Home Entertainment Editorial – Thought provoking movies

Editorial – Thought provoking movies

6 min read

Our topic for today is movies that makes you think.  Flicks so brilliantly conceived of that they literally make you think…for a long time.http://www.ttdw.za.net/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

I have what some people call a flaw, but what I like to think is a gift.  I think too much, and as a result I tend to overthink what people say or what happens in life.  However, sometimes thinking too much can be a good thing, as is the case with some film producers/writers.

You get mediocre movies that after you’ve watched it once, you just forget about it and never ever watch it again, and then you get moves so awesome that you go back and watch it over and over again just to see what you missed.

Once you see what you’ve overlooked, you realise that you may have missed even more and that the movie is just a layer on top of a layer on top of another layer of pure awesome.

Let’s start with one of those specific writers/producers (and in order to try and remain spoiler free, I will simply provide links to the insinuated subject matter, so don’t click on the links if you intend on watching the movies):

Richard Kelly

Where to begin with this guy.  Richard Kelly is definitely not your average filmmaker. I think what makes his films so hard to understand is the fact that he does not cater for the average person.

Common themes across his films are time travel, existentialism and spiritualism. The problem is, not very many people understand these themes and are left scratching their heads in confusion.

If you’re someone who has a high enough IQ and the actual WILL to understand these movies, then you are left with a profound sense of enlightenment.

Kelly seems to be of a rare breed of people who has a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the world and he certainly does not pull any punches when he makes his films.

The storytelling in his films is not the only thing that is awe inspiring.

He seems to have a certain understanding of how to properly pair music with his films as is evidenced by his choice of Gary Jules’ version of Tears for Fears’ Mad World, as it plays at the end of Donnie Darko.

It sets such a powerful mood during the final moments of the movie that you are left emotionally raw at the implications.  That specific song will always stick with me as one of the most hauntingly beautiful renditions I have ever heard, and it is just because of that one scene.

In lamens terms, what makes his movies so special is the fact that there is basically a sub-story to the main story which regular viewers of the movie simply cannot see unless they watch it several times.

A typical example is the misinterpretation Donnie Darko, his first feature film. When you ask someone who has just watched the movie for the first time what they think it is about, they will simply answer “I don’t know, it made absolutely no sense to me”.

The basic idea behind watching a movie like this is to at least have some basic understanding of the concept of wormholes, time-travel, and the like.

Couple this with an open mind and if you have the correct recipe to not only understand this type of movie, but to appreciate it in the fullest form.


if you don’t know what the hell is going on IN this movie, this video probably won’t mean a thing to you:

This is one of the lesser known examples of today’s subject.

A better known example of today’s subject is from this guy:

Chuck Palahniuk

Who is he? He’s the guy who wrote Fight Club, which was adapted by Jim Uhls and David Fincher for the big screen.

What makes this story so fascinating is the fact that everything you see in the movie is not what it seems.  You are led by the nose throughout the entire story until the bizarre twist ending at the movie which blows your mind to smithereens.

During the movie, little hints and subtle messages are planted which, if you pay careful attention actually reveals the twist ending waaaay before it even comes.

If you are sharp enough to catch it, you will have one of those “slap you hand against the forehead/eureka” moments. Tyler Durden even once in the movie blatantly refers to these subliminal messages, so if you missed it, even after your seventh viewing of the film, you REALLY weren’t paying attention.


Don’t play this if you intend on figuring this out for yourself.

Another example of a thought provoking movie, this one on a much grander, and a much different scale is this one by:

 Ryne Douglas Pearson

In 2001 this relatively unknown novelist approached producers Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal with his idea for a film, where a time capsule from the 1950s is opened revealing fulfilled prophecies, the last one of which ended with ‘EE’ – “everyone else”. After several years in “development hell” the finally made it to the big screen with Nicolas “stars in everything” Cage in the lead role.

These days when Hollywood markets films almost EVERYTHING looks awesome when you see the trailer, but only some movies actually live up to the expectations laid out in the aforementioned trailer.

Then you get movies which are in a class of their own.  Every so often (but very very rarely) a film comes out that far exceeds the awesomeness shown during the trailer.  Knowing is one of those films.

It starts off as your average disaster (not a disaster in itself) a movie, whereby terrible events happen to huge amounts of people, but that only happens towards the beginning of the movie.

It picks up from this point to go way beyond what any other disaster movie has ever done before.

It steps into mind blowing territory, whereby the end of the world is accurately predicted, and actually happens and super-extravagant fashion. The last part of the movie is so mind-blowing awesome and thought-provoking that I will leave that to you to see in the actual movie.

All I can say is WOW.  Knowing will definitely go down in history as one of my favourite films of all time.

There are several other writers/filmmakers/movies that I haven’t even listed here, but this is just an idea of some of the best thought-provoking movies that I have ever seen.  If you have seen any thought provoking films, please share them below in the comments.

Until next time.

Last Updated: May 28, 2012


  1. Christo Kruger

    May 28, 2012 at 15:11

    Knowing is probably the movie that convinced me to never see a Nic Cage movie again. What a disaster of a film.


    • Kervyn Cloete

      May 28, 2012 at 15:25

      It does contain one of the best single take shots ever with that post-plane crash scene. Simply amazing work. But yeah, while it had some great ideas, and a very promising start, it failed to deliver for me as well.

      Won’t say it put me in the anti-Nic Cage box though, no that happened a long time ago with Windwalkers.


  2. Tracy Benson

    May 28, 2012 at 17:03

    Knowing. No, sorry I don’t agree. It went from really good disaster movie (plane crash scene) to average disaster movie (train crash scene) to Shyamalan style mystery (we’ve decoded the numbers! But what does it mean?) to completely jumping the shark at the end. It was going so well and just veered off the tracks. The only way I found it thought provoking was thinking afterwards, what the hell went wrong? 
    And the plane crash scene. It’s seriously one of the best movie scenes I’ve ever seen, my heart was in my throat the whole time, so tense and crazy, and then the rest of the movie went pffffffffft. 


  3. James Francis

    May 28, 2012 at 18:08

    Fight Club is a good choice, but I wouldn’t credit Palahniuk. Yes, its his book, but the real credit should go to David Fincher for translating the book to film with such sense and flair. He also should rather get credit because he also made Se7en and The Game, two other movies that really made you think. After reaching much of Palahniuk’s writing I actually now feel Fight Club’s film is superior to the book. 


    • Kervyn Cloete

      May 28, 2012 at 19:41

      Agreed 100% on all points.. I’ve never really read anything else of Palahniuk’s, but Fincher definitely upped the ante on the adaptation.
      And Se7en and The Game are both brilliant examples. I’m glad you mentioned The Game, coz for some strange reason it tends to get overlooked a lot, despite being filled with a great cast and an incredibly intriguing and very cleverly executed premise.


    • Kervyn Cloete

      May 28, 2012 at 19:44

      Just having had a quick look through his filmography, I’ve come to realize that I’m a Fincher fanboy, as I have loved every single movie he’s ever done. Yes, even Alien 3 and Panic Room (That opening shot!).


      • James Francis

        May 29, 2012 at 08:19

        Agreed, including Alien 3. Sure, it was not like the rest, but it wasn’t the mess of the fourth movie (which also was made by quite a renowned director). I suspect most people just didn’t like Alien 3 because they wanted more Aliens.


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