9 Explanations Of Movies That Thoroughly Confused Us

February 6, 2015 | 2 Comments » | Topics: Movies

Mulholland Dr

A talented and attractive but deeply insecure young woman (Diane Selwyn) moves to Los Angeles hoping to become a big-time actress, where she falls deeply in love with a more confident, successful actress (Camilla Rhodes) who helps her kick-start her career and allows her to mix with some Hollywood bigwigs, earning her a few minor movie roles. She is eventually rejected by her fame-hungry lover who becomes romantically involved with a well-known director, flaunting her new relationship in front of Diane at a dinner party. Diane suddenly finds herself alone and scared in the cutthroat world of show business, and feels she is now doomed to failure. Despondent and in a jealous rage, she hires a hitman to kill Camilla, thinking this will make her feel better. However, when she receives confirmation that this has been completed (blue key), the reality of what she’s done hits her and she sinks into a deep depression which eventually turns into a paranoid psychosis resulting in her suicide.

At the very beginning of the movie, before we know of this backstory, Diane falls asleep one last time, her tortured and delusional mind causing her to dream of a world where she is the polar opposite of what she has become. In her dream, she is still a fresh-faced, innocent young girl, confident and in control. She is the one the big director wants but can’t have, only due to circumstances beyond their control (Mafia intervention in the film’s casting process), she is the strong one in the relationship protecting her friend and lover and helping her navigate a dangerous world. Still though, people and places she saw while she was planning the real-life murder keep creeping back into her perfect fantasy world, causing the more nightmarish moments of her dream (For example, the scared man in the diner was a guy she saw paying for his meal while she was meeting with the hitman in real life. In her paranoid state, she seemed to at least subconsciously suspect that he knew what she was up to, this becoming another fear in the back of her mind manifesting itself in her dream). The blue box signifies Diane’s consciousness, the blue key triggers her memory, forcing her to open the box (awaken). She awakens back to her horrible reality and reflects on the events that led her to the crushing emptiness and despair that she now has to live with. Here we see what happened to cause the twisted nightmare we just saw, and eventually her suicide.

David Lynch is portraying the corrupting and dehumanizing nature that underlies the glitz and glamor of the Hollywood film industry. It’s a big middle finger to those in the industry that perpetuate and thrive off what he sees as a soul-crushing environment.

BandaloopDoctor 

 

 2001: A Space Odyssey

It starts at the dawn of man, basically, the point where we begin to use tools. An advanced alien race plants a monolith on earth during the prehistoric era. A primitive ape-man named “Moonwatcher” is the first one to work up the nerve to touch it. Once he does he is inspired to make and use tools and weapons, which his tribe uses to defeat their rival tribe to control the water and also to kill game for food.

It then skips to the point where our tools have taken us off of our planet and the leap that that entails. The second section ends with the rediscovery of a monolith [similar to the one present when we began our use of tools] on the next closest celestial body. It then sends a beacon out towards Jupiter, a much further object, after the humans uncover it. Although this is only revealed at the end of part 3.

The third section involves the point where our tools start to become smarter than us and the conflict between Hal, the created consciousness, and the astronauts. They are both headed towards this third transmission point and end up in a fight for survival of their individual types of consciousness.

Part 4: The astronaut, having defeated HAL, is flung through space [and possibly out of it] at the re emergence of the monolith. So if each appearance of the monolith suggests a leap forward in the evolution of our consciousness, the final segment is his journey through his life as a user of greater technology to his rebirth as a celestial object unto himself. In essence it’s about the next stage in our evolution after our current technological level.

 

Donnie Darko

There’s a boy named Donnie who most people think has trouble telling the difference between what’s real and what’s pretend. He has an imaginary friend who wears a bunny suit, named Frank. Frank takes him for a walk. Frank tells him that the world is going to end. When Donnie goes home it turns out that going on a walk saved his life. By not dying, an alternate reality was made. His doctor gives him medicine to help Donnie tell the difference between real and pretend but instead of getting better, Donnie sees more make believe things. Frank encourages Donnie to do some things that are bad but those bad things turn out to be good for many people. When Donnie did those bad things he only knew about the bad consequences. Frank takes the mask off his bunny suit and it looks like someone hurt his face really bad. Frank tells Donnie that time travel exists. On Halloween, Donnie is walking with a friend and his friend gets hit by a car. The driver who gets out looks like Frank but he doesn’t know Donnie and his face isn’t hurt. Donnie is sad about his friend being hit by a car so he hurts Frank’s face. Donnie knows that today is the day Frank said the world would end. Donnie is sad about all the bad things that happened since going on that walk with Frank, so Donnie sends an airplane back in time to when he went on his walk with Frank. The difference is that this time Donnie didn’t go on a walk with Frank. Instead, Donnie dies. Because of this, the alternate reality with all the bad things is avoided.

bronzestairs 

 

Primer

Two guys abe and aaron build a machine that does some weird science stuff. Abe is able to deduce they’ve built a time travel box. He builds a larger scale box that can fit people and tests this theory over a couple days. He then shows it Aaron (who agrees time travel exists); they decide to keep it secret between themselves.

In their version of time travel, they can only go back as far as when the time travel machine was turned on (this is a huge point). If they turn it on at 10am on 1-1-2013…they can only travel back that far. AND they have to wait however long the machine was running. Thus, if they turn the machine on at 8am, and climb into the box at 8pm (to start their journey back)…they have to wait 12 hours inside the box to travel back to 8am.

The time travel portion of movie takes place over a couple of days. In those days, we see the guys doing their routine: Start machine, go to hotel, look up stocks, turn off machine, travel back in time, make money in stocks……repeat.

Then things go bad. The party incident (we’re not told exactly what happened, but someone ends up in jail or something becuase of a shooting) and Granger (an investor) finds the box, uses it, gets out to early, and becomes sick (ends up in coma, possibly permanently). Things in general are not going well.

Abe, decides to end this. We learn that Abe created a “fail-safe” time machine box before telling Aaron about the time machine. This would allow him to travel back before everything (we saw in the movie) and prevent all the bad things from happening. Sort of like a save point in a video game before you go on a murderous rampage, which enables abe to reset the timeline.

THEN, we learn that Aaron knew about Abe’s fail-safe box, used it to bring back his own machine to create a “master fail-safe”, and created a false fail-safe point for Abe’s box. Thus, Aaron’s “save point” is farther back than Abe’s. So while Abe thinks he’s resetting everything, Aaron is able to prevent that reset. Presumably to keep using the time travel box.

We also learn that the Aaron we’ve been watching (with the earpiece in) is actually the Arron from the future, and he’s using his ipod (and recorded conversations) to know exactly what everyone is going to do. This allows him to steer/control the actions of other people.

The movie ends with Aaron building a huge, room-sized box, presumably to be able to time travel for weeks or months at a time.

 

A Clockwork Orange

The primary message in the movie, again just my opinion, is that to be human is to be free and in being free we are free to make decisions and we are also subject to the consequences of those decisions. So Alex does wrong, Alex goes to prison… whoever, if Alex is unable to chose to do wrong, then there is no reason for him to suffer the consequences of his actions. All is back to normal when Alex’s will is restored and he happily carries on his life of crime (and likely to be subject to the consequences). The movie is disturbing because Alex does not seem to have changed. What gives? Well, this ending keeps the emphasis on free humans being able to make choices.

The movie however leaves out the final chapter of the book, the redemption of Alex. Alex gives up his life of ultra violence and becomes a member and participant of civil society. This is really the “coming of age” theme, that we cannot be forced to mature on someone else’s arbitrarily short schedule but on nature’s schedule for us. The book told the story in 21 chapters, with chapter 21 being this final coming of age realization… it is a nod to the fact that at age 21 we have experimented with the immature ideas of childhood and are now ready to conform to societal norms of our own free will.

RandomExcess

 

The Wall

The Wall (both the album and the movie) is the story of Pink, a guy who builds a wall around himself as a protection against all the bad things that happens to him: the death of his father at war, an overprotective mother, abusive teachers, failed marriage… It’s not a real wall, it’s a symbolic way to show that Pink isolates himself from society, where everything bad experience is “another brick in the wall”, a motivation to isolate himself even further.

But then, Pink realizes the wall is a problem in itself, as it cuts him from reality and isolates him with his amplified obsessions. So Pink has an internal fight against that wall that culminates in a trial, where a judge (all in Pink’s head) orders to tear down the wall.

 

Lost Highway

Fred, the protagonist, is a man with a poor grip on reality. He suspects his wife of cheating on him and murders her. The video tapes (and the ugly guy with the camera) represent the ugly truth. After Fred is arrested he enters a different reality in his own head where everything makes more sense to him. Alice, who of course represents his wife, is a faithless femme fatale who tricks him into doing things he doesn’t really want. Mr. Eddy represents the anger and rage which in the end made him murder his wife and Andy and his house of pronography and debauchery represents the fears Fred had of his wifes infidelity.

Vanilla Sky

Tom Cruise is a millionaire magazine tycoon. He is having a fuckbuddy relationship with Cameron Diaz, a model. Tom inherited the magazine from his father, who gave him a majority ownership in it. Tom is convinced the board members of the company are trying to take the company from him.

Tom meets up with his best friend, an artist who brings a girl hes met to Toms birthday party. Tom immediately falls for the girl his friend brought and they share a moment. Cameron Diaz showed up to the party as well, despite being not invited and Tom feels awkward.

Tom ends up sleeping with the new girl (Penelope Cruz). He is very happy with her. Cameron Diaz meets him after hes left Penelopes apartment and wants to talk, as Tom has apparently withdrawn from their snugglebuddy relationship. Agaisnt better judgement, Tom gets in her car, wherein she flips out and in a crazy suicide attempt crashes her car, killing herself and maiming Toms face.

Tom, now an outcast wears a mask after recovering from the accident. He still runs the company but is losing his grip on it and because of anger over what happened to him, he makes others feel awkward around him, including Penelope. After a blow up night that had Tom yelling at his best friend and passing out in front of Penelopes house, the movie “splits”.

In the real world the next day, Tom gets up, and never sees Penelope again. His company is wrestled back into his control by a man whos job he saved earlier on, and he continues to be a recluse. After ensuring the continuation of his company, Tom kills himself and has himself put into cryogenic stasis until they can fix his face.

In his Lucid Dream state however, he choses the morning after sleeping outside of Penelopes home to begin his “dream life”. Penelope wakes him up the next day. They become very close and over time, Tom has surgeries until he looks like he used to before the car accident. He and Penelope are happy until the dream world, controlled by Toms subconscious, begin to turn against him.

One morning after waking up with Penelope, Tom sees Cameron Diaz instead. He believes she has kidnapped Penelope and in a rage, beats her up and holds her for the police. Later on, after being arrested for the assault, his friends and the police explain it was Penelope he beat up and Tom has a hard time believing it. He meets up with Penelope again, and once again she becomes Cameron. He kills her in a rage and is arrested for murder.

His court appointed psychologist whos deciding whether hes sane enough to stand trial, talks him through all the events, wherein Tom realizes hes in the lucid dream. He is given an option to stay in the dream world, knowing that he can have anything he wants because of his now omnipotent “dream powers” or he can chose to be brought out of stasis in the now far future (relative to when he actually died).

He chooses to awaken

 

The Fountain

The Fountain is a story about mortality, and the two different ways we can react to it.

Tommy Creo is a neuroscientist. His wife, Izzi, whom he loves very much, is dying from an inoperable brain tumor. Tommy is obsessed with finding a way to treat her illness. He’s doing research on a chemical extracted from the bark of a South American tree, injecting it into animal test subjects to see how they respond. He hopes, deep down, that he’ll find a treatment he can give to Izzi to save her life.

Meanwhile, Izzi has a different attitude. She knows she’s going to die; she’s accepted it. Along the way she’s grown interested in different cultures’ ideas of the afterlife. She learns of a Mayan myth of a place called Xibalba, their idea of a sort of heaven or hell, or an underworld. She learns that they associated their myth of Xibalba with a particular object in the night sky, a star surrounded by a fuzzy-looking nebula. The star is unstable, and someday it’ll explode. Izzi likes the idea that this star is the real Xibalba, and in the distant future when it explodes all the souls of the dead will be scattered through the universe to be reborn.

She deals with her mortality by writing a book about Tomas, a Spanish conquistador, and Isabel, the queen of Spain. Isabel’s reign is troubled by an influential priest of the Spanish inquisition. She’s forced by the inquisition to send Tomas on a quest to the New World in search of the Tree of Life, a mythical tree with sap that, when drunk, grants the drinker immortality.

The book is an allegory about Izzi’s life with Tommy. Her illness forces her to put Tommy on a “quest” to find a “tree of life.” But she knows the quest is futile, and all she wants is for Tommy to come home so they can be together for whatever time they have left.

Tommy, in his dreams, sees things differently. He sees himself as a sort of monk, living a life of extreme asceticism in order to ferry Izzi’s soul — trapped in a great, dying tree — to Xibalba so it can be reborn. He struggles to keep her alive just long enough to finish the trip.

As Izzi’s time grows short, she gives Tommy her book, unfinished, in the hopes that it’ll inspire him to stop spending so much time working and just be with her instead. She tells him to write the last chapter for her. But he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get the message. He still sees himself as doing something noble, trying to save Izzi’s life, when in fact he’s neglecting her.

It’s not until after Izzi dies that Tommy understands. In a dream, the two allegories come together: Tom the space-traveler reaches a state of enlightenment, and Tomas the conquistador reaches the Tree of Life. Tomas drinks of the sap and dies, his body falling to the ground and being reborn as a hundred flowering plants. Tom the space-traveler reaches Xibalba, which explodes, scattering his body, and the tree that held Izzi’s soul, through space to be reborn.

Tommy understands at last that life is transient, and that immortality exists, in the sense that we all die and are reborn out of the ground into which we’re buried. Finally having come to terms with this nature of life and death, Tommy goes to Izzi’s grave and plants a tree there, smiling and saying goodbye to her for the last time.

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  • JTMullins

    I stopped reading when the author so badly mangled the plot of 2001 that I became convinced he had not actually seen the film.

  • Muleskinner

    Waste of time and space…