The 10 most confusing movies of all time
Two women walk out of a movie theater.
“Well, there are three hours of my life I’ll never get back,” says one woman.
“That was so confusing, my head hurts,” adds the other woman.
I was filing out of the theater ahead of the women after watching an early media screening of “Cloud Atlas.”
Based on the novel by David Mitchell and directed by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, the three-hour epic is a bit confusing, but my head didn’t hurt.
I’m still pondering it days later to decide if I liked it, but I can say that I was never bored, and I think that is something positive to say about a three-hour movie.
It is a challenging movie, which is good. I’m always complaining about the lack of challenging movies, so I can’t whine when a film bends my brain a bit.
But there is a fine line between challenging and confusing.
Still, in honor of those two confused women at the screening, we salute the 10 most confusing movies of all time. If we somehow touch upon one of your favorite movies, we apologize. Obviously, we just didn’t get it.
1. “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003) - The third part of the “Matrix” trilogy was a real head-scratcher. The aforementioned Wachowskis were responsible for the brilliant first film “The Matrix,” but they either got sloppy or cocky by the time they got around to concluding their tale.
2. “The Tree of Life” (2011) - OK, Terrence Malick fans are going to come after me for this one. Listen, I agree that there is a wonderful movie buried in there somewhere, but the mysterious director chose to drop about 40 minutes of psychedelic mumbo-jumbo in his otherwise linear tale of a Texas family in the 1950s.
3. “Vanilla Sky” (2001) - I like Cameron Crowe a lot (“Almost Famous”), but he missed the boat by several berths on this one.
4. “Inception” (2010) - Writer-director Christopher Nolan loves to challenge viewers to the point of confusion.
5. “Muholland Drive” (2001) - David Lynch. Do I really need to say more?
6. “The Fountain” (2006) - Darren Aronofsky is a very smart guy. It appears as if he out-smarted himself in this convoluted tale that crosses time zones.
7. “Donnie Darko” (2001) - Jake Gyllenhaal couldn’t save this film from itself. Once again, a filmmaker (Richard Kelly) works in the dreamscape realm, which has proved to be a graveyard for overly ambitious filmmakers.
8. “Inland Empire” (2006) - It’s David Lynch again, and while Laura Dern is worth watching, trying to figure how what you’re watching is almost too much to ask of discretionary income-paying customers.
9. “The Jacket” (2005) - I think Adrien Brody is one of our finest actors, but even he seemed confused by his time travel in this well-intentioned disaster about a Gulf War veteran.
10. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) - Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. But you must admit that most people find it incredibly confusing.