1. 15. Adaptation (2003) by Spike Jonze
18,920 searches per month.
With the release of Tenet this year, Christopher Nolan confirms, if necessary, that his films are among the most confusing for viewers who do not hesitate to dissect them and seek explanations to better understand them. A recent site survey OnBuy shows that Christopher Nolan is the director whose films require the most research on the part of moviegoers to understand his films.
Following the theatrical release of Tenet, the OnBuy site established a ranking of the most confusing films in cinema history by finding the number of monthly searches affiliated with specific keywords such as “explanation”, “explained”, “analysis”, “explanation of the end”, “meaning of the film”, “synopsis” or even “scenario”.
Some of the most puzzling Christopher Nolan films
Christopher Nolan is three times in the ranking with the films Inception, Interstellar and Memento. Inception is also first in the ranking with no less than 80,090 monthly searches. In second place, we find Shutter Island by Martin Scorsese with 55,700 searches and it is Shining, the horrific masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick, which ranks in third place with 48,950 searches per month.
In the rest of the ranking, we find Ex Machina by Alex Garland (32,440 searches), Matrix by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (27,120 searches), Vanilla Sky by Cameron Crowe (22,479 searches) or even Mulholland Drive by David Lynch ( 18,990 searches). After the 15 most confusing films, we find a little further behind The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky (15,420 searches), Blue Velvet by David Lynch (15,380 searches) and The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick (14,440 searches).
The OnBuy site was also interested in the behavior of moviegoers who sought explanations for films. They surveyed 3,217 moviegoers to find out what helps them better understand a feature film. 65% of them watch a film that baffled them and among them 41% said they needed to watch the film three or four times to understand it better.
But it is not enough to watch a film again to understand all its subtleties. Thus, many moviegoers are turning to the Internet for explanations. Of the 3,217 people surveyed by OnBuy, 71% go to Youtube, 67% go to Reddit or other forums, 63% use social media, 59% dive into movie fan sites, 52% refer to of database sites and 38% cited other sources of explanation.
Like Christopher Nolan’s other films, will Tenet end up slipping into this ranking of the most puzzling blockbusters?