There's an old Hollywood joke about an aspiring starlet who was so
dumb she slept with a writer. When it comes to big screen blockbusters,
writers sometimes seem to be deemed less important than the person who
brings coffee to stars' trailers. Well, those pesky words and plots can
get in the way of explosions and gunfights after all.
However, there are occasions when the writers' ideas and big themes take over, and sometimes to confusing effect. Let the head scratching begin…
Richard Kelly's mind-bending film debut featured time travel, talking giant rabbits, schizophrenia and Patrick Swayze. 'Donnie Darko' was a real cult film, one that revelled in its confusion, begging audiences to cancel their evening plans and discuss what it all meant instead. Cue a wealth of theories on the internet trying to decipher Jake Gyllenhaal's never bettered performance. That was until Kelly ruined it with a director's cut that spoon-fed us explanations no one really wanted.
A low budget time travel gem this — despite the fact that it's one of the most confusing movies of all time. And don't think repeated viewings help either, even mathematician Shane Carruth struggled to comprehend the time travel plot. And he's the writer/director! Costing a few thousand pounds, 2004's 'Primer' is still an incredibly fun and inventive ride nonetheless.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Shane Black's truly excellent noir pastiche begs for repeated viewings, not just to hear previously hidden verbal gems from Black's script due to Robert Downey Jr's fast-paced delivery. Aping the film noir blueprint, the action/comedy plot is deliberately convoluted. Whether it's meant to be that deliberately convoluted only Black knows. But there are still elements that don't make sense, and we're guessing that was Black's biggest joke.
A summer blockbuster with smarts? Who would have thought it? Christopher Nolan's intricately plotted sci-fi thriller has done what no movie has ever done before: making a spinning top the source of hours upon hours of discussion.
The deep pondering stems from the toy, which helps Leonardo DiCaprio's character realise whether he's in a dream world or not. If it stops spinning he's in the real world, and vice versa. However, Nolan infuriatingly ends the film just as he begins his spin.
Our favourite theory? DiCaprio's master thief turns his back on the spinning top straight away as he doesn't care if the world is real or not anymore, he's back with his kids and that's all that matters. Aw.
The true genius of his thriller is how the concept of a narrative being played out from different points in time is never seen as a gimmick — it ties in with the film's central dilemma: A man who suffers from short-term memory loss tries to unravel the murder of his wife - hence the skewed narrative.
Like another film noir on this list, 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', it's just best to enjoy the film on first viewing without even attempting to try and piece it all together. Worry about that on your second or third attempt. Or fourth!
While we could have singled out most of David Lynch's work, special mention has to go to 'Mulholland Drive'. It makes no sense, and we don't think it was ever meant to.
However, again, like many of his films, it's the hypnotic and surreal ride that Lynch fans most enjoy about his work. And this one is certainly that. Sit back and don't worry about things making sense. See also 'Inland Empire'.
A Guy Ritchie film that had people confused?
In what is an incredibly divisive movie, people who flocked to see the gangster film starring Jason Statham were no doubt expecting the same old thing. Except what they got was an out of control filmmaker throwing as many surreal things on screen to see what stuck, while offering some philosophical musings. Oh, there was a hugely convoluted plot just to make sure anyone who saw it got a headache.
Weirdly enough, it's still his most interesting film.
Voted in a poll last year as the most confusing film of all time, Cameron Crowe's surreal drama sees Tom Cruise's character enduring strange hallucinations following a car accident.
While the movie seems to have film fans scratching their heads, it does seem to opt for the cop out of all cop out endings — It was all just a dream. Well, in this case a lucid dream while he was frozen in a cryogenic chamber. Or maybe it's not. Maybe we didn't understand it at all!
2001: A Space Odyssey
What does it all mean?
Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi classic movie was always meant to evoke discussion and be open to interpretation. Unfairly described by The New York Times as being "somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring", Kubrick's heady epic is one of those movies you should just experience and brush aside minor things like what it all means.
Do you personally understand any of these films? Are there any other movies that you've always struggled to understand? Let us know below…
More on Yahoo! Movies: