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There isn’t a strict definition of what really makes a trippy movie. I guess it is a rather subjective category, one that every film fan must create for himself. However, there are some common denominators that make us call a film "trippy." It is important for a movie to create this weird atmosphere, a strange and mysterious veil that surrounds the plot itself. So, here are some of the best trippy movies on Netflix.
Mr. Nobody (2009)
Set in the future, year 2092, this film tells us a story of the title character, Mr. Nobody (Nemo as he was known as a child) who is the oldest person on Earth. It is a story where our dear Mr. Nobody (played by Jared Leto) chooses not to decide between staying with his father or his mother, which leads to many alternate futures and possibilities. Mr. Nobody makes you question your own destiny and free will, all the while letting you enjoy some breathtaking shots of the envisioned future as well as warming tales about love and humanity.
You might wonder what is a documentary doing on a list of best trippy movies, but make no mistake, this fantastic visual delight of a film will keep you engaged till the end better than most of the movies regardless of genre. Director Ron Fricke (you should also check out Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi) filmed this movie for five years in over 20 locations in the world. It is filmed in 70 mm and uses slow-motion and fast forward techniques to help us fully understand the beauties of this world. There is no narrative, only the sound of music and life itself. Fricke shows us contrast in a way of life across the world, with images of tribes, modern cities, animal farms, artists and still nature.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Sex, orgies and Nicole Kidman. What more can a man want from a movie? In this classic flick, one of the Hollywood’s most prized directors, Stanley Kubrick, leads us into the passionate and somewhat disturbing world of sexual fantasies and the human psyche. Through the movie we follow a married couple as they discover hidden parts of their sexuality which leads husband, played by Tom Cruise, to experiment and search for some pleasurable experience outside his marriage. He ultimately finds himself in an orgy party with other masked men and women and from there on things start going downhill as he begins to question the morality of his actions, followed by some very strange occurrences and events.
Lars von Trier engages in many different topics in Antichrist. He makes us deal with grief, disappointment, insanity, love. The very opening scene is a masterpiece in itself, showing a couple having sex in slow-motion while their baby overcomes the obstacles in front of it to get to the window of the apartment and jump out to its ultimate demise. Faced with this horrible tragedy the couple decides to go to a cabin in the woods to try to compose themselves and revive the love they once had. In the woods, many strange things happen that put this film in our trippy movies category.
The Machinist (2004)
Seeing Christian Bale looking like a freaky skeleton is trippy enough, but this film also gives you an insight into the problems that might arise with too many sleepless nights. Our main character, a machinist in some factory, suffers from intolerable insomnia that causes him to dramatically lose weight and slowly slip out of reality. It’s a story about a schizophrenic and paranoid man trying to find out who is after him and why. I guess that after not sleeping for a year this is a somewhat logical turn of events, so if you allow yourself to be drawn into his world, a truly trippy experience awaits you.
John Dies at the End (2012)
Yes, a cartoon. Yes, a Disney cartoon. Yes, it was made before WW2 even ended. So? What’s the problem? Everyone who ever saw any of these older Disney movies knows that they are very trippy movies, especially if you watch them as an adult. When you are a kid you already have a wild imagination, so you don’t notice this. Dumbo, for example, could also be on this list, but Fantasia is special because it is the first cartoon or animated movie ever with classical music incorporated as a big part of it. That is really the important thing here since there is no plot, no dialog, just a series of stories, some of them pretty surreal, accompanied by the works of classical Western composers performed by Philadelphia Orchestra. A truly timeless gem.
From the writer of Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh, comes another novel that serves as an inspiration for a movie. This time, it’s filthier. I know that is hard to imagine, but the gang from Trainspotting seems pretty tame when compared to our leading character, Bruce (James McAvoy). Bruce is dirty, corrupt cop from Scotland, but he also has another secret. I’m not gonna tell you what it is, but it is hard to see if this secret led to his drug and alcohol abuse or if it's the other way around. Anyway, Bruce is having trouble keeping up with reality and his hallucinations give us a bit of an insight of just how much filth he is dealing with.
Primer is the debut movie by director Shane Carruth (his second film Upstream Color could have easily found a place on this list) – and what a debut it was. If there ever was to be a definition of trippy movies in a dictionary, a picture of Primer would have to be there. Primer tells us a story of four engineers who, accidently, discover a time machine. Now the real fun begins. Series of mind-bending, unexpected events occur and our protagonists gradually begin to realize just how dangerous time-travel is. Let’s just say that one of the consequences of their adventures is the creation of their doubles. That’s just an example of many side-effects they encounter, but the rest is up to you to discover. And don’t be disappointed if you don’t get everything the first time since many had to re-watch this flick to fully understand it.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This film takes us into the unknown and unexplored depths of human mind and memory while telling us about what is basically a love story. Based on a fantastic script by talented Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine revolves around a couple with different, contrasting personalities and their voyage to the final realization of the strength of their relationship. The plot is seemingly simple – people have a chance to erase certain memories and, consequently, certain people from their lives. This movie shows us that something as complicated as a romantic relationship can not be reduced to a simple disposal process. In the end, the question remains – can deep and true love beat science?
Enter the Void (2009)
Gaspar Noe makes us contemplate death and life in this psychedelic movie inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The movie is set in Tokyo, where the cities bright and colorful lights offer a never-ending feast for your eyes. They also put a constant strain on your brain as we follow Oscar’s soul as he wanders the streets of Japan's capital. A lot of drug trips, night clubs, flashbacks, sex and taboo scenes give us an insight into the mind of a young and lost drug dealer, so when it comes to trippy movies, Enter the Void is a must see.