The relationship between cinema and the mind is not very easy to comprehend. There are so many factors that play a role in how spectators feel a certain emotion, or how through an engaging story line, can make viewers want to consciously invest in a character that is not real and depicted on screen. What about those films that play mind games? That have an unexpected twist or starts at the end and continues to the beginning. Films like Inception (2010), Shutter Island (2010) and Jacobs Ladder (1990) are all amazing films that play games with your mind, creating confusion and disarray on purpose in order to manipulate the audience. I personally am a fan of these very intelligent films and love psychological thrillers. The film Identity (2003) takes this to a whole new level by throwing ten strangers into an isolated motel that are taking refuge from a storm. A serial killer that is under the care of a psychiatrist is awaiting his death sentence after his journal was uncovered containing information about how he killed his victims. This man suffers from ten different very distinct split personalities and kills these people one by one. But that is not what the audience is shown, we see the man’s different personalities through the view of different people until the big twist at the very end which reveals the mind-blowing connections made throughout the film. We see each guest die through the motel keys of the dead guests left behind, a genius incorporation.
This film is a must watch and keeps audiences thoroughly engaged, the use of multiple dimensions within a film (demonstrated as worlds in Inception and as personalities in Identity) completely takes all the rules, bends them and displays them completely out of context in order to manipulate the viewer. This keeps the audience engaged as they keep guessing what may happen next or plunges them into the role of a detective as they try to make sense of the clues left behind. Turning the cinematic viewing experience into an engaging and investigative activity.
Nolan, C., et al. (2010). Inception.
Lehane, D. (2004). Shutter Island. New York, HarperTorch.
Lyne, A., et al. (1998). Jacob’s ladder. Santa Monica, CA, Artisan Entertainment.
Mangold, J., et al. (2003). Identity. United States, Columbia Pictures.