Every once in a while it is refreshing to take a break from the explosions and chases that are so prolific in action movies. Comedies are always enjoyable and lift our spirits and the occasional drama is entertaining as well. Then we have the psychological or intellectual based plots that require intense focus and attention, and perhaps a second or third viewing to understand what is really going on. It’s not hard to pick these out of a group because they are the films that make people make educated guesses as to what is going to happen next, only to discover that they were way off. We love them and hate them at the same time. It seems that the more complex the plot, the better we like it. There have been quite a few throughout history that leave people scratching their heads and asking the guy next to them if they “got” what was going on. We’ve compiled a list of the five top movies that are just way too smart for all of us.
Such a simple title for a very complex film. Pi was delivered to us from Aritsan Entertainment. It follows true to the form that Darren Aronofsky has established with a mishmash of complications that we doubt anyone could wade through on the first viewing. In the film, the main character is Max Cohen and he is a mathematician who becomes so obsessed with the language of numbers that he believes all things that exist in nature can be understood with the use of numerical symbols and expressions. This isn’t a warm and fluffy experience but rather one that keeps you on the edge of your seat with a dark tone that leads the viewers through Cohens life that is fraught with a social anxiety disorder along with paranoia and hallucinations. There is no way to adequately prepare for the disturbing ending of this film either. If you’re into home lobotomies with power drills, you may actually enjoy how the movie concludes. If not, you’ll join ranks with the majority of us and feel quite unsettled.
There is little debate that David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive put out by Universal Pictures has stimulated some intense conversations. From start to end, the film is difficult to follow. It features a series of disjointed scenes that do not seem to be related at the time they are happening. The story of the young actress who becomes friends with the amnesiac who has taken up residence in apartment of her auntie doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense and if you’re not careful, you could develop a headache over the affair. Who is the mysterious figure that is behind Winkie’s Diner? He creeps us out but we’re never given any answers by Lynch with regard to the ending or all of the scenes which leave us feeling a bit unraveled because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason. We’re relieved for the scenes which have a little more clarity, but this is fairly rare. The film won tons of acclaim and became highly popular so this is a strong indicator that people love to be confused by the films that they watch.
‘The Tree of Life’
This film by Terrence Malick made its debut in 2011. It is the story of the O’Brien family and the setting is Texas in the 1950s. The plot seems to be straightforward until it’s not. What begins as a fairly obvious story quickly transforms into a series of scenes with random scenes that deal with the creation of the universe. We get the fact that it is showing us the scenario of man fro the beginnings of life on the planet and ending with a supernova of the sun which results in the destruction of the earth. We see a vision of a dream like death and resurrection sequence that is portrayed with slow motion effects. Bill Pohlad’s description of the movie as being “crazy” is accurate. The inclusion of incoherence in scene sequencing begs viewers to believe that there are some hidden meanings that we’re just not getting. So far we still haven’t gotten it.
Primer is one of those films that requires a high intellect and a background that includes being well read in science and the possibility of time travel. The film was released in 2004. Shane Carruth delivered high on complexity with his film about a pair of scientists who build their own version of a time traveling machine. What was so amazing about this film is that it was created with the low budget of seven thousand dollars. The film contains a plethora of minor details that are important in moving the story forward. Complex doesn’t even begin to describe its intense intellectualism and facts with which it is packed. In fact, discussions are still taking place about this intellifilm and people are just starting to figure it out after twelve years time. It is a brilliant film
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
We knew that fans would be disappointed if we didn’t include this film in our list of the top five smart films that left us all confused. The movie is an adaptation of the novel written by Arthur C. Clarke. Stanley Kubrick brought it to life on the big screen and it immediately became a popular film, even if most of us didn’t really get it, but pretended to. What turned thisi film into a cult classic was the long scenes that had no dialogue that bordered on the edge of uninteresting, then the trippy visuals that snapped us back and kept us viewing. I think that we all found ourselves mesmerized by the psychedelic kaleidoscope that featured some pretty vivid colors as Dave Bowman, the astronaut was hurtled through them. The “Star Child” was a little freaky and left us all wondering what the true meaning of it really was.
These are the top five movies of all time that were way too smart for most if not all of us. Perhaps the reason that we love these films is because it is fun to have a challenge that is hard to figure out. The writers of the plots show brilliance in their portrayals of the plots that not only twist and turn, they seem to fade into obscurity. Who knows, perhaps there is nothing to figure out and the joke is on all of us?