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Top 5 Thought Provoking Films

Updated on January 26, 2012

The best films, in my opinion, are those that leave you a little stunned at the end, perhaps accompanied by a contemplative feeling. They're the types of films that give you the sense of being there, or seem to give you a sort of tunnel vision - reality doesn't matter while your eyes are fixed to the screen, and the deep messages being conveyed. Now, without trying to sound pompous, there are a lot of people in this world who are easily drawn into films with little substance to them, who know nothing of what I am talking about. Those of you who understand what I mean, well, will know what I mean, and that's why i'm writing this.

I find myself awake at night, contemplating existence and life for literally hours on end. I found that meditation, deep conversations, and reading books to be excellent ways to stimulate and expand these thoughts, but let's face it, we don't always want to do that. Films are an excellent way to dig deep into your mind, while keeping you awake and entertained, but finding the right one is key. The following are films that have ingrained themselves in my head, and I find myself constantly referring like-minded people to them. They are in no particular order.

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

To be honest, there isn't much to be said of Koyaanisqatsi. It's definitely an art film, with absolutely no dialogue. It uses various imagery of contemporary Earth, alongside a powerful musical score, to make one really look at what they're seeing.

Koyaanisqatsi, in this individuals' eye, is about pure emotion. Images of industrial parks, shopping malls, and roadways are only some of what Koyaanisqatsi provides to the viewer, yet if you let yourself be enveloped by the film, you hardly notice the simplicity of it. Koyaanisqatsi translates as "life out of balance," so naturally the feelings you may get from this film may not exactly give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but rather one of a greater realization of things, or perhaps a new perspective on the little blue ball we live on.

Anyone who has stopped to really examine the fabric of life must watch this film - again, and again, and again.

Into The Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is a favourite of the many loners out there in the world. Though many people in general like it, I believe it really speaks to those of us with wanderlust, and a thirst for new and profound discoveries about life. It is the film that drove me to hitchhiking, and long-term travel.

It has been criticized by many as glorifying a life bound to really go nowhere (financially, really!) but you generally find that those many are essentially what the film, and the main character are really against - that is a simplistic and commercialistic lifestyle.The film isn't biased, as it shows various down-sides to the vagabonding/ditch-your-life attitude, and it is left up the the viewer to decide what was right, and what was wrong.

Into the Wild hits close to the heart for all us travellers in this world, and is a good reminder to us that we are never stuck anywhere in life, we really are free spirits in this world, and happiness can be found just about anywhere.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now is dark in just about every possible way. Besides the well done action scenes that attract many, the underlying philosophical journey is what attracts those looking for the deeper meaning. On the outside, the story revolves around an American G.I., journeying by boat into the deepest reaches of Vietnam, on a black ops mission. In this respect, the movie excels, but is nothing close to the dark journey unfolding in the mind of the protagonist, as the world becomes darker, colder, and as his boat winds its way up the solitary river to his target.

I can't say how many of us in this world can say we know how the character feels, or can at least relate to his questions and thought-process, it's even difficult to explain what I mean by that. For those with a more profound dark side to their personalities, this is a very satisfying film.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

I shouldn't even have to introduce 2001: A Space Odyssey. For a film made in 1968 alone, it's absolutely breathtaking. The visuals, the overall quiet and extended scenes almost lull one into a meditative state - not to mention the haunting musical score.

2001 takes place on a space-ship destined to Mars, to investigate an artificial object of Alien origin. There are very few new locations in this film, and it relies heavily on imagery and the overall emotion of everything that is happening. There isn't much dialogue either, except for what's needed (Very refreshing), but everything about this film is so perfect that it doesn't matter in the slightest. From a layman's point of view, in terms of reviewing and describing films, it's very hard to describe the feeling one gets from really watching 2001.

Anyone who has ever pondered existence, even in the slightest, needs to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Man From Earth (2007)

The Man From Earth is by far the most interesting and thought-provoking film I have ever seen. The story is actually fairly simple, involving a man telling his friends about his past, all 14,000 years of it. The film takes place literally inside a cabin, with no flashbacks, fancy special effects, none of that stuff. That's enough to dissuade many right there, but for those with the 'thinking' mind, it's barely even noticeable.

The entire movie is dialogue. Personally, I find that a film that can receive such great reviews, purely from a solid script, is the ideal film. I see too many movies that rely on CGI and over-the-top action as the base of their attraction - I can't sit through those at all.

The Man From Earth gives deep thinkers a happy place to mellow out in during the duration of the film, and leaves one with an overall sense of happiness, long after it ends. I cannot recommend this film enough!

Final Thoughts

These are my personal thought provoking favourites. I have many others, each excellent in their own way, so picking a top five really made me have to think hard about each - and thus made me appreciate them even more.


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