There is something I find very inviting in films that take a risk such as this, wherein the narrative itself is experimented upon, and the overall experience is made fresh. Telling a story in reverse is something that’s (unsurprisingly) quite difficult to do. Take ‘Betrayal’ (1983), the Ben Kingsley starrer which was one of the first films that brought this style to the attention of the general public. It tells the tale of an extramarital romance that begins with the lovers all broken up, maintaining a formal distance between them as they talk to each other in a café, and works its way back to when the romance was at its budding stage. Though I’m not a big fan of the movie, its stunning nonetheless to see the characters change as the years go by backwards.
Reverse chronology in cinema is a fairly recent tool that has been used by filmmakers to deconstruct characters, intrigue the audience, and create poetry through the medium. Here is the list of best movies that used reverse chronology most effectively, and they’re all worth checking out at least twice, in order to fully get the picture. You can watch many of these reverse chronology movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Donnie Darko (2000)
‘Donnie Darko’ is one of my favorite films ever made, and the only reason it is so low on the list is because the usage of reverse chronology is quite minimal. The story is confusing enough on its own, and the pivotal scene told backwards only helps in twisting the whole thing over more. It tells the tale of a young man named Donnie who has to stop a disastrous event from taking place that he is warned about by an evil rabbit named Frank who speaks to him in dreams. In this surreal and utterly creepy moment, we travel back from a tangent universe with our title character, and it all happens in reverse. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the film, and that’s really saying something, because ‘Donnie Darko’ is basically one great moment after another.
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9. Identity (2003)