A Machinist is someone who uses tools to make parts of machines. The ‘Machinist’, however is a film about a patient of chronic insomnia for spirals between dreams, hallucinations, reality, paranoia and insanity (No, I do not know why people take pleasure in creating such films)
The film stars Christian Bale who has been admired and praised for his incredibly committed performance. (Bale lost 28 kilograms of body weight just to remain true to his character) The film is a blur to the senses. It isn’t until the very end that we are able to make sense of the plot. The hallmark of all good psychological thrillers.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko stars Jake Glynhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and Maggie Glynhaal. It’s about a troubled teenager who begins having visions of a rabbit called Frank (a very frightening and oddly large, human-like rabbit) who gives him doomsday warnings. The troubled teenager is further manipulated by this horrendous figure into committing crimes of various proportions.
This film was one of those which were not a success at the box-office but were recommended by most people soon after it’s unofficial internet and official DVD release. This film is loaded with symbolism and suggestive imagery. It is also regarded the most confusing film to watch.
What happens when Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio decide to make a psychological thriller? They create the most scenic and most melodramatic psychological thriller yet. Shutter Island is about a mystery, a hospital or a facility for the insane, strange experiments and a wonderful climax.
Martin Scorsese knows how to make a good film. Shutter Island also relies heavily on the acting prowess of Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Usually, we when we tell a story, it proceeds with time. Of course, Christopher Nolan has no regard for chronology and so he decided to confuse us with ‘Memento’. Memento is in essence, the film that brought Christopher Nolan to the limelight. It’s based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan’s short story “Memento Mori”. It stars Guy Pearce,Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano. The film shows us the story of a man on a quest to find the murderer of his wife. A story in bits and pieces, and sometimes in reverse. Watching the puzzle assemble in front of our eyes is a fest in itself. The film also won two Academy Awards and rightly so.
Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company. It shows us the two halves of a person, the yin and the yang, and how they co-exist seamlessly to create an individual. But what were to happen if the yin and the yang decided to revolt against each other’s very nature? Natalie Portman exhibits phenomenal acting skills in this film. It’s a mind bender, but a beautiful one.
Jacob’s Ladder is a 1990 American psychological horror film directed by Adrian Lyne, written and produced by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña and Danny Aiello. The film is about the struggles of a Vietnam veteran with his post-traumatic-stress-disorder. But the film isn’t as straightforward. It is presented to us in the way a person experiences PTSD. Which proves to be harrowing. Although the members of this generation may not find it as confusing as would those who have a few decades to their credit, the film is still worth a watch.
The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American psychological thriller film that was written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. The film traces the life of a group of friends right from childhood and explains how a simple change in the fabric of the space time continuum can lead to disastrous consequences. How a single change in one of the defining moments of your past can lead to everlasting changes in your future. It’s one of those films, which you wouldn’t want to watch alone. It requires a bit of discussion once the credits begin rolling.
The Game is a 1997 American mystery thriller film directed by David Fincher, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, and produced by Propaganda Films and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment. This one is my personal favourite. The life of an investment banker is thrown into chaos once he is invited to play a vicious and frighteningly mysterious game. The touch of mystery makes this film what it is. As well as power-packed performances from Michael Douglas and Sean Penn.
Seven is a 1995 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher, and stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, R. Lee Ermey and Kevin Spacey. This film has a alluring and a very impressive star cast. The story traces a serial killer who uses the seven Biblical sins to kill his victims and it lies in the hands of two detectives, a rookie and a veteran to hunt him down. Although not completely bizarre, this film is definitely beautiful. Perfectly suited for a day when you are in a vengeful mood.
Karthik Calling Karthik
Although it’s not very common for Bollywood to venture out of its comfort zone, there is certainly a film which is worthy of being on this list. Farhan Akhtar plays the lead in this 2010 Indian psychological drama thriller film, written and directed by Vijay Lalwani. It starts out like a typical and a very ordinary film, but as time passes, it gets better. It’s Bollywood’s best attempt at a mind bender and deserves a watch.