5 Best Mind Bending Movies

Alright, lets go looking for the 5 best mind bending movies.  With the release Christopher Nolan’s Inception I have been asked time and time again about other similar movies that mess with your mind. And every time I’m asked I find myself wondering what it is about Nolan movies that make them so fantastic?

Is it the surprising, twist ending?

Maybe its the noir darkness that people enjoy?

Or could it be the LSD mind trip quality?

And when I listed out all the movies I considered to be somewhat relevant I saw a list that was upwards of 30 movies. Each having one of the qualities above. You have other Nolan movies like The Prestige, Memento, Inception which just scream mind bender in every way. But some were the best con-artist movies ever made – you don’t get better at twist endings than that. A few were stylish noir flicks that were epically dark and palpable in their feel. And then you had the mind trip, LSD rides that totally messed with your sanity while visiting their worlds. Each of these movies were classics. But they didn’t capture the essence that is the Nolan vibe. The brilliant idea. The epic ending. The crazy confusion of not understanding what is going on. The contained idea that brings you new worlds of possibilities.

So with that I went to hacking away some of the best movies in film history. Movies like Blade Runner (Director’s Cut) – which had 2 of the three but not all three criteria. Noir world. Surprising theory. But it just wasn’t at its core epicly mind bending like a Nolan movie. Sure, we have the discussion around whether Harrison’s character was an android or not. But that wasn’t at the center of the movie. What else? You have con movies like 9 Queens – an Argentinean movie that is at the top of its game in throwing the viewer for a loop as to which way is up and which way is down.

And in the comments below we have just a huge pile of added movies for use to consider. Movies like The Usual Suspects, Donnie Darko, Inception, 12 Monkeys, Shutter Island, etc. etc. Which are amazingly good candidates. Good enough I took stock of my picks and had to reaffirm them all.

So many good possibilities to list here. But instead of going for a long list of commonly known movies I tried to select movies that fit all three criteria but also were less widely known. So that if you are coming to this list looking for other Nolan-like mind bending movies there will probably be one on here that you don’t know. So with that understood – let us begin our countdown, starting with number five in our search for the 5 best mind bending movies.

5 Best Mind Bending Movies - Dark City

5 Best Mind Bending Movies – Dark City

Dark City is a noir Science Fiction movie that will mess with your understanding of reality in an enormously cosmic sense. Are we humans innately good? Are we crafted by our environment or do we redefine the environment to craft it to who we are?

The storyline is the basic noir plot line. A man wakes up near a dead woman with a knife in his hand. And the next thing we know is that we are on the run. Our hero has no memory of the events but can’t believe he would do something as horrible as what happened. So he begins to try and solve the murder on his own. Soon he realizes that not everything is as it seems when everyone in the city simultaneously falls asleep at the stroke of midnight. I’ll stop there – and let you do your discovery for yourself.

Dark City has an ingenious concept at its heart. And a great reveal. It also has a wonderful texture and dark environs. It takes the noir detective story and turns it on its head with a fantastic sci-fi twist. It definitely deserves its place in this elite list of Nolan-esque mind bending movies.

5 Best Mind Bending Movies - Eternal Sunshine

5 Best Mind Bending Movies – Eternal Sunshine

You either absolutely love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or hate it with a passion. I personally think it is the perfect romance movie. Probably should tell my shrink – probably would explain a ton to him.

The concept here is brilliant. A machine the redacts painful memory – what could go wrong here? And the journey through partially deleted memories is the stuff of legends. What I never understood here is – how does finding your love in your brain equate to finding her in real life? But none the less, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is epic. And could have easily bounced from #4 to #1 in my (spotless) mind. It’s that good. If you haven’t seen this gem, cease reading and stream it immediately. (I’m thinking this comment goes for absolutely every movie in this list… but I digress).

5 Best Mind Bending Movies - Tape

5 Best Mind Bending Movies – Tape

Even if you are a huge movie buff there is still a very good chance that you have never even HEARD of this movie. So few of you had even heard of this movie I thought I would include a link for you to pick this movie up at a great price.

There are only THREE cast members in the whole movie (Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Robert Sean Leonard).  And I’m including extras here. And there is only one room – a beat down hotel room at that – in this movie. With a cast list as stark as this and a location even starker you better have a great idea to carry this thing off. And carry it off they do.

Tape is a downward spiral of a movie where what appears is not exactly what it seems. And the entropic unraveling that carries the plot forward is absolutely fantastic. But I love a good dialogue movie (like Ethan’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, anyone?) and that is exactly what this movie is. Absolutely stunning dialogue. This is a character driven masterpiece. But of all the movies in the list this one may be the one closest to being disqualified for not exactly being mind bending in the LSD sense of the term. But regardless, I think with its relative unknown nature – it is worth adding to the list.

5 Best Mind Bending Movies - Memento

5 Best Mind Bending Movies – Memento

You know that I had to add at least one Christopher Nolan movie to this list.  I definitely recommend the Blu-ray version with all the extras as you are able to even watch the film in “backwards”/”forwards” formats.

Nolan’s opus Memento is absolutely the best mind bender of them all (which we deconstruct over here: https://taylorholmes.com/2010/07/28/memento-explained/ ). Argue all you want, I won’t bend on this one. Prestige seems to be too straight forward. Inception is good – but way too much James Bond. Memento is a brain rush of chaos and jumbled data. It’s like shoving your face into a fire hydrant, backwards. Eh? No, more like a tree shredder set on turbo, turned on backwards. Shredded trees go in, whole trees come out.

I’m not making any sense. PERFECT!

Seriously though, Memento is an epic movie that defies logic. When I first watched it – my mouth was on the floor of the theater for the duration. I kid you not. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Was I just lied to the entire movie? Did what I just saw happen, really happen? It was brilliant in every sense of the word.

5 Best Mind Bending Movies - Primer

5 Best Mind Bending Movies – Primer

Much has been made of Primer’s low low low budget. Much has been made of the premise. But I’m here to tell you that Primer is by far and away the number one mind bender movie of all time. Bring your 300 million budget of Avatar and compare it to Primer’s $12k. Bring your big budget special effects of Inception and compare it to Primer’s zero special effects. Bring your amazing Hitchcockian writing and concepts. And you still don’t hold a candle to this movie. I here by throw the gauntlet down. If you can prove me wrong on this one I will UPS you a coke. Promise.

And what’s sad is that I’m betting that you haven’t heard of this movie. (“Primer? How do you even pronounce it? Pr-eh-mer? Pr-I-mer? bah.” I hear you say.) I read an interview with Shane Carruth, the director, writer, actor, financier, guru and demigod of Primer, and he was asked why he didn’t wrap up the movie and rewind it so everyone could end on the same page. What was his response? I didn’t want to talk down to my audience. Hahahah. I love that answer.

The basic premise is that a couple of part time engineers accidentally event a time machine. And it all goes to pot from there. The story is actually a meta-conversation around friendships. Two buddies who would do anything for each other are suddenly doubting each other. Two friends are suddenly second guessing not only each other but themselves. And from there it spirals to really dark areas of the brain that probably show us why we don’t have power over the fourth dimension.

Primer is where I will conclude this list. But I would love to hear your movies that fit this mind bending definition. Send ’em our way and I’ll add them to the list. Go on, I dare you to beat this list of Mind Benders.

Commenter Recommendations
And beat my list you have tried!! After allowing this post to stew a bit and allow others to comment on their preferred mind benders I have collected them and listed them below for easier consumption than having to read through all the comments. So here we go:

Donnie Darko, 12 Monkeys, The Fountain, Identity, Fight Club, Se7en, Shutter island, Inception, Session, Usual Suspects, Jacob’s Ladder, Moon, Pan’s Labyrinth Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Mulholland Drive, Stay, The Ring, Pandorum, Nine Queens, Sixth Sense, Unforgettable, Matchstick Men, One Point O, Cypher, Synecdoche New York, Slipstream, and The Man from Earth.

Edited by, CY

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59 Responses

    • Ben

      I sincerely think Ex Machina could get at least an honorable mention. But maybe I am wrong in reading Calebs character in a way he wasnt meant to be read. I dont want to spoil anything, but Caleb in Ex Machina was one of the most amazing mind f*cks for me when I noticed it second time around…

      • Taylor Holmes

        Hey there Ben,
        Yeah – this post was written back in 2011. I should do a new one and include some newer better ones. Ex Machina would make the list, it would just depend on how long the list got. But yeah, I did a post about Machina over here, here, and again here. Pretty big fan of that flick. And if you liked that, you should check out Uncanny. Same ballgame even better mind-job-ness though.


  1. Di

    Oh this is absolutely wonderful! I watched Memento before I started taking my classes that teach me to dissect every thing I love, so I must watch it again anyways. I love Inception and my mother and I do enjoy thinking films (and the discussions they lead to). I was just running out of ideas on what to watch, and voíla: a list of mindfuck to behold!

  2. Taylor

    Hey Di,
    Would love to hear your thoughts on the ones you haven’t seen yet. Especially if you crack them wide open and have the insight into understanding them! Glad you liked the post.

    Are there others that should be added to this list?

    • Rick

      Good list bro I’ve seen all these & they’re all top notch films. I remember I was at a friend’s house we were watching the Independent Film Channel & ‘Tape’ came on it was so good for such a low budget film. Another film that came on that night was called ‘Street Thief'(2006) it’s like a fake documentary but damn it was so good it’s a must see for sure.

      • Taylor Holmes

        Fake Documentary? Like Catfish? Or different?

        Thanks for the recommendation. Definitely added to my movie list (which is ever growing!)

  3. Di


    I’ve downloaded them, but yet to watch them. I wouldn’t say Shutter Island be added, if only because I cracked the movie within 15-20 minutes (that was too easy), but it does make you question just what in heaven’s name is going on. I mainly remember repeating the phrase, “He cray-cray. He is bonafide crazy and this is all in his head. Next movie, mom.” The ending did leave me a little unsettled, however, because it seemed like a Catch-22, where he was clearly sane after all, but decided to do opt for the cray-cray option. Well, in SI’s case, he seemed to have finally gotten a grasp on reality but decided to be responsible and go through with the lobotomy.

    I’d suggest a separate list for movies that aren’t terribly “WHOA WTF” and more so, “Hmmm….wtf.” Shutter Island, Catch-22, and Inception would belong on it. But here I am rambling, digressing from the topic. I’ll go watch Tape now :]

  4. Ivan

    I would like to add two more: Donnie Darko – crazy, strange and weird movie and The Man from Earth – nice idea with very good final realization. The second one maybe does not belong on mind-job list of movies, but until the end it keeps viewer on ‘the edge’.

    List is good, especially Dark City.

    p.s. 12 monkeys?

  5. Di

    Watched Tape. I found it pretty funny, aside from the mounting tension. However, I do think the whole movie was drug-induced. From the insinuations of Hawke and the way Leonard’s character begins to fall for it. It’s a mental game, and I’m not sure what Hawke is trying to accomplaish. Thurman, on the other hand, seems to be playing with both of them. One mind game within a mind game, like a bad case of Inception :P

  6. Taylor

    Hey there Ivan!
    Donnie Darko is definifitely out here in the land of complete-mind-job movies. Good catch.

    I’ve never heard of Man From Earth. I will go check it out post haste. And 12 Monkeys is one of the great mind benders of all time. The time travel and the hopelessness in spite of all the efforts was an awesome twist.

    Good movies to add! Thanks!

  7. Ivan

    Yeah, 12 monkey have such a awesome atmosphere. Terry Gilliam is a master of that kind of work: he will drag you into the movie, almost as a part of the scenario. For me, 12 monkeys have a ultimate best atmosphere and production design.

    The Man From Earth is a straightforward movie – excellent scenario, one room and few people talking. What more to ask for? :)

  8. Taylor

    Hey Ivan,
    Love movies that are driven by dialogue. Good writing is the heart of any movie. Add good actors to say the lines and voila, I am perfectly happy with an entire movie set at a park bench. (Thus my love for Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.)

    I definitely have to watch Man From Earth now. Thanks for the tip amigo!!


  9. Taylor

    Glad you enjoyed Tape. I totally agree – it was definitely a movie inside a movie inside a movie. But all within the worlds of the characters. Really very cleverly written and acted and plotted. Thanks for coming back through and giving your thoughts!


  10. Ivan

    np Taylor ;). I am expecting some feedback for Man From Earth…
    I’ve added Primer and Tape to my “must-watch” movie collection

  11. Taylor

    Hey Ivan,
    I just rented it on iTunes to watch on my flight Monday to the Tridion conference Adam and I are attending. Wish I could have brought my favorite Serb along to chat movies! I’ll let you know in a couple days what I thought of it. I’ve read a number of reviews and it looks amazing. Thanks a ton for the recommendation. Can’t wait.


  12. Ivan

    Hey Taylor,
    Favorite Serb :), hahahaha, you know couple of them :). Thank you “Dwight” :). We (girlfriend and I) watched ‘Tape’ few nights ago. My personal movie score:5/10. Uma was cool, and in general there was too much arguing throughout movie. Primer is next…

  13. Dustin

    Great topic Taylor and not too bad a list. The Fountain (2006) would have to be up there, and have you ever seen Slipstream (2007)?

  14. Taylor

    @Ivan –
    TOO MUCH ARGUING?!? hahaha. That cracks me up. Love it. I watched “Man From Earth” on the flight home. I’m going to be really really honest with you. This movie had a LOT of baggage in it for me. Most of these actors are old washed up 80’s sit-com actors. Not sure how they landed an acting gig at this stage in their career. So that didn’t help me at all with swallowing the premise. But otherwise, the idea was clever. And the dialogue was cute. If I had read the screenplay it would have been a lot easier to enjoy I’m sure.

    Which brings me to another blog post idea. THE TOP TEN DIALOGUE MOVIES. Like Tape, Reality Bites, Before Sunset, Before Sunrise & any movie by Woodie Allen… etc. I love a good dialogue movie. Most of my friends throw up when I recommend them though because an idea isn’t enough to sustain most audiences. Can you guys think of other good DIALOGUE DRIVEN MOVIES?

    @Dustin, I absolutely LOVED the Fountain. Goodness and light there. But I’ve never even heard of Slipstream before. And it has Hopkins in it? Amazing I’ve missed that one. Good recommendation amigo. Greatly appreciated!

    Until next time,

  15. hisham

    Almost my favorite five. i would move memento to number one. and maybe slide ‘Identity’ in instead of eternal sunshine.

  16. Taylor

    Identity absolutely rocked the house. I just completely spaced it. I did have a bit of an issue with the sort of cop out ending. But it was still very very clever. The writing was gorgeous and the acting was nothing shy of stellar. Great call Hisham!! Appreciate your calling it our attention.


  17. Azman Mutalib

    My top mind-bending movie list: 1. Donnie Darko, 2. Fight Club, 3. Memento, 4. Se7en, 5. Shutter Island, 6. Inception, 7. Session 9, 8. Usual Suspect

  18. Ken

    Of these movies tape is the only one I’ve not seen, It is among very good company, so I will soon see it as well.

  19. Tony W

    On the topic of good dialogue movies, Hurlyburly would definitely be on my list.

  20. Kirit Sahgal

    absolutely great movies on the list….why don’t you guys check out jacob’s ladder (1990), one point o (2004), enter the void (2009), cypher (2002), synecdoche, new york (2008). i think they are also along the same lines as the ones mentioned here. let me know what you think?

  21. Taylor

    Brilliant list. Jacob’s Ladder is one of my favorite movies of all time. Just love it. Looking back on it and seeing the angels and the demons after the fact makes the movie just ring on multiple levels.

    As for these others – I believe I might have seen Enter the Void, it rings bells, but I can’t say why. I’m going to run off and research them and start watching. I think this is my favorite blog I’ve ever done solely because it is constantly giving me new ideas to consider in my favorite genre of movies. So THANKS for the new movie recommendation Kirit!

    And Azman, I haven’t seen Session. I’ll definitely go get on that. Brilliance.

    Thanks all! And keep the movie ideas coming.

  22. Matt

    Didnt read the comments so I don’t know if anyone has mentioned these but I would have MOON and The Man From Earth, both those really got me thinking

  23. Matt

    Also Good List! Seen them all except Primer, little put off by reading that its a lot of technical jargon but this is one too many times that I’ve seen it rated as one of the most mind bending films so I’m gonna watch it tonight

  24. Stevie DC

    Just re-watched Memento for the first time in about 8 years, and then tracked down and read your fantastic website (and equally fantastic comments) attempting to explain it. That led me to this page – great list!

    Here a couple others I’m surprised no one else has added to the comments: Pan’s Labyrinth, Being John Malkovich and (especially!) Adaptation. The first two may not really qualify as “mind-bending”, but I think Adaptation does!

  25. Joshp

    Inland Empire?
    Mullholland Drive?
    Lost Highway?
    Blue Velvet?

    any Lynch fans out there?
    how about some older stuff? Like, Fellini – 8 1/2 or Bergman – Wild Strawberries or Polanski – Repulsion? These guys were mind F*ing audiences way before Inception… that to me is even more mind bending, if you would have seen these movies back then…you would have commited suicide.

  26. dacrum

    I find mind-bending movies can be divided into two groups: the concept film and the convoluted film.

    Concept films often incorporates sci-fi elements, is based off a high concept (and is often highly sought after in Hollywood), often surreal or a literal dream. A concept film is mind-bending because the concept is intriguing, complex, and hard-to-follow.

    Convoluted films usually employ an unreliable narrator. They are often more reality-based in setting, but use psychological confusion, deliberate deceit, or incomplete/misleading information to create rabbit trails (Alice in Wonderland, an original mind-bender). A convoluted film is mind-bending because we don’t know what is true and what is a lie or delusion.

    All mind-benders leave the viewer at least partially confused after the first viewing, and may take multiple viewings to determine what happened. Even then, clues and theories are relied upon, but no one true answer can be found because these films are deliberately abstract, vague, and ultimately unknowable. That is the challenge and the appeal of the mind-bender!

    Mind-benders are not to be confused with movies that have a twist ending. While many mind-benders, especially convoluted films, employ one or more twists, a twist in a regular movie explains all and leaves no doubt as to what happened throughout. Mind-benders, not so.

    Also, it’s important to note that many films inspire to be mind-benders but fall short. They may use unreliable narrators, high concepts, dreamworlds, etc. but the quality or execution of the movie lets it down. Others may use these techniques without intending to be mind-benders. It is not the technique that makes a movie a mind-bender, but the ambiguity, both throughout and afterwards.

    Here’s a partial list from my viewing. Some of them could fit into both categories, but most are obviously one far more than the other, although I’ve included one movie on both lists because it used both, I felt, equally. Many of these were already mentioned, but worth a repeat. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about each of these long after watching them. Mileage may vary.

    Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
    Donnie Darko
    Eternal Sunshine
    Dark City
    Being John Malkovich
    The Fountain
    Pan’s Labyrinth

    Shutter Island
    Fight Club
    Mulholland Drive
    The Ring
    The Usual Suspects
    Nine Queens

    Twists, not mind-bending:
    Sixth Sense
    The Village
    Matchstick Men
    many mysteries and thrillers

    p.s. Great topic. Mind-benders are some of my favorite movies. I wasn’t big on Primer. It was convoluted, and high-concept enough, but I found I just didn’t care, and so it was just confusing and boring. Identity was definitely up there until the cop-out ending which ruined it all. Shutter Island… well, I’m not sure it’s so clearly defined that he was, in fact, crazy, nor that he was sane at the end. That is the popular opinion, and one I lean toward, but not without trepidation. I could argue for each one of these, but this is already ridic long.

    • Taylor

      Dacrum, Rorschach, Stevie, et al.
      Great comments. Not exactly sure how I fell off the distro list for this post – but I think I did! Gah. Anyway, you guys have been having a great conversation over here and somehow I’ve missed out on it. Especially seeing as though I’ve recently been to Florida and California and was dying for good movies to watch (instead I watched John Carter, why exactly?!) So thanks for the pile of good ideas. I think maybe I should just roll up all the recommendations given in the comments and add them to the larger blog… hrmmm.

      But I did want to mention a couple things. Dacrum – there were a couple in your list that just screamed at me (quite literally) that I speak to. The Ring! Brilliant mention. I have been recently been reading House of Leaves (which you can join me for here: ) which totally reminds me of. The Ring was awesome. So much so I went back and watched the original as well – Ringu was it? Can’t remember.

      Others you mentioned that I loved: obviously, Adaptation, Fight Club, ,The Usual Suspects, Nine Queens, Lost (really good TV right there – X-Files too, are there others?),

      The ones you guys have mentioned that I don’t know are: Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Stay, Pandorum, Unforgettable, Matchstick Men, Inland Empire, Open your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos), Altered States & The Science of Sleep. I’ve heard of most – and have added them to my watch list. Great list though, exciting stuff.


  27. lost soul

    one of my favourite is mr. nobody.. a good movie to watch… never get bored of it

  28. Rorschach

    1) Open your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos)
    2) Altered States
    3) The Science of Sleep

  29. Malik

    I second Mr. Nobody, one of my all time faves, and certainly an underappreciated gem

  30. Matt

    Some lesser knowns that I find intriguing:

    Fermat’s Room (in Spanish I believe so a subtitled movie)
    Deception (with Jackman, McGregor)
    Brick (more of a murder mystery but great)

  31. reklama Krapkowice

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be
    ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Stop by my website; reklama Krapkowice

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Reklama,
      Not really. I have a couple accounts, but have let them lapse. Instagram is where I hang out more. And you can find me at @Taylor_Holmes.

      Thanks for swinging by!

  32. Ian Scaife

    I would add ‘Enemy’ to the list. The closing shot of the film invokes a reaction that cannot be compared to anything else I have ever seen.

    Highly recommended.


    • Lauren Pace

      Agree on Enemy! Also: Coherence and The One That I Love. I’ve seen them both mentioned in other spots in your site.

  33. IG

    it was my turn to pick a movie and having seen all that i “needed” to see, i walked the parade of posters outside the theatre. i saw the one for Primer and was reminded of reading about this low budget weird time bending film being made in texas. i had forgotten about its release until that moment. i chose it. we saw it. the dude i was with thought it was kind of stupid. i remember thinking, “what?!? What?!? WHAT is his problem? he is sooooooo not the guy for me”. then, i corrected myself internally about being so shallow. i experienced a similar moment with Memento. he had not seen it. like batman, i was determined to correct this mistake in his life choices and rescued him by swiftly swooping in, interrupted my netflix queue flow, and ordered it up. this is love, yes? i was stoked to do movie analysis with my guy one, two, three, four, five days, weeks, months… you know… whatever felt right… balls to the wall throwdown of movie speak battle, yeah? he watched it and said, “that was okay”. even the beautiful work of art, Eternal Sunshine became smeared with a “that was interesting, but what’s the point?” comment. the question is not how do i remember these small polka dots of conversation, but how can i not, right? geeeeeeeeez. turns out those thoughts in the theatre parking lot after the Primer viewing said so much more than i knew at that time. hindsight. ugh.

    to make a long story longer… when i saw the list above, my eyes bugged. combine this with your Z post = i am kinda gobsmacked. i have decided to change up my game. in order to agree or disagree with complete clarity, i am going to mess with my netflix queue and re-watch all things that have been taylor’d. i will then check out what you post before i return the dvd (just in case i need to re-watch again). sound crazy? yes. do you get it? i know you do. project taylor, day1.

    • Taylor Holmes

      I think it’s been mentioned here once or twice. Great movie. I’ve been meaning to do a fullon break down when I get a chance, but like you said, that one is a slippery little bugger. Plan to read your blog and see if your thoughts match up with mine. Definitely an intense movie. I adored it.


  34. KeeCeez

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned The 13th Floor. Granted you’re given a solitary character perspective to follow and therefore understand the motivations and story as you move along with the character but it totally maintained a level of complexity that on an initial viewing made it difficult to guess or figure out where it was going. It’s a bit on the cheesy side and kind of namby at the end but it’s definitely in the mind twisty category.

    Existenz is another goodie, next to Primer it’s my favorite. It reconciles at the end but it’s not until the end that you realize what you’ve been watching.

    PRIMER – is the master and the one to beat. No one thus far has come close to pulling off what Carruth has accomplished. I KNEW #1 was going to be Primer :)

    I don’t really consider Nolan’s movies to be mind-bendy because you can connect with the perspective you’re given and the fact you’re given a perspective hands you a base to build logic around, interpretations definitely vary but you understand what it is you’re watching. The absence of a clear and solitary perspective winds up isolating like 80-90% of the viewing audience so major theatrical releases tend not to take the route of isolating the greater part of the viewing audience.

    Primer definitely denied the viewer that “out” and forces you to think your way through repeatedly. The scientific and technological dialog does a great job of forcing you out -keeping you disconnected or disoriented in the story, the pacing is spot on too. You really have to want to understand Primer, and even then, you’ll have questions. It’s the best!

    –oh yeah, Total Recall (the 80s version).

  35. Sebastian

    I would like to point you to a german mind bending time travel movie. Its only in german with english subtitles available. Its about a guy who loses his daughter in an accident while he cheats on his wife. Later he discovers a hidden door to the past which he uses to try to change history. Later its discovered that he is not the first one who found this door.


  36. Shivom

    Hey, been through the whole thread. I found this blog really interesting. I’m a Hollyholic and love Sci Fies / Psychotic Thrillers / Comedy / Dramas AF… Taylor, you’re cool. Primer’s been one of my favorites and it still takes my breath away everytime I think of it. I preferably go through as many details as possible after I watch a movie. I review all the possibilities and theories the plot might suggest to. I’m damn deep into the space fantasies as well. I have a list of a few movies left unmentioned in the thread so far. I would strongly recommend you guys to watch these all time ‘Mindfuck’ Movies.
    1. Interstellar
    I’m surprised to know that I’m the first one to be coming up with this name here. I bet most of y’all have already watched it. Guess what, its Christopher Nolan.
    2. Edge of Tomorrow
    Time loops, Alternate realities, Alien invasion and Tom Cruise. A perfect mix of comedy, action, science and thrills.
    3. Triangle
    This is seriously one of those underrated films which deserve attention and respect. The references in this suspense thriller Sci Fi are so strong and meaningful.
    4. Predestination
    Simply perfect. Yet another thriller science fiction with time travel which would squeeze your brains out.
    5. Looper
    You can’t miss this one. The plot it extremely fine and screenplay is as amazing as it could ever be.
    6. AI : Artificial Intelligence
    A very emotional and heart melting fantasy. Dramatic and scientific at the same time.
    7. Pulp Fiction
    One of those indie dramas which leave your mouth wide open as the credits roll. Parallel storylines intersect.
    8. 2001 : A Space Odyssey
    Another name I hoped to see up there but couldn’t find. One of the finest space travel movies. Journey to the Jupiter.
    9. Prometheus
    Dwelling in the concept of Gods and our existence, this movie raises very valid and excellent questions of the motive and destiny of our lives. And we even get to meet out creators…!
    10. Project Almanac
    A scholar who just got selected in the MIT discovers an unfinished project of his dead scientist dad which accidentally leads him to be the inventor of a Time Machine. Much like primer. Just not that complicated.
    11. The Butterfly Effect
    Explains the significance and viability of the Chaos Theory. How one simple flutter of a butterfly’s wing can create a hurricane on the other side of the globe.
    12. Identity
    As already mentioned several times.
    Psychological thriller with suspense so killing you’d rather watch it again and again. The End is just overwhelming and one of the greatest WTFs. Just like Shutter Island, the movie has a well written story and climax.

    You can’t miss these movies. Just add them all in your string right away. I bet you won’t regret. Thank me later.
    Also, ‘Mr. Nobody’ has been in one of my best movies’ list. I loved ‘Fight Club’ as much as ‘Inception’. ‘Memento’ sure is a masterpiece. I’m so obsessed with ‘Donnie Darko’. ‘Mulholland Drive’ was unexceptionable. ‘The Prestige’, ‘The Fountain’, ‘Se7en’ and ’12 Monkeys’ were great as well.
    This thread has all the movies worth watching and I’m really thankful to all you folks for sharing your views.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Hey there Shivom,
      Great list of movies. I believe I have seen them all and can vouch for their brilliance. Kudos. Shivom, I have long reviews and discussions of many of these movies that you should check out and comment on. But regardless it sounds like we are twins separated at birth with a lot of the same interests. Sending you all the appropriate best friend forms presently.

      Haha – Taylor

      • Shivom

        Hello again, I’m so glad to be having this conversation with you Taylor. Yes indeed, we’re twins lol. I’ve had gone through all your reviews and discussion threads. Must admit, you’ve got another fan. Bookmarked the site as one of my favorites, and yes I would love to share my views with the viewers over all those mind-bending movies.

        PS – l forgot to mention a few movies I can’t simply resist to watch over and over.

        1. Lucy
        One of the greatest philosophical Sci Fies which tells you the capability your powerful brain possesses. From telekinesis to time travel, one can be invincible and do anything you can ever imagine with the help of that all-powerful brain which we barely use upto it’s true potential.

        2. Coherence
        Much like Primer, the movie was made with the lowest possible expenses. Underrated like Triangle, but the intensity of plot and meaningfulness unravels and as the timeline starts to loop only to develop even more complex parallel realities as a comet passes close to the Earth.

        3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
        This is a very thought provoking movie with a deep meaning carved within. Life goes backwards for poor Benjamin as he is born old and gets younger all the way back to infancy.

        4. Source Code
        Here again, you get to see the protagonist relive a time gap of 8 minutes multiple times to spot and identify a bomber who is further planning a nuclear explosion in the city. What follows is totally unexpected and leaves the audience gazing up in amazement and deep thoughts as the credits roll.

        That’s it for now, I’m sure my twin might have watched these too.
        Thankyou so much for providing us with these wild theories and open-end climaxes. These threads never get old. Well wishes for the future, dear Taylor.
        – Shivom

  37. Ari

    I found you through Coherence. You haven’t updated this list in this reality! :)

  38. Skip Pierce

    Ex Machina is definitely a contender, but I think you should have added or at least considered Coherence. Like Primer, the movie has “already started” way before you begin to watch it.
    As an aside, I didn’t like Primer very much. thought it moved too slowly. (IMHO)


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