Science-fiction films offer the chance to escape reality by proposing an alternative one. These films can lean towards having the lead character caught in an apocalyptic disaster such as War of the Worlds (2005) or San Andreas (2015). Those that do not involve a world-ending scenario can suggest a world that alters people’s perception of reality thus forcing them to ponder what is deemed real and what is a figment of one’s imagination.
The lead characters in the 2022 film Spiderhead seem to have difficulty deciphering reality when they are injected with a drug that controls their emotions. They are isolated in a prison enclosed by large cement walls that forbid them from seeing the outside world. Spiderhead will premiere on Netflix on June 17, 2022, until then there are other films that bend the constructs of reality.
The Truman Show (1998)
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) ‘s life is a TV show watched by millions. Unlike most reality TV show stars, he is completely oblivious that hidden cameras are recording every part of his life. His family, friends, and even next-door neighbors, are all wearing cameras and pretending that nothing unusual is going on.
The Truman Show(1998) captures a world overrun by an oppressive organization. Truman’s reality is controlled by Christof (Ed Harris) who can manipulate the weather with a click of a button. This was working well for Christof, until some parts slipped out of his control such as a halogen light falling from the sky, and made Truman wonder what was causing these strange events. The Truman Show (1998) is available on Hulu.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Jumping through time can have unaccounted for side effects similar to what Evan (Ashton Kutcher) experienced in The Butterfly Effect (2004). Evan experiences blackouts and recorded his memories inside his journal. Whenever he time jumped to the past and changed one detail, this would drastically impact the future that he returned to.
He ultimately wants to undo any actions that caused him to receive the painful blackouts. Despite not wanting to cause harm in the past, this still creates a domino effect resulting in poor consequences for his future self and loved one. The Butterfly Effect is available on Hulu.
Some dreams can be so realistic that it can feel that a dream was not a dream but a memory. Dreams become the ideal landscape for Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his team who intend to plant an idea in the subconscious mind of a CEO Ariadne (Elliot Page) is the architect who constructs the dream world and controls the elements within it.
The dream had multiple layers woven together that affected each consecutive dream. The further the team entered the dream, the harder it became for them to escape it. Dom relied on his topper totem to help decipher whether he was in a dream. If the topper spun continuously, then he never left the dream. This topper might be the only item that can aid viewers or leave viewers questioning whether Dom’s world was a dream or reality in the movie Inception (2010). Inception is available on Netflix.
What if a pill allowed the brain to utilize its full potential? Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) stretches the limits of his brain when he agrees to take an experimental pill. Now the struggling writer has access to endless possibilities that do not just involve writing the next bestseller book.
The pill gave Eddie the ability to become an expert in all fields whether it was linguistics or mathematics. In turn, his life drastically changed from living in a snug apartment to a luxurious mansion. Nevertheless, Eddie’s perfect reality was disrupted after he felt the pill’s side effects, but he couldn’t necessarily stop taking the pill to pause its effects. Limitless(2011) is available on HBO Max.
Source Code (2011)
Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train to the voice of Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) speaking to Sean Fentress, a teacher, and not Colter, a soldier from Afghanistan. Colter’s subconscious has been planted into Sean, and like Sean, he must investigate the individual responsible for placing a bomb and stop them before it explodes.
He only has 8 minutes to figure out who it is. When he runs out of time, he reset to the beginning. Even though he reset to the beginning, he still remembers the information from before, and not all the events play out the same way as before. The heart-gripping thriller Source Code(2011) is available on Hulu.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Multiple timelines are connected in the film Cloud Atlas (2012). Tom Hanks and Halle Berry take on the roles of multiple characters throughout multiple timelines starting in 1849 with a doctor to the 1930s with a composer and fast-forwarding to the 1970s with a journalist and a scientist.
Even if they happen to be individuals that could appear to have no connection with each other still influence each other in some way. The evidence appears as either distant memories triggered by a familiar tune or physical artifacts. The sci-fi drama, Cloud Atlas is available on PlutoTV.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Time loops create a reality that is difficult to escape for many including Major William Cage. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a soldier fighting a war against indestructible aliens. Each day, he relives the same day over until he dies of an unsuspecting attack. He is one of the few people aware that he is trapped in an endless time loop, the only other person aware of this is Rita (Emily Blunt). To break the time loop, he needed to win the war against aliens.
Time loop movies and TV shows like Sense8(2015 – 2018) orRussian Doll (2019 -) reveals an overarching reason as to why time keeps resetting itself after hitting a specific point. For Cage, that might mean finding the mechanism that enables this phenomenon to occur and finding a way to stop it. Edge of Tomorrow(2014) is available on Crackle, Philo, and PLEX.
A snake bite from a snake that no longer exists is only one of the eerie accidents that are reported in New Orleans. Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) believe these occurrences are caused by a psychedelic drug that generates hallucinatory effects for its users. Steve takes the pill to observe its effects and learns that the pill allows its users to travel in time but to the location where they took the drug.
Time travel in Synchronic(2019) affects its users in that however the way they were harmed or killed in the past will be their cause of death once they return to their specific time period. Besides examining the synthetic drug, the protagonists intend to find a missing person. Synchronic (2019) is available on Netflix.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
Piles of bills lay on Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) ‘s desk, as her family’s laundromat is being evaluated by the IRS. This is one Evelyn that exists within this particular universe. Across the other universes exist different versions of Evelyn, all with different careers, and lifestyles.
Everything Everywhere All At Once(2022) expands on the concept of multiverses, where Evelyn can harness the skills, memories, and powers from her other versions. This aids her in finding the threat that intends on destroying the existence of multiverses. Even if the universe closely resembled another one, some elements were exaggerated beyond regular proportions. Everything Everywhere All At Once is available on Vudu.
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