T Nation

Thinking Movies

Not wanting to let Dan C’s excellent question get lost in The Matrix spolier thread I have copied (and slightly edited) it to here.

[quote]In this ‘fast food film era’, it’s rare that a film leaves me with so much unanswered questions as this one. Or forces me to watch it a second time to better connect the dots and/or appreciate it even more. Arlington Road did it. Sixth sense did it. Devil’s Advocate, Neon-Genesis Evangelion (specially the last episode)

Anybody have similar experiences ? Your film list would be appreciated. [/quote]

A few I can think of straight away are
The Usual Suspects.
Mulholland Drive (has been thrashed to death on here already).
The Game.

Pink Floyd: The Wall
Reservoir Dogs

WTF?? Muholland Drive sucks a cock

in no particular order

Way of The Gun


Matrix Reloaded


Fight Club

Pulp Fiction

any I left off?


Evangelion’s TV Series ending caused so many controversies and outcries from the unsatisfied fans that they redid the ending in the Evangelion Death and Rebirth the Movie. The movie tried to redo the ending, and it kinda made more sense, but it was still senseless – i.e. made you sit down and really rethink about what’s going on.

Ghost in the Shell - awesome animation and very deep

BTW - Dan C

If you’re an anime lover in general, I hope you get a chance to check out Serial Experiment Lain, which is very popular and is spooky at times (another thinking anime), Escaflowne (for a great storyline and the debate of the pre-ordained future v. manipulated future/free will and the war to end all wars and the most gorgeous soundtrack), Rurouni Kenshin (for a great samurai storyline with a man running from his past), and Slayers/Slayers Next/Slayers Try for mindless fun and parody on RPG.


For me, a thinking movie isn’t one with a thousand twists and left field ending. A movie that makes me think is one that brings up an issue in a provocative way. Gattaca for me is a thinking movie. I don’t think it is a very deep movie, in face its very simple, but it gives a moments pause to think about whatever it is you take from it.

Shawshank Redemption

“Memento” left me scratching my head…

Matrix and Matrix Reloaded I’ll have to agree with as well.

Gotta agree with Shawshank Redemption.


Soilent Green.

Donnie Darko.

OMG, Brad! Did you watch “Memento” on DVD? As disjointed as the flick is on it’s own, if you watch it either in a theater or on VHS you just don’t get how insanely and annoyingly disjointed it is. I thought my DVD player was possessed! I was watching the chapter designator thingie skip from 3 to 10 to 7 to 13 to 1 and on and on… I about threw it from the deck. Instead, I forced the damn thing to run sequentially. he he heee It made even less sense that way. I was so torn between wanting to figure out what the hell was wrong with my DVD player and wanting just to get through the damn flick.

In the end, I get it. It was supposed to be like that. Duh. Kinda like “Insomnia” gives you a migraine watching it - wants to make you “feel” like Pacino.

12 Monkeys.

yep 12 Monkey’s!

Yeah I felt mentally challenged after “Memento” that’s for sure, I had to watch “Happy Gilmore” right after just to bring me back to center.

“Jacobs Ladder” fucked me up too.

Sidebar… Along with the disturbing “make you think” kind of movies that we’re discussing, has anyone watched a movie and immediately wanted a shower because of how it made you feel? Pornos excluded…

For me, it was “Requiem for a Dream”

YES YES YES…Usual Suspects, The Game, Mulholland Drive, …great great movies!

Others to note:
Vanilla Sky
The Ring
Session 9
Fight Club

And just a thought on Mulholland Drive. I hate the fact that so many people trashed this movie. “That movie sucked, I didnt understand it, waste of time.” I think that is what made it great…the fact that you actually had to THINK about it. It wasnt your typical “popcorn” movie where the plot is so simple and contrite that it is basically just handed to you (ie XXX). I love movies that make me think and that force me to watch again to fully comprehend it.

Total Recall.

Okay, just joking. I don’t think even Arnold understood that plot.

another one is se7en

 I completely agree with GreakDawg on this one.

  Pulp Fiction and Fight Club.

  Also One Flew Over The Cukoo's Nest.

  One that you HAVE to watch is Sleeper's with Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon from 1995. Great movie. 

“Sidebar… Along with the disturbing “make you think” kind of movies that we’re discussing, has anyone watched a movie and immediately wanted a shower because of how it made you feel? Pornos excluded…”

Trainspotting, The Doors