There are films that are easy to understand, because they go smoothly from point A to point B, distilling information in chronological order. And then there are films that play with our understanding, and that give us the important information only at the end of the film, either because there is a big final twist, or because the whole chronology of the film is reversed. Those, if we could start at the end, it would make things much clearer. And much more boring too. Still better an incomprehensible film rather than a boring film.
1. Memento by Christopher Nolan (2000)
We’re not spoiling the story of this awesome movie, but if you knew the ending before watching it, you’d know who the hero can trust or not. You would also know that he might need a little rest.
2. Irreversible by Gaspar Noé (2002)
To start directly with the fight and the nervousness it shakes a little. If we had started with a couple who are doing well, we would have better understood the drama that was unfolding here. Afterwards, whatever the sans in which we take it, Irréversible always remains a good unhealthy film (but great but unhealthy).
3. Peppermint Candy by Lee Chang-Dong (2002)
It’s the story of a weird guy who runs to swing under a train… and the rest of the film goes back in time to tell us scene after scene why he got there. Inevitably, it would be easier to understand the other way around. Besides, the film was also shot upside down, so that the actors only understand the story once the shooting is over.
4. Usual Suspects by Bryan Singer (1995)
When we know the end (be careful we will spoiler), it’s just the story of a guy who invents a story during an interrogation by drawing inspiration from the elements located in the room around him. It’s less impressive that way, that’s for sure.
5. Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan (1999)
A dead guy who doesn’t know he’s dead hangs out with a kid who sees dead people. That’s it, it’s still much simpler this version. Finally, there are quite a few films with dead characters from the start.
6. David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999)
Well really don’t read it if you’ve never read it because it would be a shame, but Fight Club is neither more nor less than the story of a guy (Edward Norton) and his subconscious (Brad Pitt), except that we are only shown it at the end, whereas until then we believed that it was indeed two different people. At least now we know.
7. Shutter Island by Martin Scorsese (2010)
It’s both very funny and very sad to tell this film starting from the end. It’s the story of a crazy guy played by Dicaprio who is made to believe by his doctors that he is carrying out an investigation when in fact we just want him to realize that he is crazy. A little twisted all the same the doctors.
8. Esther by Jaume Collet-Serra (2009)
Here is the story of a psychopathic woman with a growth problem who pretends to be an orphan and is adopted by a couple she will terrorize. Knowing her true nature, we stop wondering why a kid is so mean to her adoptive family. A very good movie, by the way.
9. M. Night Shyamalan’s Village (2004)
Shyamalan loves twists, that’s for sure. In The village, which is super mysterious, the twist allows us to understand that this village actually lives in the past and that its leaders prevent the inhabitants from stepping outside so that they don’t see that the rest of the world lives with the times, him. It’s still better when you don’t know the twist yet.
10. The Others by Alejandro Amenábar (2001)
Nicole Kidmann spends the whole movie wondering why there are ghosts in her house, when in fact she is the ghost. We could still have told her at the beginning, just to stop freaking out for nothing.
11. Planet of the Apes by Tim Burton (2001)
Hey guys, in fact we haven’t changed planets, we’re still on Earth but in the future. This makes the story much easier to understand. Well, ok, that suddenly gives the film a little less charm.
12. The Game by David Fincher (1997)
Well, in fact, it was all just a game, as indicated in the title, so there was no point in doubting it during the whole film. This game is nice but hey, we’re going to make board games to play with the family. It will be less dangerous.