Movies are made to be enjoyed. But some prefer to mess around with you before a final kick in the nuts.
These are the films that are either complicated by nature that they’re not the easiest to understand. Or they have so much going on for them that they instantly need a second look before we can really begin to judge their merit. So here’s some movies you sould watch twice for a better understanding of their brilliance or at least their damned plot.
Nolan’s first film based on accurate events still retained the director’s trademark of somehow capturing subjectivity on film. With multiple timelines that ebb and flow amongst one another, a first viewing is great to get a feel for the events.
But it’s a bit confusing because apart from snippets of text that warn the audience that the three storylines are simultaneous yet apart, there are not many clues about how far back ahead or behind we really are.
A second viewing is great if you’re accustomed to the films beats and want a slightly more serene experience. Or as serene as a film about the horror of WWII can get.
#2 Fight Club
Let’s get this one out of the way.
Yes, Tyler Durden and the narrator are the same person. But even when you know that there’s more than enough “Oooooh” moments to go around.
Apart from Fincher’s visual trickery, each line of dialogue becomes infinitely more interesting. Every moment the narrator spends on screen with himself much more sinister. And every interaction with Marla sympathetic – because we do eventually realize how much it must suck being in love with an outrageously crazy nut-job who doesn’t remember what he said to you ten minutes ago.
“What just happened?” is this film’s proud and enduring battlecry. If not smarter, definitely more complicated than any other film on this list, it’s more a movie that needs to be understood after multiple viewings.
With an experimental plot structure revolving around time travel, the movie looks at two men whose time travel machine results in creating multiple versions of themselves that interact in different ways leading to irreparable damage to their respective timelines.
We’ve watched it twice, we’ve watched it thrice. We’re bound to get it soon.
#4 Shutter Island
Scorcese’s film isn’t particularly complicated, there’s one big “Oh” twist right at the end with horrifying implications. But if there’s any merit to watching it twice it’s for Mark Ruffalo’s performance. Criminally underrated, he delivers a convincing performance as a detective. But an even better one as a doctor pretending to be a detective.
Every moment that passes between the two male leads drips with anticipation on a second viewing as you come to realize that everyone in the institution is both terrified and intrigued by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Andrew Laeddis.
#5 The Shining
The Shining perfected “creepy” in a way few films before it could ever manage. Atmospheric and tense, it’s worth watching twice if only for Kubrik’s weird foreshadowing hidden throughout the film. There’s nothing quite like the tiny hints you can catch once you know just how the film is supposed to end.
One if the most critiqued and overanalysed films of all time, The Shining holds up better than most after a second visit. Especially because the ending in no way reduces the film’s tension.
#6 Primal Fear
Hey look, Edward Norton is pretending to be two people again.
Primal Fear is a courtroom drama where a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder has murdered an Archbishop but his more innocent alter ego wasn’t aware of his actions. Hinging completely on Edward Norton’s performance and consummate baby face, the film’s final reveal is that it was all an act. The innocent choir boy didn’t exist at all and all along, he’s been a full aware murderer.
Knowing this, watching the film again is creepy as hell. Because every time he begs the court to sympathise with him, you know he’s lying and there’s nothing you or they can do about it.
Time travel films make for great double viewings and this is a cult classic that has earned its place on every pretentious film list, including this one.
Predestination follows a time detective trying to recruit a young man. This you man turns out to be a young woman who turns out to be a whole bunch of things as this film tastefully reveals. The movie is about a time loop that closes in on itself and it’s worth watching once to get a handle on the story.
The second viewing is solely to appreciate the emotion and tragedy in a film about high concept science fiction.
#8 The Prestige
A constant talking point amongst Nolan fans, the Prestige remains one of the director’s most enduring works.
Another film with a good old-fashioned last-minute reveal, the Prestige has to have the most obvious signs that point to the big twist at the end. Or at least obvious when you take the film out for a second spin.
Darren Aronofsky’s latest release, Mother! is as heavy as it is divisive. It merges themes of environmental conservation along with constant references to the Bible and creation.
It’s also completely nuts. The film was technically a flop because audiences were annoyed at how pretentious it was in parts but mainly because the marketing and the trailer were incredibly vague and misleading. But whether good or bad, nobody can deny how truly interesting it is to watch.
#10 The Machinist
This film is a deep well of misery, cruelty and disturbing imagery. The aftermath of a gruesome crime leads one blue collar worker down a dangerous path. Trying desperately to figure out who exactly did kill the child that seems to be haunting him throughout the film.
Scattered with hints about the film’s final reveal, the Machinist uncovers the deepest recesses of guilt and how far someone might go to preserve his sense of identity.
A second take gives you a better perspective and turns the film’s main character into someone you loathe but still sympathise with.