I can't see Inception until midnight tonight, but the anticipation is driving me crazy. And so I present you with some of my favorite movies that mess with your brain. Many of these films leave you wondering, what you just watched. Others will haunt you. All are fantastically beautiful trips through the subconscious. Check em out!
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2010)
This one comes from the twisted mind of Terry Gilliam. It tells the story of a man who makes a deal with the devil to live forever. He entices people to enter a magical mirror that will make their wildest fantasies come true. Once inside, the devil tries to tempt them to take the sinful path, while Doctor Parnassus does his best to help them take the right path. As the ride starts to explore the mind of Heath Ledger, who changes forms several times, everything starts to unravel. Check it out, if only for the great performances by Christopher Plummer, Andrew Garfield, Heath Ledger, and Verne Troyer. My review is here.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Eternal Sunshine is one of my favorite movies, and Jim Carrey's best performance. Here's the concept: what if you could erase a person from your memory? Would you? Carrey chooses to eliminate his ex (Kate Winslet). The film journeys backward through his memories (or how he perceived them), and he slowly discovers that you can't eliminate the bad memories without taking out the good. I can't recommend this film enough.
An Alfred Hitchcock classic, this one stars James Stewart as an acrophobic detective who meets Madeleine, and marries her. After a questionable suicide, he grows more and more infatuated with her. Soon, he meets a woman who looks just like his dead wife. As an audience, we are as confused as Stewart. It's a classic Hitchcock thriller that's as fun now as it was 50 years ago.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
There are a lot of people who despise Vanilla Sky. It lets viewers hang, as we venture through the mind of David Aames (Tom Cruise). Aames is a man with more than one woman and a magazine empire he's about to inherit, then he gets in a horrible accident. Soon, we've jumped ahead, see him in a mask, speaking with a psychologist about somebody who's died. It never seems to make sense, but is it supposed to? Vanilla Sky is worth a watch, even if you're one of those destined to dislike it.
Requem for a Dream (2000)
You don't travel through memories in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream; it drags you deep into the mind of a drug addict (several, actually). I can think of no film that captures the ever escalating spiral into drug addiction. The film builds into a frenzy as the lives of its characters slowly dissolve. Few films display the cinematic power of Reqiuem, which leaves you horrified, emotionally drained, and defeated. If this sounds bad, think again.
2001: A Space Odyssey, Donnie Darko, Fight Club, The Science of Sleep, Memento, The Truman Show, The Matrix