popular opinion The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made  

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List Rules 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 DriveEraserheadInland Empire, and Lost Highway), Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space OdysseyThe 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 YorkAdaptationEternal 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
1,239 552
Memento is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Memento Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story "Memento Mori". It stars Guy Pearce, ...more

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2
1,489 715
Inception is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard Inception is a 2010 science fiction heist thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ken ...more

3
1,280 352
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Donnie Darko Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Mary McDonnell. The film depicts the ...more

4
819 287
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 Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. It tells the story of an aspiring actress named Betty Elms, newly arrived in Los Angeles, ...more

5
859 335
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 2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel". Clarke ...more

6
377 317
The Tree of Life is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
PeteBoyle added The Tree of Life Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain The Tree of Life is a 2011 American experimental drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. The film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man's ...more

7
611 377
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer 12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt, with Christopher ...more

8
598 390
Vanilla Sky is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
LucasSerrano added Vanilla Sky Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz Vanilla Sky is a 2001 American science fiction thriller film directed, written, and co-produced by Cameron Crowe. It is an English-language remake of Alejandro Amenábar's 1997 Spanish film Open Your Eyes, which was written by ...more

9
508 336
Eyes Wide Shut is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Bootsdad added Eyes Wide Shut Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Stanley Kubrick Eyes Wide Shut is a 1999 American erotic thriller film loosely based upon Arthur Schnitzler's 1926 novella Dream Story. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. It was his last film, as he died six days after showing ...more

10
644 409
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 A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry, juvenile ...more

11
896 583
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 Fight Club is a 1999 film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher, and stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton plays the unnamed protagonist, an ...more

12
450 285
Being John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Being John Malkovich Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen Being John Malkovich is a 1999 American fantasy comedy film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. It stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener, with John Malkovich as a fictional version of himself. In the film, ...more

13
713 645
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
wiabux added The Matrix Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss The Matrix is a 1999 American-Australian science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. It depicts a dystopian future in which ...more

14
355 240
The Fountain is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
The Fountain Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn The Fountain is a 2006 American drama film that blends elements of fantasy, history, spirituality, and science fiction. It is directed by Darren Aronofsky, and stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. The film consists of three story lines, in ...more

15
247 203
Antichrist is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Antichrist Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm Antichrist is a 2009 Danish experimental horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It tells the story of a couple who, after the death of their child, retreat to a cabin in the woods ...more

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544 482
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers. The film is based ...more

17
336 203
Pi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Pi Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell Pi, also titled π, is a 1998 American surrealist psychological thriller film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky in his directorial debut. The film earned Aronofsky the Directing Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, the Independent ...more

18
728 365
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as U.S. Marshal Edward ...more

19
265 275
The Mothman Prophecies is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
The Mothman Prophecies Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 supernatural thriller film directed by Mark Pellington, based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel. The screenplay was written by Richard Hatem. The film stars ...more

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312 192
Jacob's Ladder is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
ChangesDownClub added Jacob's Ladder Macaulay Culkin, Tim Robbins, Jason Alexander Jacob's Ladder is a 1990 American psychological horror film directed by Adrian Lyne, written and produced by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña and Danny Aiello. The Special Edition of the film was released on DVD ...more

21
517 334
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
dlewisxc added Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious ...more

22
418 162
Primer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Primer Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Keith Bradshaw Primer is a 2004 American science fiction drama film about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel. The film was written, directed, produced, edited and scored by Shane Carruth, who also stars in the main role. Primer is of note for ...more

23
382 182
Eraserhead is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Eraserhead Jack Nance, Jeanne Bates, Jack Fisk Eraserhead is a 1977 American surrealist body horror film written and directed by filmmaker David Lynch. Shot in black-and-white, Eraserhead is Lynch's first feature-length film, coming after several short works. The film was produced with the ...more

24
400 368
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne The Usual Suspects is a 1995 German-American neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri, Pete ...more

25
302 175
Lost Highway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Lost Highway Richard Pryor, Gary Busey, Patricia Arquette Lost Highway is a 1997 French-American psychological thriller film written and directed by David Lynch. Blending elements of horror and neo-noir, the plot features Bill Pullman as a man convicted of the murder of his wife, after which he ...more

26
510 269
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. The film ...more

27
114 197
Stay is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
WR10Dev7 added Stay Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor Stay is a 2005 American psychological thriller film directed by Marc Forster and written by David Benioff. It stars Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling, Bob Hoskins and Naomi Watts, with production by Regency and distribution by 20th Century Fox. The ...more

28
200 137
Blue Velvet is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added Blue Velvet Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern Blue Velvet is a 1986 American mystery thriller flm, written and directed by David Lynch. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern. The title is taken from The Clovers' 1955 song of the same name. ...more

29
493 511
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 The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film tells the story of Cole Sear, a troubled, isolated boy who is able to see and talk to the dead, and an equally troubled child ...more

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253 171
Brazil is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Dave Loomis added Brazil Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm Brazil is a 1985 British film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard. British National Cinema by Sarah Street describes the film as a "fantasy/satire on bureaucratic society" while John ...more

31
299 281
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Bootsdad added Requiem for a Dream Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby, Jr., ...more

32
313 181
Cloud Atlas is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
SamiMorcos added Cloud Atlas Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon Cloud Atlas is a 2012 science fiction film written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski. Adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, the film has multiple plotlines set across six different eras. The ...more

33
224 222
Identity is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Haskins added Identity Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina Identity is a 2003 American psychological thriller film directed by James Mangold from a screenplay written by Michael Cooney. The film stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall and Rebecca De Mornay. While it is ...more

34
310 335
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Total Recall Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone. The film is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story "We Can Remember It for You ...more

35
265 235
The Matrix Revolutions is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added The Matrix Revolutions Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith The Matrix Revolutions is a 2003 American science fiction action film and the third installment of The Matrix trilogy. The film was released six months following The Matrix Reloaded. The film was written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers ...more

36
120 59
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
mainpleine added Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me David Bowie, Heather Graham, Kiefer Sutherland Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 American psychological horror film, directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Robert Engels. The film can be viewed as both prologue and epilogue to the television series Twin Peaks, created by ...more

37
422 438
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Scott Klingaman added Pulp Fiction John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American black comedy crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, from a story by Tarantino and Roger Avary. The film is known for its eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, ...more

38
269 221
The Number 23 is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
ChangesDownClub added The Number 23 Jim Carrey, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman The Number 23 is a 2007 American psychological thriller film written by Fernley Phillips and directed by Joel Schumacher. Starring Jim Carrey, the film was released in the United States on February 23, 2007. The plot involves an obsession with ...more

39
158 112
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
MikeHegstrom added The Machinist Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar. The film stars Christian Bale with Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, and ...more

40
112 152
Existenz is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Existenz Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Jennifer Jason Leigh Existenz is a 1999 Canadian science fiction body horror film written, produced, and directed by Canadian director David Cronenberg. It stars Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law. As in Videodrome, Cronenberg gives his psychological statement about ...more

41
250 290
Life of Pi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
llh6782 added Life of Pi Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu Life of Pi is a 2012 adventure film written by David Magee and directed by Ang Lee.

42
196 147
Naked Lunch is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Naked Lunch Ian Holm, Roy Scheider, Julian Sands Naked Lunch is a 1991 science fiction drama film written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, and Roy Scheider. It is a film adaptation of William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel of the same name. It was ...more

43
159 72
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Mediocre_Maja added Interstellar Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The film features a crew of astronauts who travel through a ...more

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192 193
Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added Trainspotting Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller Trainspotting is a 1996 British crime comedy drama film directed by Danny Boyle, and starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald. Based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh, ...more

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166 180
Dark City is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
dlewisxc added Dark City Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, Melissa George Dark City is a 1998 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was written by Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer. The film stars Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, and William Hurt. Sewell plays ...more

46
189 127
The Prestige is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
GhassenHammas added The Prestige Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman The Prestige is a 2006 mystery drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay adapted by him and his brother Jonathan Nolan from Christopher Priest's 1995 World Fantasy Award-winning novel of the same name. The story follows Robert ...more

47
131 138
Videodrome is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Videodrome Debbie Harry, James Woods, David Cronenberg Videodrome is a 1983 Canadian postmodernist science fiction body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring James Woods, Sonja Smits, and Deborah Harry. Set in Toronto in the early 1980s, it follows the CEO of a small ...more

48
91 131
The End of Evangelion is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
The End of Evangelion Megumi Hayashibara, Junko Iwao, Koyasu Taketo The End of Evangelion is a 1997 Japanese animated science fiction film written and directed by Hideaki Anno, animated by IG Port's subsidiary Production I.G, released as a finale for the mecha-based television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. ...more

49
96 112
Synecdoche, New York is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
MichaelHritz added Synecdoche, New York Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Philip Seymour Hoffman Synecdoche, New York is a 2008 American postmodern drama film written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is Kaufman's directorial debut. The plot follows an ailing theatre director as he works on an ...more

50
180 172
The Matrix Reloaded is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added The Matrix Reloaded Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith The Matrix Reloaded is a 2003 American science fiction action film, the first sequel to The Matrix, and the second installment in The Matrix trilogy, written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers. It premiered on May 7, 2003, in Westwood, Los ...more