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10 Movies like Inception that Actually Make You Think

Shreyas Dasharathe
Inception was a highly original film in many ways. It challenged its viewers and kept them engrossed throughout its 148 minutes, and probably even after that. Several other filmmakers too have been known for taking bold steps and putting out challenging movies like Inception. Here's a look at a few of them.
Did You Know?
Director Christopher Nolan worked on the script of Inception for around 10 years on and off while making his other films.

Only once in a while comes a film that not only intrigues and engages you emotionally, but also plays with your mind to an extent that you are dazzled by its ideas and concepts.
One such filmmaker today is Christopher Nolan, who, right from his debut film Following, has in some way or the other challenged the viewer with unique and fascinating stories and characters.
Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, came out in 2010, after his highly acclaimed Batman film The Dark Knight. Inception is a heist film based on dreams and the world within.
A steadfast plot and tight story with unique concepts made this film a hit across the world. It had people debating over its ending for days, and are probably guessing even today.
It is not the only movie that gets you thinking your brains off. For all those wanting to put their hands on some more, we've put together a list of other movies just like Inception.


Director: Shane Carruth
Producer: Shane Carruth
Actors: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan.
Released: 2004
Duration: 77 minutes
Budget: $7 thousand
Box Office: $400 thousand

Aaron, Abe, Robert, and Phillip are engineers working for a large corporation. They run a side-business selling JTAG cards from Aaron's garage at night.
Intending to build a technology that reduces the weight of an object, they notice that the object in the device experiences faster time for the period the device is activated, allowing the object to travel through time. If you think the concept is mind-bending enough, you should definitely experience the movie itself.
One of the most complex concepts in science fiction have been tackled in this movie. By the end of it, your mind will be racing with questions, wanting to go back and see what just happened there, again and again.


Director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd
Actors: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano.
Released: 2000
Duration: 113 minutes
Budget: $5 million
Box Office: $40 million
Memento is the story of Leonard Shelby who has anterograde amnesia (short-term memory loss). He is on the pursuit of his wife's killer. He has tattoos all over his body to remind him about important things. When you come across terms like 'mend-bending', or 'head-scratching', Christopher Nolan's movies are probably among the top of the bunch.
With this one, he takes you inside the head of Leonard. The movie runs in two parallel timelines; one in color and the other in black and white. The structure of scenes in color is backward. No other movie plays trick on your mind as this one does in terms of creating confusion. Yet, you want to hold on to it. You just cannot let go.
It teases your mind with every detail that is revealed. The outstanding climax scene takes it to a whole new level, and you are left with so many questions that you cannot resist coming back and watching it again, and again, and again!

The Matrix

Director: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Producer: Joel Silver
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano.
Released: 1999
Duration: 136 minutes
Budget: $63 million
Box Office: $460 million
Thomas Anderson works as a computer programmer, and secretly as a hacker by the name 'Neo'. When another hacker named Trinity introduces him to a man named Morpheus, he learns the truth about the world and what 'The Matrix' really is.
This movie is hauntingly beautiful and a mind-twister like no other. The Matrix was a pretty huge success when it came out, because of its dazzling visual effects and nail-biting stunts. The ideas presented in the movie will put you in perpetual doubt of your own reality.

Shutter Island

Director: Martin Scorsese
Producer: Martin Scorsese, Bradley J. Fischer, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson.
Released: 2010
Duration: 138 minutes
Budget: $80 million
Box Office: $295 million
The story revolves around Edward 'Teddy' Daniels and his visit to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor. Arriving with his new partner Chuck Aule, they are called in to investigate the disappearance of a patient named Rachel Solando.
This movie slowly creeps into your mind and surrounds you with intriguing mysteries about the Ashecliffe and Edward.
As you move on further, you know you are getting into something dangerous and grand. The more you want to talk about the movie, the more there is a chance of giving it all away. Go ahead and giving it a watch! It will blow your mind when you least expect.

Source Code

Director: Duncan Jones
Producer: Mark Gordon, Jordan Wynn, Philippe Rousselet
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright.
Released: 2011
Duration: 93 minutes
Budget: $32 million
Box Office: $150 million
U.S. Army Aviation pilot Captain Colter Stevens wakes up at 7:40 am on a train to Chicago. His last memory is that of being on a mission in Afghanistan. As he observes, he discovers that to the world around him, he appears to be a school teacher named Sean Fentress.
His own reflection in the mirror of Sean's. As he is about to learn more, the train explodes. Now, he finds himself in a grim cockpit with a video screen, and on it is Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin waiting with an explanation. Source Code puts forth an interesting idea, and the premise of the movie is based on the same.
As you move further with the story, the structure gets complex, and unexpected things are revealed. By the end, you are confused in a good way; in a way which holds you back in your seat even after the movie has ended. You start connecting the dots now.

Fight Club

Director: David Fincher
Producer: Art Linson, Ceán Chaffin, Ross Grayson Bell
Actors: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter.
Released: 1999
Duration: 139 minutes
Budget: $63 million
Box Office: $100 million
The narrator is a young traveling automobile company employee. He suffers from insomnia, and according to him he hasn't slept in 6 months. On a flight home from a business trip, he meets Tyler Durden, a soap salesman. This marks the beginning of their collaboration in 'mischief, mayhem, and soap'.
Incredibly stylized in its telling, director David Fincher perfectly brings out a story that is visually enchanting and undeniably naughty. The rules, the twisted philosophy, all relate perfectly to the present world, probably the reason of gaining the film a cult following over the years.

Synecdoche, New York

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Producer: Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Sidney Kimmel, Anthony Bregman
Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan.
Released: 2008
Duration: 123 minutes
Budget: $20 million
Box Office: $4 million
Caden Cotard is a theater director who lives with his wife Adele, and daughter Olive. Caden is unfulfilled with his life. He suffers from various ailments from time to time. After receiving a MacArthur Fellowship, he attempts to create a play that portrays brutal realism.
Something, he can completely submerge himself. He goes on to build a complete imitation of the city in the warehouse he uses to build the sets. Surrealism and the mind is a prominent theme in almost all of Charlie Kaufman's works.
An amazing screenwriter who turned director with this one, he creates a philosophically complex and brutally real environment with this film. The film surpasses logic and intellect, and attempts to touch you on a metaphysical level. The more you watch this movie, the more deeper you get inside your own mind.

The Prestige

Director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: Aaron Ryder, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine.
Released: 2006
Duration: 130 minutes
Budget: $40 million
Box Office: $110 million

'Are you watching closely?' marks the beginning of this story, that actually works like a magic trick.
A movie about two rival magicians, their obsessions, and their secrets. Robert Angier and Alfred Borden are young magicians aspiring to make it big one day. After a horrific incident, things get ugly, and their obsessions lead them to a journey nearing the end of the trick.
Christopher Nolan is a master of creating characters and worlds that are clever and absorbing. It is clearly not an exaggeration when the film is said to work like a magic trick. You start witnessing it, you move further in observing the turn of events, and just when you near the end of the trick, it leaves you spellbound till the very last frame.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Director: Michel Gondry
Producer: Anthony Bregman, Steve Golin
Actors: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood.
Released: 2004
Duration: 109 minutes
Budget: $20 million
Box Office: $72 million
When Joel Barish meets Clementine Kruczynski on a train from Montauk, they almost instantly connect, despite being very different personalities. Later though, it is revealed that they are former lovers and have recently separated after being in a relationship for two years.
But Clementine has erased all the memories of their time together through a firm called Lacuna, Inc. He is furious when he learns this, and decides to have the same thing done to himself. Coming again from the brilliant writer Charlie Kaufman and the genius director Michel Gondry,
this movie is probably one of the truest depictions of the human mind and the way memory works. Organic transitions and brilliantly composed shots make it a very subjective experience. The writers received an Academy Award in the category of Best Original Screenplay, and were highly praised for their sheer imagination and originality.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Producer: Stanley Kubrick
Actors: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester.
Released: 1968
Duration: 161 minutes
Budget: $10 million
Box Office: $190 million
A ground-breaking movie in true sense, it is hailed as one of the most important works in the history of cinema. The film unfolds over 4 sections, each telling a story in different time, mainly revolving around the presence of a suspicious monolith. Apart from being a visual spectacle and a pioneer in special effects, the film is deeply philosophical,
and is probably the most perfect portrayal of human evolution and the effect of technology. The sheer quality of production and the ideas based in the films are so ahead of its time, it will most certainly amaze you that it was made in 1968. This film will leave your mind racing with thoughts for a long time after it is finished.
The days of 'dumbing' down content for the audience are going away pretty fast. In fact, filmmakers are putting forth challenging stories and narratives to give an altogether different experience to everyone, with more and more movies like Inception being made in recent times.
As the world gets complex, the stories get trickier and a lot more fun. Let's hope this trend continues, and we get to see more and more of them!