One might wonder, what reverse chronology is, when it comes to film making. It is the progression of the film in reverse, i.e. the climax of the film is shown first to the viewers and the film progresses backwards with respect to time and then the central idea of the film gets revealed. This phenomenon might sound puzzling to the audience, which would make them to hit back to the theaters again for complete understanding of the actual plot. Some of the films that employed the reverse chronology concept are listed below…
There can never be a person on this planet, who could have deciphered this film in the first watch itself! One of the most puzzling movies ever made, for which the director Christopher Nolan is known for, the film went on to become a blockbuster success at the BO and earned rave reviews for its concept at various film festivals where it premiered. The film is about the lead, who suffers an anterograde amnesia, who is in search for the person who attacked his wife. The best portion in the making is that, one part of the film is shown in color and it progresses forward with time, and consequently another portion progresses reverse in time, depicted under a black and white frame. This literally makes the viewers to enter the psychological state of the lead in the film that, we start to forget what happened in the previous sequence while watching the current. The film is a must watch for its intricate structuring of sequences!
2) Peppermint Candy
The 1999 South Korean Film, directed by Lee Chang-dong, won the best film at the Grand Bell Awards. The film starts with the lead standing between the rails on a railway track and a train approaching him, i.e. a suicidal scenario of the lead. The hero shouts “I want to live again!” before he gets slashed by the train. From there, the actual plot begins which depicts why he reached to a suicidal position. Might sound simple, but the fact that the flashbacks are shown in reverse order of time makes the film gripping the audience.
The first flashback shows moments before the suicide, and the second one showcasing the last five years of the lead, and the third showcasing the ten years pre to the second flashback and in a similar manner the flashbacks cover the past 20 years of the hero’s life in the reverse order!
3) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
One of the classic romantic films of 2004, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was driven by its star cast, comprising Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo. It is about two lovers, who enter a memory erasure procedure, and much of the film is covered up in the due course of this procedure.
This might seem to be a plaintive love story, but the crux lies in the fact that the lead revisits the memory during the erasure procedure in reverse. This factor gave the users of not viewing a love story followed up by a breakup, instead it first showcased the breakup and the rest of the portions made the audience to think if that breakup was all worth it, thus making the film a huge success of the 21st century in the romantic genre.
4) The Prestige
Yet another marvel from Nolan, The Prestige, is a film that sounds absurd at the opening and comes into an epicentre point as the film progresses. Everything remains ambiguous and incomplete at the start but the manner in which the director shuffles between past and present makes you awestruck once you start getting a revelation of the things which you found shallow at the earlier portions. Comprising of a promising cast of Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson and Michael Caine, the film went on to become one of Nolan’s best works. The sequences shuffle so much between reverse and forward with respect to time, that at a point, we literally feel the film is flipping upside down instead of progressing in reverse, with respect to time. A film wrapped under an intellectual storytelling!!
5) 500 Days of Summer
500 Days of Summer isn’t one of the usual kind of romantic plots, starting with a typical boy-meeting-girl concept. Instead, it shuffles back and forth with time. Once the female lead is shown to be named Summer, one’s perception of the film’s title gets redefined. The film starts with the lead (Joseph Gordon Levitt) remembering his love Summer (Zooey Deschanel). The film sequences current heartbreak and anguish of the lead with the past moments of joy with his lady love, making it enriching and revealing to the viewers, of the life’s journey, exactly at the point when the lead himself gets understood in the film. No wonder this film bagged a spot in the top 10 romantic films of All Time!
6) Two Friends
Two Friends was initially a series broadcasted in Australian television, before it was made into a full feature film. The movie portrays over the friendship of two girls Louise and Kelly, enacted by Emma Coles and Kris Bidenko respectively, which degrades over time. The film starts with the two friends staying apart, and then travels back with respect to time and showcases moments across their 10-year friendship.
There are lot of other movies, which employed reverse chronology phenomenon, some throughout the film, and some in the mainstream sequences, and were inspired from the above movies in making use of that phenomenon. If you have missed catching up any of these in the theatres, do see to that you watch these and have an eternal entertainment experience!