I'm guessing that "Inception" would feature high up in a later list of most confusing films of all time given the results of a poll conducted by European Netflix equivalent LoveFilm. As voted by subscribers of the DVD service, "Vanilla Sky" has apparently perplexed more film fans than "Mulholland Drive," "Donnie Darko," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," all of which were included in the top ten. LoveFilm editor Helen Crowley recognized a trend in the results: "It's clear that dreaming is the biggest cause of confusion for viewers. Switching from reality to dream sequences pulls the wool over our eyes and leaves us searching for the truth."
So "Inception" must not have qualified yet, as its dream-based plot is puzzling many moviegoers lately. Christopher Nolan was represented, though, with "Memento." Surprisingly, "Eternal Sunshine" was the only Charlie Kaufman-scripted film rated. Maybe not enough people have rented "Synecdoche, New York" across the pond. David Lynch also shockingly only had one title represent his consistently enigmatic work, while Stanley Kubrick managed a second film on the list, "A Clockwork Orange." I'm not sure what's so confusing about that one. Meanwhile, where's the Jodorowsky? And my girlfriend would probably kill me if I didn't mention one of her current obsessions, "Triangle." I doubt enough people have seen either that or "El Topo" to have them impacting polls.
Here are the full results of the poll:
1. "Vanilla Sky"
2. "Mulholland Drive"
3. "Donnie Darko"
4. "The Matrix Revolutions"
6. "12 Monkeys"
7. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
8. "2001: A Space Odyssey"
10. "A Clockwork Orange"
I tend to wonder about movies that really confuse people if some of it has to do with bad direction. At least for mainstream movies that aren't intended to totally befuddle moviegoers. You might argue instead that it's the viewer's fault much of the time. The word "moron" unfortunately comes into play a lot in forums debating lists like this. I'll admit though that "Primer" always makes me feel stupid more than it makes me feel purposefully confused. Alas, that's another movie likely too little seen to make the list.
Here's a related poll/list I came across this morning: 10 most shocking plot twists. Unlike the Telegraph, I won't include the spoilers in the results, even if most are old enough to be common knowledge (which I think hurts "Psycho" in polls like this):
1. "The Sixth Sense"
3. "The Usual Suspects"
4. "The Empire Strikes Back"
6. "Fight Club"
7. "The Wicker Man"
8. "The Others"
10. "Planet of the Apes"
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