Last week we were having a conversation at work about the "heaviest" movies we have seen. These are the sort of movies that I felt were emotionally draining. Perhaps they were movies that were fantastic or perhaps they were mediocre, but you just don't ever want to see them again because they leave you emotionally exhausted. You walk out of a matinee on a sunny afternoon and you can't help but feeling depressed. Warning, there may be spoilers here.
1. District 9
District 9 is the movie I immediately think of whenever we talk about a movie like this. I was left just completely exhausted and depressed at the end of this movie. It's whole critique on apartheid really hits home with the portrayal of the aliens and the shear brutality upon the refugees and the camp really hit home for me. I had never seen a movie portray the sadness and hopelessness quite like District 9.
2. We Were Soldiers
It is probably impossible to create a list like this and not include a Vietnam movie in here. There are several excellent and striking Vietnam movies out there, and I wouldn't classify this as the "best" Vietnam movie, but this is the one that stuck with me the most. The cinematography work on the ground really showcased the mayhem that was all around the U.S. soldiers and their landing zone. Watching Mel Gibson's character breaking down and crying at the end was the pivotal, emotional upheaval that put this movie over the top. As a viewer you really get a sense of the weight that his character bears with all of the soldiers who served and died under him.
3. American Beauty
I chose American Beauty because of the solemnness it leaves you with at the end. This film doesn't quite have the sadness, that some of the others due, despite the tragic ending. Instead it almost felt like a "release" of sorts. Almost as if our main character finally got out of the mundane world.
4. The Green Mile
If there is going to be a straight up tear jerker in this list, it has to be "The Green Mile". Michael Clarke Duncan puts on an amazing performance playing a death row inmate who I think personifies a sort of messiah type character. The relationships that are developed between his character and all of the guards during the film really turn the final execution scene into a very personal and heart wrenching final moments.
5. Hotel Rwanda
A movie you have to watch once but don't ever want to watch again. What makes this movie so impactful is knowing that it all actually happened. The defining scene that is etched into my mind is when Don Cheadle's character has to drive down a road strewn with dead bodies. He is forced to drive over those bodies and the movie shows the physical and emotional impact of each bump in the truck as he has to drive over those bodies.