I'm a movie junkie. I love films, especially indie ones that made me think. Science fiction and psychological thriller are two of my most favorite genre to watch. I'm also a huge fan of Christopher Nolan, of his movie "Inception" so you know what kind of films I'd look out for. Lately, I've been watching a lot (and by a lot, I mean a lot) of films because I need to expand my list and so far, I have found five indie films I'd recommend to everybody unless of course you don't like to do some massive thinking from watching films.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Directed and written by Richard Kelly
Donnie Darko is a cult favorite. It's an old yet classic science fiction film starring Jake Gyllenhaal when he was an adorable little fetus. Set in October 2, 1988, the story follows around the titular character played by Gyllenhaal as he deals with his doomsday related visions. It all began when Donnie was first visited by a mysterious someone dressed in monstrous rabbit costume who told him that the world is coming to an end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. This deus ex machina encounter will then shape the following remaining days as Donnie began to unravel the possibility of time travel and potential existence of a parallel universe. It's a fairly difficult film to understand or at least that's how it was for me. There is, however, a whole site dedicated to explaining the theoretical scientific analysis of what actually happened in Donnie Darko and the universe in it so unless you have watched this, please do not spoil yourself by reading this site.
The Double (2013)
Directed by Richard Ayoade | Written by Richard Ayoade & Avi Korine
I first mentioned Ayoade's film "Submarine" in this post and if you're not someone who'd watch coming of age film, you should try The Double which is a black comedy, psychological thriller film based on the novella of the same name written by Fyodor Dostoyvesky. Starring Jesse Eisenberg as Simon James the awkward office worker who has a crush on his co-worker (played by Mia Wasikowska), this is a story of a man driven to psychological breakdown when his position is seemingly overthrown by his doppelganger (played by Eisenberg himself), a living breathing clone who is physically identical to him but harbors a completely different personality. This is a dark film with a confusing plot that made you question about what is it that has truly happened; was everything simply a manifestation of Simon's mind? The answer is for you to decide. It is, after all, a film with open-ended ending that leads to limitless analysis.
Directed and Written by The Spierig Brothers
If I were to name one other science fiction film that would stand on par with Christopher Nolan's Inception, I'd gladly push Predestination into your list. Categorized as a science fiction mystery thriller, Predestination is based on a 1959 short story, "All You Zombies" by Robert A. Heinlein, the film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor as The Barkeep, John / Jane and Mr. Robertson respectively. Similar to Donnie Darko, Predestination is a film about a time traveling agent who first started the movie by disarming a bomb or at least, he tried to before it failed and he had to be send back for recovery before being send back in action to complete his final mission. Although this film can be extremely confusing, I personally think you'd be able to construct the timeline and its arrangement of events if you were to carefully recall every bits and pieces. It's not a difficult film, it's just a very intelligent film. Also, this is probably the first film I watched to have feature an intersex character so that's pretty interesting.
Upstream Color (2013)
Directed and Written by Shane CarruthUpstream Color is basically a Shane Carruth artwork in which he did most of the things, from writing to directing, producing and designing, editing and composing as well as casting and starring in it. You may have heard of Carruth from his 2004 debut sci-fi, time traveling film "Primer." In Upstream Color, Carruth returned with a sci-fi drama film about two individuals whose lives have been affected by a complex parasite. The parasite itself has a three-stage life cycle starting from humans to pigs to orchids and when ingested, can cause the host to be induced with hypnotic susceptibility and suggestible mental state, a condition easily exploited by an unknown kidnapper. The experience brought two individuals, a man (played by Carruth) and woman (played by Amy Siemetz) together as they began to experience a telepathic connection towards each other as well as the organism's new host. The film itself is an artistic piece that does not carry a lot of dialog so everything is portrayed in a metaphorical sense where you have to dig deep for what it's worth.
Directed and Written by Darren Paul Fisher
One of the best science fiction romance films that I have ever watched, Frequencies (also known as OXV: The Manual) is a 2013 independent British film about a world where human's worth and emotional connections are determined based on the set frequencies they are born with. These set frequencies are numbers which will determine a person's luck and success; higher frequency = better luck = more success = less feelings. In a world where numbers shape a human's worth, emotion and relationship, a low frequency born named Isaac-Newton Midgeley (played by Daniel Fraser) has the will to change his fate and start a relationship with a high frequency born savant Marie-Curie Fortune (played by Eleanor Wyld) whose nickname is "The Machine" due to her extremely high frequency count. In a way, this film reminds me of Romeo & Juliet in which love between two individuals of different hierarchy is considered impossible. But, on a bigger picture, this film makes me think about our free will as human beings and whether or not love is a choice or fate. It also makes me think about MBTI personalities which is quite...odd but whatever, right. It's definitely something everyone should be watching and don't worry, it's nothing confusing.
Have you watched any of this film? Do you have a favorite science fiction or indie film?