Movie Mondays – Confusing Plots

This meme is hosted by The Bumbles Blog

This week’s theme is confusing plots…

The movie that immediately springs to mind is Vanilla Sky. I know a lot of people who couldn’t even watch it all the way through because they found the plot so confusing. However, as with many confusing plots, there was a “click” point where everything fell into place and made you say “Ah! Now I get it!” and on this occasion, it was well worth sticking with it to the end, as it’s an excellent film.

A less enjoyable example might be eXistenZ. A game within a game within a game which made the characters question their reality… it was pretty dire and not really worth it. Quite a disappointing movie which was overshadowed by another similarly presented reality-questioning movie which was released the same year – The Matrix. Where eXistenZ failed with the plot, The Matrix succeeded and even the acting inability of the incredibly wooden Keanu Reeves couldn’t make it fail. The balletic “bullet time” which was pioneered in this film was something special and even people who aren’t fans of the film (like me) can happily admit to appreciating what it gave us.

Two more recent expeditions into confusing plots are Inception  (dreams within dreams within dreams – where does it end?) and Shutter Island (is anything real?), both starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Personally, I found both quite easy to follow, but I heard comments ranging from vague confusion to outright incomprehension from other film fans. For me, Inception was the better by far – it was slick and the concurrent timeline filming worked exceedingly well (and the scene in the tumbling corridor was amazing in itself), whereas I found Shutter Island very predictable and more than a little dull (because I figured it out quickly I felt like I was waiting for the film to catch up with me forever!). I get the feeling these two will be mentioned quite a lot by others taking part in this week’s movie meme.

Finally, there’s one I “got” despite hearing everyone else going crazy over how weird it was – Donnie Darko. Again, I caught on pretty quickly, so I didn’t find it particularly confusing – I just found it particularly bad – I really didn’t like it much at all and still can’t understand why people rave about it.

Perhaps I read too many books with “unexpected” twists, and have studied films for too long (I’ve been regularly picking them apart since I did a media studies course years ago), but I’m very rarely confused by a plot. Or if I am, I find there’s a definite point where everything falls into place and everything becomes crystal clear. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I can’t be. Can I?

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6 responses to “Movie Mondays – Confusing Plots

  1. I would have included The Matrix if I’d thought of it. I’m not a big sci-fi fan, so I just I blamed myself as much as the film makers for the fact that I thought it was a big “bleh.”

    I COMPLETELY agree with you on Inception and Shutter Island, except I found Shutter Island the more compelling story. But I got it early on, too, and was confused by the confusion both films engendered.

    I saw Donnie Darko only once — on TV, with my friend’s 13-year-old daughter who kept squealing over “Jake! Jake!” — so I can’t judge. 🙂

  2. Many of your inclusions are a few of my favorite movies, although some of them are hard to depict and understand. Great choices, and great descriptions of why you chose them.

  3. I haven’t seen any but the matrix and I was confused–my kids had to do a lot of explaining. But I have enjoyed it in the rewatches. Kaye—the road goes ever ever on

  4. The Matrix is a great choice. I thought Vanilla Sky was a good film, too. I especially love the music.

  5. I haven’t see Vanilla Sky – the trailers didn’t intrigue me. But its inclusion in your post made me think of Eyes Wide Shut. I’m not sure what exactly the viewer was supposed to take away from that one.