The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made Films

The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

34k votes 3.7k voters 161k views 146 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Vote up any movie that required a rewatch or someone else to explain it to you

The most confusing movies ever made are those films which either intentionally or accidentally are hard to follow, complicated and so far out there that they are disorienting to even the most seasoned viewer. That's not to say these movies are bad because of their complicated nature but certainly not for the easily confused.

For those who crave the mental challenge of confusing movies, there are several directors whose style is highlighted by their complicated plot lines, tendency to present films out of chronological order and seemingly devotion to chaos in their movies. The likes of David Lynch ("Mulholland Drive," "Eraserhead," "Inland Empire" and "Lost Highway"), Stanley Kubrick ("2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Shining" and "Eyes Wide Shut") and Christopher Nolan ("Inception" and "Memento") are perhaps the best at making stellar yet highly confusing movies and among the greatest directors in movie history.

Lynch, Kubrick and Nolan undoubtably influenced other great filmmakers who also have a tendency to create movies that make viewers ask what the heck is happening. Charlie Kaufman, who did "Synecdoche, New York," "Adaptation," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Being John Malkovich," and Steven Soderbergh, responsible for great films like "Sex, Lies, and Videotape," among many others, gave their interpretation of how to create confusing and simply WTF movies.

So whether you love the twists and turns in "The Matrix" or think the utter madness of "Primer" is cause to be among the worst movies of all time, vote for the movies you think are the most confusing below! Have a confusing movie in mind that's not listed? Add it! Help us rank the most confusing movies ever made.
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  1. 1
    + 1,002
    - 441
    Memento is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Memento Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

  2. 2
    + 1,191
    - 588
    Inception is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

  3. 3
    + 1,012
    - 289
    Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Donnie Darko Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

  4. 4
    + 615
    - 241
    Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

  5. 5
    + 688
    - 271
    2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop

  6. 6
    + 312
    - 276
    The Tree of Life is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    often listed & added by PeteBoyle
    The Tree of Life Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain

  7. 7
    + 418
    - 271
    Eyes Wide Shut is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by Bootsdad
    Eyes Wide Shut Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Stanley Kubrick

  8. 8
    + 489
    - 331
    Vanilla Sky is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by LucasSerrano
    Vanilla Sky Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz

  9. 9
    + 498
    - 318
    12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

  10. 10
    + 508
    - 341
    A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

  11. 11
    + 708
    - 478
    Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Fight Club Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

  12. 12
    + 290
    - 210
    The Fountain is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    The Fountain Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn

  13. 13
    + 216
    - 225
    The Mothman Prophecies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    The Mothman Prophecies Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney

  14. 14
    + 366
    - 246
    Being John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Being John Malkovich Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen

  15. 15
    + 571
    - 540

    often listed & added by wiabux
    Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss

    ;
  16. 16
    + 203
    - 180

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm

    ;
  17. 17
    + 436
    - 393
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

  18. 18
    + 317
    - 136
    Primer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    ranked low on reranks
    Primer Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Keith Bradshaw

  19. 19
    + 565
    - 304
    Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    ranked low on reranks
    Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

  20. 20
    + 423
    - 271
    Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    ranked low on reranks & added by dlewisxc
    Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

  21. 21
    + 94
    - 172
    Stay is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    often listed & added by WR10Dev7
    Stay Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor

  22. 22
    + 268
    - 162
    Pi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Pi Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell

  23. 23
    + 310
    - 162
    Eraserhead is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Eraserhead Jack Nance, Jeanne Bates, Jack Fisk

  24. 24
    + 259
    - 160
    Jacob's Ladder is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by ChangesDownClub
    Jacob's Ladder Macaulay Culkin, Tim Robbins, Jason Alexander

  25. 25
    + 319
    - 307
    The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    often listed
    The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

  26. 26
    + 415
    - 212
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    ranked low on reranks
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey

  27. 27
    + 242
    - 154
    Lost Highway is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Lost Highway Richard Pryor, Gary Busey, Patricia Arquette

  28. 28
    + 205
    - 150
    Brazil is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by Dave Loomis
    Brazil Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm

  29. 29
    + 401
    - 426
    The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

  30. 30
    + 151
    - 115
    Blue Velvet is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by StacyWolfe
    Blue Velvet Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

  31. 31
    + 259
    - 158
    Cloud Atlas is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    ranked low on reranks & added by SamiMorcos
    Cloud Atlas Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon

  32. 32
    + 237
    - 229
    Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by Bootsdad
    Requiem for a Dream Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

  33. 33
    + 262
    - 293
    Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Total Recall Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

  34. 34
    + 350
    - 372
    Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Pulp Fiction John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman

  35. 35
    + 175
    - 189
    Identity is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    often listed & added by Haskins
    Identity Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina

  36. 36
    + 169
    - 129
    Naked Lunch is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Naked Lunch Ian Holm, Roy Scheider, Julian Sands

  37. 37
    + 80
    - 43
    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by mainpleine
    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me David Bowie, Heather Graham, Kiefer Sutherland

  38. 38
    + 224
    - 190

    added by ChangesDownClub
    Jim Carrey, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman

    ;
  39. 39
    + 209
    - 195
    The Matrix Revolutions is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by StacyWolfe
    The Matrix Revolutions Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith

  40. 40
    + 207
    - 240
    Life of Pi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by llh6782
    Life of Pi Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu

  41. 41
    + 92
    - 131
    Existenz is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Existenz Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Jennifer Jason Leigh

  42. 42
    + 150
    - 147
    Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by StacyWolfe
    Trainspotting Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller

  43. 43
    + 80
    - 98
    Solaris is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by StacyWolfe
    Solaris Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet

  44. 44
    + 70
    - 115
    The End of Evangelion is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The End of Evangelion Megumi Hayashibara, Junko Iwao, Koyasu Taketo

  45. 45
    + 107
    - 121
    Videodrome is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made


    Videodrome Debbie Harry, James Woods, David Cronenberg

  46. 46
    + 104
    - 91
    The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by MikeHegstrom
    The Machinist Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

  47. 47
    + 75
    - 93
    Synecdoche, New York is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by MichaelHritz
    Synecdoche, New York Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Philip Seymour Hoffman

  48. 48
    + 143
    - 146
    The Matrix Reloaded is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by StacyWolfe
    The Matrix Reloaded Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith

  49. 49
    + 71
    - 60
    Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by EdwardFraraccio
    Blade Runner Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young

  50. 50
    + 129
    - 159
    Dark City is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

    added by dlewisxc
    Dark City Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, Melissa George

147 +

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