10 Movies That Forced You To Answer Impossible Questions
Movies present us with all sorts of lovely scenarios. Toys that come to life, cats that can talk, superheroes looking out for us every time a masked robber decides to steal a handbag, which is fairly often all things considered.
There’s plenty out there designed to see the very best human experience bless our screens and give us the warm fuzzies for a good couple of hours… and then there’s the films that want to do the opposite.
Excruciating in their execution, there’s the dark underbelly of cinema that makes us face up to things we never knew possible: intent on putting their characters through the worst situations and forcing us to try and decide how we’d handle these mind-melting ultimatums ourselves. It’s all lose-lose and pretty depressing, yet morbid curiosity always wins out.
At the bottom of it all, it all boils down to one smug question: Well, what would you do?
HONOURABLE MENTION: Twilight – Edward Or Jacob?
Now, this might not seem like all that impossible of a decision considering it’s who you’d rather bang out of a brooding emo or a charismatic set of abs, but the outrage that has spread throughout the film community since Twilight’s release would have you think it was another thing entirely.
Featuring an angsty teenage girl who just wants to be understood, man, she soon finds solace in the arms of hunky Edward Cullen – a vegetarian vampire who wants to suck her dry but politely declines. Jacob’s also a pretty stand up guy who helps her settle in, but it’s the former that gets her all hot and expressionless in the end.
Riots of ‘Team Edward’ versus ‘Team Jacob’ have long since dominated any casual discussion surrounding the film and sent watchers screaming into the distance lest they not CHOOSE between Bella’s two love interests. But really, there’s no right answer in whichever teenage heartthrob tickles your pickle. Or slams your clam. Or whatever disgusting analogy we’re going to go with here.
Truthfully, whether it’s necrophilia with an undead vampire or bestiality with a sultry werewolf, neither is a very good look.
10. Would You Rather – Cut Your Own Eyeball Open, Or Be Potentially Drowned?
Would You Rather is a grotty little horror much in the same vein as the Saw movies, though instead of playing its hand on outright toe-curling gore, this film leaves you well alone with your thoughts when it comes to its sadistic choices.
Featuring a dinner party where the guests are out to win a cash prize, Iris joins a collection of guests in an attempt to get her brother a much needed transplant – and is soon sucked into the titular sick parlour game. This time however, there is no funny drinking game, only a choice between which limb is your favourite and which ones you’ll lop off for cold hard cash.
Watching is much like taking part yourself, as you’ll find being offered the choice of slitting your eye open or waiting out a two-minute dunk into a barrel of water soon makes you decide pretty sharpish (if you’ll excuse the pun). The attendees can’t escape, and neither can we when we’re drawn into the narrative – forcing some truly pained answers out to ‘this or that’ questions you never thought you’d hear.
9. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – Remember, Or Forget?
Presented with the choice of completely forgetting everything to do with an ex might sound like the perfect solution in a pinch. Why go through the difficulty of moving on through painful memories when you can hit a reset button and get on with your life instantaneously? It saves throwing their PlayStation onto the M6 or taking a hammer to their make up collection after all.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind poses this exact scenario. Just without the smashy bit.
When an ex-couple who’ve had their memories wiped are magnetically drawn back together, it brings up the other side to the enormity of their decision – how can they ever learn or grow without having the relationship to look back on? And will another chance at being together result in wasting time on the same issues?
Its a personal, impossible scenario that surely splits audiences down the middle: as we never quite know which choice would be best for the couple on screen, nevermind ourselves.
8. Point Break – Do You Condemn Your Friend, Or Let Him Go?
What do you do when someone you’ve grown close to is actually a criminal, and compromises your own moral values? The ultimate dude-bro story of a FBI agent infiltrating a gang of surfers asks exactly this convoluted question – pitting a sensitive Keanu Reeves against a charming Patrick Swayze as the pair sit on opposite ends of the legal system.
It might seem somewhat farcical on paper, but all things considered at the heart of the film: would you actually be able to maim and imprison your best friend in order to uphold the law?
Reeves certainly couldn’t, and inadvertently made the most homoerotic clip in cinema history as he shoots into the sky out of love for Swayze rather than into his back as he attempts to escape. It’s a charged moment that makes you wonder for a split second exactly whether you would fulfil your job duty, and in extension serve society – or allow your friend to roam free as a fugitive, knowing that locking the outdoorsman up would be worse than killing him.
7. Jurassic World – Would You Doom Multiple Species To Dying (again), Or Unleash Them On Our Ecosystem?
It’s all well and good bringing a load of dinosaurs back to life and sticking them in a fully-functioning park. Whilst you’d have thought Jurassic World would have learned from the three separate dinosaur incidents of Jurassic Park’s heyday, they at least managed to stick the bloody things in their enclosures and make mad money for a short amount of time.
It’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom however, that poses an interesting conundrum – since these creatures have been created, do we have any right to condemn them back to extinction?
The answer lies in a technological anomaly – spoiler alert – namely a cloned child Maisie, who decides that since she isn’t a natural phenomenon and quite likes being alive, the dinosaurs should get the same advantage. Which is fair enough really, but considering how devastating the creatures effect would be on our 65-million year advancement since they last roamed earth freely, there’s a large argument for dino-death once more.
Could you kill hundreds of sentient animals for the good of the planet? Would it change if they were humans? You decide.
6. 127 Hours – Could You Cut Your Own Arm Off To Survive?
The premise seems pretty simple here. You’re stuck at the bottom of a canyon in the middle of the desert, no one know where you are or that you’ve gone, and you’re lumped with a bunch of blunt tools best suited to climbing rather than surgery.
Oh, and your arm is stuck quite literally between a rock and a hard place with no chance of ever getting it out singlehandedly.
Do you have the balls to chop your own arm off and go looking for help, or do you wait the whole thing out and potentially die of exposure or dehydration from drinking too much of your own piss? We’d all like to think we’re brave enough to cut through our own nervous system, but when push comes to shove there’s a big hesitation before driving a pocket knife through your arm.
Aron Ralston might have managed to do it, but could you? Would you have the sheer will to try and survive the ordeal?
5. The Matrix – Red Pill Or Blue Pill?
Keanu Reeves is never one to let the big questions slide, and The Matrix is the big one when it comes to the meaty, brain-altering, impossible situation that has no right answer. In a dystopian future where humanity is harvested by evil sentient machines, the Matrix exists as a computer system that controls human minds to perceive our everyday existence as reality – rather than realise our place locked in as an energy source for the big bad robots.
When Reeves’s Neo learns the truth about what’s really going on, he is asked if he wants to continue down the difficult path of being #woke, or if he wants to continue to live his life normally, within the Matrix, unaware of the larger terrible actuality that we all actually exist in. The red pill, or the blue pill.
The scene is filmed as a direct question to the audience, asking exactly what path you would choose offered the same scenario. You can know everything, unhappy and fighting every day of your life to change it, or live blissfully in ignorance as only those who have been indoctrinated can.
4. Amour – Could You Euthanise Your Spouse If They Asked?
Directed by the cinematic tour de force that is Michael Haneke, Amour is the story of elderly man Georges learning to deal with his wife Anne’s declining health, of which the only solution seems to be to send her into a nursing home. As Anne recognises her strokes are rendering her incapable, she makes her husband promise to never send her away to be cared for. Essentially, she’s asking him to end her life when she no longer has control over it – and that’s exactly what he does.
It’s a powerful, emotional film that unflinchingly depicts an unbreakable bond between two people in all its highs and lows. Amour stares you straight in the face and asks if you could be strong enough to speak for your partner when they no longer can, and to fulfil their wishes even if it’s the last thing you would ever want for yourself.
Could you be totally, completely selfless? Could you take a life they no longer want?
2. Kingsman – Would You Kill Your Pet To Get The Perfect Life?
Eggsy shows us that growing up on the street can be tough. Desperate to provide a better life for his mother and utilise his potential, it’s only when a member of the Kingsman Secret Service swoops in and shows him the life he could have working as a secret agent that Eggsy realises his future is set – but only if he can complete the challenges laid out before him.
One such challenge is to shoot a dog he’s been raising to prove he can follow orders to the letter. Oh god, not the dog.
It’s the choice between the position of a lifetime that will secure everything he’s ever wanted, and killing his beloved pet in the heat of the moment. Of course, Eggsy doesn’t know the bullets are blanks: so the decision remains as intense as ever. It seems almost psychopathic to relish ending an animals life, and even more so to do it for what’s essentially a promotion, but the opportunity that Kingsman offers Eggsy is unlike anything one could dream of.
Would you eliminate a defenseless animal, one you’ve grown attached to, to make your dreams a reality? Would you be able to live with the guilt?
1. Sophie’s Choice – Which Child Would You Save?
The true pinnacle of the impossible question, Sophie’s Choice is one that is famed throughout the world of film for being the most brutal decision a parent would ever be faced with. Sophie and her two children have been sent to Auschwitz under Nazi rule, and her efforts to convince a nearby officer to take mercy on her result in a turn for the worst.
The title then reveals itself to be centred around one sadistic question: which child will Sophie save from death, and which will she send into the labour camp?
Forced to pick lest both children be sent to die, Sophie hastily lets her baby daughter be taken away and saves her son, in what we can only assume is an effort to preserve a child that has the most likelihood of surviving under the Nazi regime. Watching her sob as the weight of her choice comes crashing down is one of the most heartbreaking moments in cinema, and instantly conjures up uneasy thoughts about how the audience would handle the same situation.
It’s a bleak realisation of exactly what World War 2 was, and the sick realities faced everyday.