5 films to alter your perception of reality
|March 18, 2011||Posted by Joanna Starzynski under entertainment, reviews|
Have there ever been any films which made you go “what?” and question who you are? Where you are? Well, here’s the countdown of my top five (in chronological order):
The underrated Hitchcock classic, his testament to cinema, Scottie is an ex-detective who decides to do a last job for Gavin Elster, an old college friend. Elster thinks his wife has been possessed by an ancestor from the past and it is Scottie’s job to follow her, but his following becomes like a spiral going round and round as Scottie gradually falls in love with Madeleine, Elster’s wife. However, a twist in the plot questions Scottie’s reality of what is real and what is not. He is haunted by the idea of dreams and illusions, which eventually tip his mental stability over the edge. This film has a deeper meaning which is perhaps more easily seen on second viewing.
Much like Vertigo this film was also initially a flop. Like Scottie, Deckard is also a detective, but one looking for an answer to a different question; he wants to stop being a Blade Runner. He is assigned a final job of killing 6 escaped replicants; he has to “retire” them. Here it is Batty along with Rachel (who Deckard mistakes for being human when she is in fact a robot) who make Deckard question his own existence. With the famous ending lines “and all those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain”, there is a sadness to this futuristic dystopia that is not really so removed from our own. This film defines what it is and what it isn’t to be human.
Everything about your world is fake. You are plugged into the Matrix, and are unaware of the real truth. Neo, or Mr Anderson as he is referred to by Agent Smith, has to wake up to the truth, otherwise he will die. There are many mentions of Alice In Wonderland in this film such as “follow the white rabbit” and going down the “rabbit hole”, and this film questions the Matrix of reality and whether our world really is real. Neo (a name which rearranged is ‘One’ – how cool) is the saviour from the prophecy that Morpheus believes can save the last human city of Zion. As one can guess, there are many biblical references as well. The Matrix becomes a new religion – Zion means paradise, and Neo must save it. It is as if the basis of this world, like our own, is founded on religion.
This film doesn’t really question reality, but creates another civilisation entirely called Pandora. Jake, a marine who lost the use of his legs, becomes immersed in the Avatar world, regaining the ability to walk, run and leap again. This film shows a miraculous transformation; it may not have the best plot that I’ve ever seen, but if viewed in 3D it leaves cinema viewers in awe of this new, beautiful world. This film has so many parallels with our own reality, the major parallel being that those who have power and money will always exploit it for more.
In my opinion this is the best film of them all, the key line being “dreams feel real while we’re in them – it’s only when we wake that we realise something was actually strange.” The film begins in a dream; in Saito’s mansion, Cobb (a name meaning ‘dream’ in Arabic) is trying to find Saito’s secret, though this is very obviously a dream as it breaks the rules of reality (like water appearing from nowhere). There are moments where the difference between dream and reality start to blur, for example at one point Cobb is running but he turns down a dead-end alley, much like in a dream. Cobb’s wife Mol is convinced that reality is a dream, and the film’s ending is left ambiguous to the audience – was it a dream after all? There are many facts which could lead to the world being a dream, and there does seem to be more evidence for than against this.
Runner up: Shutter Island (2010) – Martin Scorsese
Feel free to mention your own films in the comments!