funded film Memento. For those who haven’t seen it; this film progresses in reverse as a result of the lead character’s memory loss. No more needs to be said.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is another film that deals with memory loss, but rather with the concept of memory loss by choice. It is a brilliantly crafted film, and features the exceptional talents of Jim Carrey and the always-brilliant Kate Winslet – but that doesn’t make it an ‘easy-to-make-sense-of’ film. Brilliant nonetheless.

2. Persona

Perhaps not as well known as my other selections, is the 1966 film, Persona. This film is about a nurse and a mute patient, and how the nurse finds that her own personality becomes submerged into the patient’s persona. To give you an example of how confusing this film is; there is a scene in which the camera turns around to briefly focus on another cameraman on a crane – and apparently this was intentional. This is an extremely confusing film.

1. Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko has become a cult classic, mostly due to the extremely confusing nature of the film. There is honestly not much to say about this film, and I credit it’s confusing plot and ending as the reason for that. I recommend watching it, but know that this film comes up at number one on my top 5 confusing films.

I’d love to hear of your most confusing films, and whether or not you thought the film benefited from its confusion, or suffered as a result of its confusion.

Let us know in the comments below.

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4 Comments on “Top 5 Most Confusing Films”

  1. Jessica M Says:

    Definitely Vanilla Sky!
    I saw that movie many years ago and it still leaves me wondering. In fact it just makes me want to watch it again, and hopefully I’ll have some kind of insight wisdom that I didn’t have 10 years ago.

    • filmstank Says:

      I have never gotten around to watching Vanilla Sky in full yet, but I will definitely have to watch that – I love a good confusion film. Is it confusing for the sake of it do you think? Or is it a thought-provoking type confusing?

  2. Karen Says:

    I found Grand Canyon the most confusing fil I ever saw – and not in a good way! Very annoying – just about a group of people from all over the U.S. ramdomly deciding that they have to/need to visit the Grand Canyon, and well, that’s about it! Dumb!

    • filmstank Says:

      Haha, I’ve heard many a bad review about this film. It seems as though it sacrificed a plot for a good cast – as is often the case with so many “ensemble” movies.

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