20 Extraordinary Movies That Create Ambiguity

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Here are some movies that have a philosophy and images that are difficult to understand. The sorting is done by their imdb points and all the information about the movies are taken from rottentomatoes.com and imdb.com

20. L'annulaire (The Ring Finger) (2005) | IMDb 6.2

image.toutlecine.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411117/

20 year old Iris works at a beverage company and has to leave her work when she loses a part of her ring finger during work. To find a new job and forget about her bad days, she moves to a coastal town and immediately looks for a job. After a while, she finds a job in an odd laboratory as an assistant. The laboratory serves its customers by hiding things that they have trouble throwing away. Iris gradually enters into a troubled relationship with her boss.

  Audience Review:  Has both an eccentric sensibility and, ultimately a spiritual quality that should have audiences debating the final scene for hours.

19. Youth Without Youth (2007) | IMDb 6.3

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0481797/

Christmas Eve, 1937, Piatra Neamt, Romania: Dominic Matei, a 70 year old professor, contemplates suicide. The love of his life is dead, and he remains unable to complete his life's work on the origins of language. On April 24th 1938 he takes a train to Bucharest to kill himself, but suddenly he's struck by lightning. After a slow recovery in a hospital, he miraculously grows younger and gains superhuman powers. WWII breaks out and Romania's fascist dictator Ion Antonescu cooperates with Adolf Hitler. Matei must escape to Switzerland, because Nazi scientists want to use his powers...Some years later, he meets a woman who has her own passage through a lightning storm. Not only does Dominic find love again, but her new abilities hold the key to his research...Coppola's adaptation of Mircea Eliade's mysterious novella is a surreal, romantic, melancholic and humorous journey to the outer limits of space, time and identity. Dreams become reality and reality feels like a dream...

Audience Review : Although it's easy to admire what [Coppola] was attempting to do with Youth Without Youth, the movie fails on such a thorough and complete level that to call it a noble attempt isn't really fair: It's really a colossal miscalculation.

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18. The Tree of Life (2011) | IMDb 6.7

www.cinemavistodame.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/

From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life

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17. Enemy (2013) | IMDb 6.8

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2316411/

Adam Bell is a Toronto area History college professor. He is a rather somber man, largely because he is stuck in a routine, which includes a relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Mary. While watching a rental movie, he spots an actor in a bit part that looks like him. He becomes obsessed with finding out about this double of his. He learns that the actor's stage name is Daniel Saint Claire, whose legal name is Anthony Claire. Claire is a Toronto based actor with only a few on-screen credits, and is married to a woman named Helen who is currently several months pregnant. Adam then becomes obsessed with meeting Claire, who he learns upon first sighting that they look exactly the same, from the facial hair to a scar each has, but Claire who outwardly is more "put together" than Adam. Their lives become intertwined as Claire himself ends up becoming obsessed with Adam, but in a slightly different way.

Audience Review : A spooky enigma, more ponderous than provocative, more silly than suspenseful

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16. Tiangle (2009) | IMDb 6.9

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1187064/

The story revolves around the passengers of a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas.

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15. Holy Motors (2012) | IMDb 7.1

www.highlycontrasting.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2076220/

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man... He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part - but where are the cameras? Monsieur Oscar is alone, accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He's like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives. But where is his true home, his family, his rest?

Audience Review : By the time this film's over, you're shaken, intrigued and reminded that art doesn't need to add up to be entrancing.

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14. Eraserhead (1977) | IMDb 7.4

affordablepoverty.files.wordpress.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074486/

A film that defies conventional logic and storytelling, fueled by its dark nightmarish atmosphere and compellingly disturbing visuals. Henry Spencer is a hapless factory worker on his vacation when he finds out he's the father of a hideously deformed baby. Now living with his unhappy, malcontent girlfriend, the child cries day and night, driving Henry and his girlfriend to near insanity.

Audience Review : Lynch, as he does with all his films, refuses to explain anything, although he does say that he has yet to read an interpretation that matches his.

13. The Fountain (2006) | IMDb 7.4

fc05.deviantart.net

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414993/

Three stories - one each from the past, present, and future - about men in pursuit of eternity with their love. A conquistador in Mayan country searches for the tree of life to free his captive queen; a medical researcher, working with various trees, looks for a cure that will save his dying wife; a space traveler, traveling with an aged tree encapsulated within a bubble, moves toward a dying star that's wrapped in a nebula; he seeks eternity with his love. The stories intersect and parallel; the quests fail and succeed.

Audience Review: Perhaps in twenty more years or so, [The Fountain] will be recognized for the utterly gorgeous masterpiece that it is.

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12. Reconstruction (2003) | IMDb 7.5

filmhafizasi.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0366943/

Late one evening, Alex suddenly abandons his girlfriend, Simone, to follow the beautiful Aimee. In his encounter with Aimee, time and place dissolve for him and he becomes a stranger to Simone, towards whom he cannot return. Alex's future is Aimee's love. But will he have the courage to embrace it? A psychological romantic drama, about a man, who forgets about his past and must put his faith in love, in order to gain a future.

Audience Review : This is Boe's first full-length film, but he already works the art form like a master. He proves he understands love lost and the hungry yearning burning inside love found.

11. Cloud Atlas (2012) | IMDb 7.6

www.macleans.ca

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111/

Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. Each member of the ensemble appears in multiple roles as the stories move through time. 

Audience Review : Whatever your age, even if life is an ocean made up of many drops, you may resolve that life is too short for this errant nonsense.

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10. Lost Highway (1997) | IMDb 7.7

replikler.net

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116922/

Set in a city suspiciously like Los Angeles, both blazingly modern and resolutely retro in look and feel. A jazz musician, tortured by the notion that his wife is having an affair, suddenly finds himself accused of her murder. In a parallel story, a young mechanic is drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend. These two tales are linked by the fact that both women may, in fact, be the same woman. The men are also connected by a mysterious turn of events that calls into question their very identities.

Audience Review : Beyond subversive and downright ahead of its time.

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9. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003) | IMDb 8.1

www.filmmisery.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374546/

South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk directs the chamber drama Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring. Made up of five segments (in keeping with its title), the movie is set entirely on a tiny monastery floating in a lake surrounded by mountains and trees. "Spring" starts with a young monk (Seo Jae-gyeong) learning from an old monk (Oh Yeong-su). "Summer" involves the monk as a young man (Kim Yeong-min), exploring love and sex with a young woman (Ha Yeo-jin), who spends a short time at the monastery in order to heal. The director plays the monk himself as an angry adult in "Fall" and again as he redeems himself in "Winter." In the final segment, "Spring," a new baby is left at the monastery to start the story over again

Audience Review : A balm for the soul and a reminder that even in the frenetic city, the cosmos has its own steady pendulum

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8. Mulholland Dr. (2001) | IMDb 8.0

www.sivrisinema.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166924/

Along Mulholland Drive nothing is what it seems. In the unreal universe of Los Angeles, the city bares its schizophrenic nature, an uneasy blend of innocence and corruption, love and loneliness, beauty and depravity. A woman is left with amnesia following a car accident. An aspiring young actress finds her staying in her aunt's home. The puzzle begins to unfold, propelling us through a mysterious labyrith of sensual experiences until we arrive at the intersection of dreams and nightmares.

Audience Review : Don't try to understand the movie, you'll go nuts.

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7. Brazil (1985) | IMDb 8.0

bergamotalley.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088846/

Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill's lives are put in danger.

Audience Review : [A] darkly funny and truly visionary retro-futurist fantasy.

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6. Donnie Darko (2001) | IMDb 8.1

www.thetowerpulse.net

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0246578/

Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank - a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie's escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie's mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure. 

Audience Review : Defines itself through sustained mood, otherworldly intrigue and deep, abiding humanism.

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5. Solaris (1972) | IMDb 8.1

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069293/

The Solaris mission has established a base on a planet that appears to host some kind of intelligence, but the details are hazy and very secret. After the mysterious demise of one of the three scientists on the base, the main character is sent out to replace him. He finds the station run-down and the two remaining scientists cold and secretive. When he also encounters his wife who has been dead for ten years, he begins to appreciate the baffling nature of the alien intelligence

Audience Review : It's a smart response to the superficial excesses of the sci-fi genre

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4. Blade Runner (1982) | IMDb 8.2

schmoesknow.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/

In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants - artificially created humanoids with short, fixed lifespans - which are illegal on Earth but are used in the off-world colonies. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specializes in terminating replicants. He is forced to come out of retirement when four replicants escape from an off-world colony and come to Earth.

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3. Persona (1966) | IMDb 8.2

www.deep-focus.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060827/

A young nurse, Alma, is put in charge of Elisabeth Vogler: an actress who is seemingly healthy in all respects, but will not talk. As they spend time together, Alma speaks to Elisabeth constantly, never receiving any answer. Alma eventually confesses her secrets to a seemingly sympathetic Elisabeth and finds that her own personality is being submerged into Elisabeth's persona.

Audience Review : Bergman blends a theatrical subjectivity with a tactile visual intimacy, with his characters, the objects close at hand, and the superb coastal landscape.

www.theatredelaquarium.net

2. Stalker (1979) | IMDb 8.3

alexkittle.com

Stalker
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079944/

Near a gray and unnamed city is the Zone, an alien place guarded by barbed wire and soldiers. Over his wife's objections, a man rises in the early morning and leaves her with their disabled daughter to meet two men. He's a Stalker, one of a handful who have the mental gifts (and who risk imprisonment) to lead people into the Zone to the Room, a place where one's secret hopes come true. His clients are a burned out popular writer, cynical, and questioning his talent; and a quiet scientist more concerned about his knapsack than the journey. In the deserted Zone, the approach to the Room must be indirect. As they draw near, the rules seem to change and the stalker faces a crisis.

Audience Review : Not an easy film, but almost certainly a great one.

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1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) | IMDb 8.3

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2001: A Space Odyssey
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/

 "2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be.

Audience Review : With its breathtaking photography and a still-unparalleled sense of wonder, the film demonstrated Kubrick's single-minded focus to inspire awe in his audience.

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