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The 10 Most Divisive Movies Of The 21st Century So Far

09 August 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by Sam Silbert

most divisive movies

In modern day culture, we have as many movies that restore our faith in humanity as we have movies that totally suck. Hollywood has given us more examples of the latter in recent years, but still, we have the movies that don’t suck.

Yet once in a while, that one movie comes around that we don’t really know what to think of. Of course, not everybody loves or hates any movie equally, but some movies split viewers up almost 50/50. This is called ‘Divisive’. This list is dedicated to the makers of movies that we could only love or hate, not anywhere else in between. Here are the 10 most divisive movies of this century.


10. Sunshine


The Movie: 28 Days Later director Danny Boyle goes deeper into sci-fi thriller. A team of scientists are sent into space with a nuclear device that can turn the sun ‘back on’ after it darkens.

What’s Great: The cast and production value does an acceptable job at making the majority of the movie a believable, human thriller/drama.

What’s Not So Great: The last third of the movie. No spoilers here, but writer Alex Garland accidentally made the rest of the movie really disappointing.


9. Watchmen


The Movie: Zack Snyder’s faithful adaptation of the graphic novel, and his follow up to 300. A group of fallen superheroes get back into the game when fellow superhero “The Comedian” mysteriously falls out of a window.

What’s Great: Snyder is by popular opinion a halfway decent director. He took artistic liberties with this one to make it true to the book. The special effects are amazing and revolutionary, and a fair break from almost childish Marvel movies that were yet to come. Great soundtrack too.

What’s Not So Great: Huge shift of change from 300. The whole thing is outrageously complicated, the actors weren’t trying their best, too much special effects, artistic direction was way more heavy than any of Snyder’s recent films, or even of films to come.


8. Only God Forgives


The Movie: Stylistic follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘Drive’, Ryan Gosling plays a criminal that sets out to avenge the death of his murdered brother.

What’s Great: It has all of the appeals of Drive, with a setting more advanced. Gosling says even less and kicks more ass than he did last time.

What’s Not So Great: Once again, it seems very reminiscent of Drive, with a screenplay just touching the bar. The violence may turn off even more viewers than it gathers.


7. Avatar


The Movie: James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic about a tribe of alien Indians protecting their homeland from intruders.

What’s Great: Cameron really pushes the boundaries for 3D films. The special effects are the best of its kind. Perfect score, and believable acting.

What’s Not So Great: 3 hours of environmental awareness propaganda with blue aliens. That was a little harsh, but where the screenplay dulls, that’s kind of where it falls.


6. I Heart Huckabees


The Movie: Quirky comedy about a detective agency couple who have to investigate a new environmentalist client who owns a rock.

What’s Great: Directed by the talented David O. Russel (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) and boasts an all-star cast (Jason Schwartzman, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Whalberg, Lily Tomlin).

What’s Not So Great: The movie seems like a Wes Anderson parody on drugs, and according to, it’s Russel’s worst movie with a 62% fresh.



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  • Jacob Matthew Schneider

    Man of Steel. Like, seriously.

  • ironcell_102

    You obviously haven’t seen Only God Forgives. Ryan Gosling may have lesser dialogue but he gets his ass kicked in the the entire movie. It is not reminiscent of Drive because this is more focused on the sets, cinematography and msuic than the characters. That’s why it’s divisive and polarising; it’s so much more style than substance whereas Drive found a balance between both. Sam Silbert, you are a poser.

  • MDS

    Avatar isn’t a divisive film, its as mainstream as it gets
    and I know its a matter of taste and people are allowed to have different opinions, but those who liked Tree of Life should suck my balls

    • Jeremy Peters

      It has become a love it or hate it movie. It is mainstream but people in the aftermath of the box office smash seem very divided on if it was ever good at all. people have called it a Dances with Wolves or even a Ferngully rip off. I did enjoy the spectacle however i am not even sure how i feel about it these days

  • Iam_Spartacus

    Prometheus was pretty divisive, at least from what I’ve read on the blogs and the people I’ve talked to. Some people liked it and some hated it. I’m the former.

    • Arjun Vijayan


    • Parris Chaplyn

      I loved Prometheus, but I think it’s a majority opinion that it’s bad. Any singular argument for it’s merits are squashed by at least 40 arguments against it. None of which I see as issues.

  • B. Rigsby

    How about American Beauty? Big hit at the Oscars but just count up all the taboos in the storyline.

  • Brian

    Sunshine is the worst on the list for me, though I haven’t see two of them. So much holier than thou and whining going on.

  • Kevin Ice

    ‘Kill Bill’ gets a bad rap here. It’s every bit as original (and simultaneously derivative) as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and everyone in the cast (down to the minor characters) is perfect in their role.

  • ESPD

    Just wanted to comment on the author’s assesment of the negative sides of ‘Watchmen’, as opposed to ‘300’. First of all, one of the objections to the movie is “a huge change shift from 300” ? Really? You’re gonna downgrade a movie via its comparison to ‘300’?? How was this article even considered for publishing is unclear to me. Also, another objection to the movie is that it has too much special effects? First you use a comparison to ‘300’ and now this…? Newsflash: The ENTIRE ‘300’ movie was one big special effect! Please do a better job next time.

  • William Bunchy Mcpherson

    Watchmen was not exactly a “faithful adaptation” of the book, it changed things considerably. Ozy’s entire plan was changed from the book.

  • Ayuj Consul

    Gone Girl for me, though most say it’s great, I know a small bunch who think, “Pure disappointment!”

  • Ayuj Consul

    The one film I’d say should feature on this list, albeit in a different way, is Inglourious Basterds… though the majority believes Pulp Fiction is the greatest piece of art from Quentin Tarantino, I find myself among the small, yet growing group of this who believe this title belongs to Inglourious Basterds!

  • Wolfgang

    Oh, curiously the three first are masterpieces.

  • Adel Narimani

    seriously, neither There will be blood, no country for old men,Inception, requiem for a dream,sweeny todd or memento are in but watchmen and avatar and kill bill are in? That’s a spectacular logic.

    • jannik

      Not one of the films you just named were divisive. They all have overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and viewers alike, and Sweeney Todd is the only one that is not in IMDB’s Top 250 (still has a good 7.4).

      I don’t really get why a film like Kill Bill is on this list, but Watchmen for example is spot on. Some see it as one of the best, if not the best comicbook film, while others can’t stand it.

      • Adel Narimani

        you’re right

        • Jeremy Peters

          I actually feel like There Will Be Blood is far more divisive then many even if it is more well known. It’s subject matter and story telling style is incredibly off putting and not mainstream. I don’t know many mainstream movie goers that would really enjoy it honestly.

  • Miro M

    The master is master of a movie a freakin masterpiece.

  • lauramoreaux

    I think Huckabees was one of the worst films I ever seen and about Only god forgives, NW Refn suffer himself from god complex

    • lauramoreaux


      • johnnywrong

        You’re just mad you didn’t understand it. Ha ha.

  • Simon Blaquière

    Inherent Vice, even though it’s awesome.

  • David James Oliver Beckwith

    “The Master” is dark and depressing and that’s “What’s Not So Great” about it. I just wish that the movie going public weren’t such a bunch of wimps. Life is not a candy coated carnival with a free ice cream sundae buffet, folks. In my personal opinion, cinema should represent all emotional states and situations, however negative or positive they may be. I do agree with you as to why “The Master” is divisive and it does belong on this list, but I just don’t like that it is.

  • John W. Thackery

    Only God Forgives was blasted by the majority of critics. So it’s not divisive, i just sucks.

    • johnnywrong

      Nope. Plenty of us love it.

      • John W. Thackery

        A small cult, and I emphasize small cuz this isn’t even cult film status, isn’t “plenty”, and it doesn’t make it divisive. Majority of audiences and critics blasted the film.

      • I dont think it´s necessarily a good movie, but I love it haha

  • johnnywrong

    Some really bad writing there.

  • Jeremy Peters

    Scott Pilgrim V.S the World is kinda riding that cult classic wave

  • yung carl jung

    10 – 6 were either mediocre or straight up bad; 5 – 1 are all undoubtedly great movies. some (tree of life, he master) honestly don’t belong on this list.

    the authors criticism of napoleon dinamite is completely nil.