Movies Like The Matrix:
The Matrix made us ask whether the world we live in is real or just a grand simulation. But it is not the only movie to ask us such existential questions. Many other movies in Hollywood have managed to do that.
1. Elysium – Will the Rich always be on top?
Elysium tells the story of Max, a lowly worker who works for one of the factories of the elite rich class down on Earth. In the world of Elysium, the Rich have left the Earth and now live on a high tech space station orbiting the planet. They have found a cure for every disease. They have managed to find the cure for death too. But the elite does not share this technology with everyone. The poor and the underprivileged are forced to work in inhumane conditions, dying by the thousands every day. Max accidentally meets with a fatal dosage of radiation while working in the factory and is given a few days to live. His only hope is the Space Station Elysium which contains the technology to cure him. In the end, Max proliferates the tech to the rest of the world, him-self dying in the process. Elysium makes us think whether the Rich and the Elite will ever give up their power.
2. PI – Can the existence of God be mathematically proven?
The entire movie revolves around the number Pi. The plot tries to help the audiences understand the significance of the fraction of 22/7. The movie itself is a surreal nightmare. It transcends from colour to black and white tone very fast and if you are not bracing yourself, then get ready to enter a state of shock. A Genius level mathematician played by Sean Gullette is trying to find out what the mysterious number of Pi actually means. The lead protagonist intends to find the mathematical proof of the existence of God. He gets so close that even some Men in Black get interested in his research and question him incessantly. Once you watch Pi, you will never look at the number of 3.14 the same way ever again. It is that tipsy.
3. The Adjustment Bureau – Is there a plan for everyone?
David is an aspiring political representative. He is about to win the prestigious seat in the US Senate and become a Senator in the Congress. He meets Elise. Elise is a dancer. Both immediately fall in love. They do not know why they are attracted to each other. But suddenly, a group of mysterious people calling themselves the Adjustment Bureau come forward to keep them separated at all costs. The Adjustment Bureau is basically God’s Henchmen. The movie explains that God has a plan in place for the world and each person is destined to end up the same way as God has planned them to. Elise and David were supposed to end up together in a previous plan before God scrapped it. Elise and David do end up together in the end but the question that is still left unanswered is whether God really does decide our fate him-self.
4. Total Recall – Do we make our memories or do our memories make us?
Douglas is always annoyed with frequent dreams and nightmares. He dreams of being a secret agent working for a clandestine organization. To help himself get rid of his frustrating dream sequences, he visits Rekall. Rekall is a firm that specializes in implanting fake memories. They are very good at what they do. The only problem is – the procedure does not go as planned. Douglas turns out to actually have lived a past life as a secret agent. He has already used a similar procedure to help himself to live a double life. At the end of the movie, we see just how deep this conspiracy goes. Total Recall is a movie that makes us wonder whether we make our memories or is it our memories that make us into what we are?
5. V for Vendetta – Is breaking the law to uphold the law the right thing to do?
V for Vendetta is a very special movie. It has a very powerful ensemble cast that do wonders on screen. In the movie, we see that a totalitarian government has taken over Great Britain. They have turned the entire country into a police state. Everything is under government surveillance. V is one of the lab rats that managed to escape one of the Government’s many top-secret experiments. V is hell-bent on avenging all the wrongs the Government has done. But he is just one man. He takes to a life of illegal vigilantism to make the people listen to him. In the end, V incites a full-blown revolution after it is revealed that it was the same government that released the outbreak that pushed them into power when they promised a cure in the first place. V managed to turn the tables but at a terrible price. In the end, for the purpose of revealing the truth, he chose the wrong ways to do so.
6. Ghost in the Shell – What constitutes a soul?
No, we are not talking about the white-washed travesty that was the 2017 movie of the same name. We are talking about the original anime masterpieces. Ghost In The Shell is a movie where humanity has advanced to the point that each and every organ and limb within the human body can be replaced with cybernetic parts. Major Motoko Kusanagi was once a human. But she is now a full-fledged cybernetic entity. Her consciousness has been transferred to a machine body. Ghost in the Shell was an anime way ahead of its time. It was one of the first works of fiction to question the authenticity of sentience and the human soul.
7. The Fountain – If death is a disease then is there a cure?
Darren Aronofsky is a Director who does not like to squabble. He cuts to the chase and makes movies that implore our artistic and creative faces. Aronofsky’s The Fountain is a movie that has been divided into three parts. The original stars for the movie were Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Both the stars pulled out and Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weiesz were chosen for the role. The Fountain takes us to three different timelines. Jackman plays a Spanish Conquistador in one who is searching for the Tree of Life. In another timeline, he is a doctor desperate to save his wife from cancer. In the third timeline, he plays the role of an astronaut drifting in space. All three timelines answer the question posed in a different manner.
8. Barton Fink – Do stories really have just one conclusion?
Barton Fink is a playwright trying to make it to the Big Leagues in Hollywood. Played by John Torturro, the character is a very lovable and one of the most fan-favorite characters of all time. Fink meets a mysterious hotel owner. The Coen Brothers are known to romance creative chaos. Situations deteriorate quickly and Fink finds himself within a rock and a hard place. The movie makes some very below the belt but on-point jabs at Hollywood and the Film Industry. But it is the ending that captivates you. Barton Fink has one of the greatest endings of all time with the last shot being regarded as one of the greatest conclusions in human history. And like with all Coen Brother movies, they too are open to interpretation.
9. Inception – What is real and what is not?
The principal message of Nolan’s masterpiece of a movie Inception is that – reality is a construct. The beauty of the movie is how simple it makes us understand that what may be real to us may be completely fictional to others. Nolan wanted us to understand that reality was at best – subjective. Dom spins the top in the end and leaves the room. People fixate on the question of whether the top stopped spinning or did it keep moving. But nobody is able to see past the top. If you look in the background, you will see that Dom has already moved out of the room and is playing with his wife and family. He has accepted his reality. Even if it is a dream, he is happy as it is.
10. The Time Machine – Can we ever change our past?
The Time Machine is an unrelenting classic that has escaped the attention of many moviegoers. The special effects, the music, the screenplay, the direction, and the story – everything is top-notch. Guy Pearce plays the lead role of a scientist who invents the time machine to go back to the past and stop the death of his fiancé from happening. Every time he does travel to the past, his wife dies. The scientist realizes that no matter how many times he saves his wife, time corrects itself and kills her off each time. The scientist then travels to the future to see if technology has advanced enough to help him answer the question – why cannot we change the past? The answer lies in the reply Uber Morlock gives. Everything is connected. We will never know why we cannot change the past because if we did, we would have never asked that question. What we can change is the past of our future that is the present.
Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things