Some movies are completely disposable: entertaining in the moment, but forgotten soon afterwards and never considered again.
Other films, however, require a second look. Whether it’s the depth of their characters, the cleverness of a carefully concealed plot twist or simply the presence of some killer gags, certain movies demand to be seen again.
It’s in the spirit of this sort of movie that a Reddit user recently posed the question: What is a movie that after you finished watching it, you went "oh s***" then went back and watched it again to pick up on everything you missed?
The responses are interesting, ranging from beloved classic to intelligent comedies and a selection of the most memorable twists ever committed to celluloid.
All three parts of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy were frequent answers, but it was the 2007 small town cops comedy Hot Fuzz which sparked the discussion of Wright’s movies and was in fact the most upvoted answer on the entire thread. The film, in which Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play reluctant police partners, is packed with foreshadowing as well as endlessly quotable dialogue.
Christopher Nolan was another filmmaker who kept popping up on the thread, with The Prestige a popular choice. It was his time-bending thriller Memento, though, which attracted the most votes. Several users mentioned carrying out their own fan edits of the movie, reshuffling its multi-directional timelines into a linear story.
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“It's not just about a twist,” wrote one fan of the movie, adding: “It's about putting you in this position of intense uncertainty so you can feel this tense, otherwise unrelatable point of view and tell a unique story from it.”
Laika’s creepy animation “hits different with every watch” according to the Reddit user who suggested it as a movie primed for a second look. There’s no doubt that the movie is a visual feast of detail which leaps out on every subsequent viewing.
It’s also true, of course, that Coraline is exceptionally scary. Nobody who has seen the film can forget the Other Mother in a hurry. Consider everybody’s dreams thoroughly haunted.
The Usual Suspects
It’s very tainted now due to the presence of Kevin Spacey, but The Usual Suspects culminates in one of the most memorable twist endings ever seen on the big screen. It’s no surprise that Christopher McQuarrie — who would go on to point a camera at Tom Cruise jumping off things — won an Oscar for the screenplay, which was only his second produced movie.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jim Carrey’s dramatic movies have largely been mind-bending, unusual affairs and that’s certainly the case with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from 2004. Penned by master of the bizarre Charlie Kaufman, it tells the non-linear story of a couple who erase themselves from each other’s memories.
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“This is a personal favourite. There's so many subtle pieces to it that I didn't catch until the nth viewing,” wrote one fan.
The Truman Show
Other than the aforementioned Eternal Sunshine, Carrey’s most beloved non-comedy role is as the central figure in the delightfully conceived satire The Truman Show. He is terrific as a happy-go-lucky man who learns his entire life is a simulation designed for a television audience.
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A fan of the movie told Reddit he turned into a “paranoid nutter” as a result of fear he was in the same predicament as Truman. Another said they “could write entire essays on this movie” and the little tidbits audiences miss at the first time of asking.
The Matrix is quite simply a cultural phenomenon, with a fourth chapter now on the way starring everyone’s favourite movie star — Keanu Reeves — once again. And naturally, its knotty plot questioning the very nature of reality is complex enough to have people coming back for second and third viewings.
“Watched it the first time. Blew up my reality. Watched it again to confirm,” writes one Reddit user, putting things into perspective pretty nicely.
Anyone would be forgiven for having questions when the credits roll on the noughties oddity Donnie Darko. It’s a movie which almost dares the audience to be confused, encouraging them to pop the DVD back in the player and watch its unravelling nightmare all over again.
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One poster on the Reddit thread admitted they “still don’t think I know what really happens in the movie”. Another suggested that the movie is just as enjoyable even if you don’t understand the plot. “There's just something about the movie that, even if you don't really ‘get’ it, leaves you feeling really unsettled and disturbed,” they wrote.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
One of the less well-known movies on this list, the bizarre horror-comedy Tucker and Dale vs. Evil takes the tropes of the ‘cabin in the woods’ horror movie and throws them into a wood-chipper. It’s the enjoyable tale of a pair of well-meaning hillbillies who unwittingly convince a group of teens that they’re out for blood.
The film might lack a big twist — its central conceit is clear from the beginning — but there’s a joy in going back to trace the anatomy of the various misunderstandings. “Realising what is actually happening was one of the greatest film watching experiences I’ve had,” wrote one person in the thread.
Martin Scorsese’s psycho-noir, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is one of the entries on this list which hinges on an enormous climactic twist. Naturally, the weight of this twist is so huge that it immediately sends fans back to see how cleverly the revelation was seeded throughout the narrative.
“It's so well made that you can watch it even if you already know the ending, and still enjoy it,” one fan wrote. Another added that Ben Kingsley’s performance takes on a whole new dimension on a second viewing.