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The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated December 29, 2019 66.7k votes 7.4k voters 252k views 156 items

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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26
Naked Lunch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1991

Actors: Ian Holm, Roy Scheider, Julian Sands, Judy Davis, Nicholas Campbell, + more

Directed by: David Cronenberg

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. ...more

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27
The Number 23 is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
ChangesDownClub added 2007

Actors: Jim Carrey, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman, Lynn Collins, Virginia Madsen, + more

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

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 ...more

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28
The Prestige is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
GhassenHammas added 2006

Actors: Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, + more

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

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 ...more

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29
The Matrix Revolutions ... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 2003

Actors: Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, + more

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

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 ...more

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30
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Scott Klingaman added 1994

Actors: John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, + more

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The lives of two mob hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a boxer (Bruce Willis), a gangster's wife (Uma ...more

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31
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1999

Actors: Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, M. Night Shyamalan, + more

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

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 (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled, isolated boy who ...more

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32
Identity is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Haskins added 2003

Actors: Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina, Ray Liotta, Rebecca De Mornay, + more

Directed by: James Mangold

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, ...more

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33
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
EdwardFraraccio added 1982

Actors: Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, + more

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay, ...more

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34
Videodrome is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1983

Actors: Debbie Harry, James Woods, David Cronenberg, Jayne Eastwood, Leslie Carlson, + more

Directed by: 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 ...more

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35
The Matrix Reloaded is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 2003

Actors: Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett Smith, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, + more

Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

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 ...more

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36
No Country for Old Men ... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
user1 added 2007

Actors: Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, + more

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) ...more

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37
Natural Born Killers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
MikeHegstrom added 1994

Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, + more

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Natural Born Killers is a 1994 American film directed by Oliver Stone starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Sizemore and Tommy Lee Jones. The film was released in the ...more

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38
The Cell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
kaseykolak added 2000

Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Dean Norris, + more

Directed by: Tarsem Singh

The Cell is a 2000 horror film directed by Tarsem Singh, and starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio.

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39
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1990

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Dean Norris, Rachel Ticotin, + more

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. In 2084, a construction worker, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suddenly finds himself embroiled in ...more

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40
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Bootsdad added 2006

Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, Alex Jones, + more

Directed by: Richard Linklater

A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 American animated science fiction thriller film directed by Richard Linklater based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of ...more

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41
Dark City is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
dlewisxc added 1998

Actors: Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, Melissa George, William Hurt, Rufus Sewell, + more

Directed by: Alex Proyas

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, ...more

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42
Solaris is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 1972

Actors: Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet, Yulian Semyonov, Olga Barnet, + more

Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction art film adaptation of Polish author Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film is a meditative ...more

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43
Predestination is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
NielsIckx added 2014

Actors: Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor, Sarah Snook, Madeleine West, Freya Stafford, + more

Directed by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Predestination is a 2014 Australian science fiction film, written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig. The film is based on the Robert A. Heinlein short story "—All You ...more

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44
Enemy is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
leonardsilvers added 2013

Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Enemy is a 2013 Canadian-Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve, loosely adapted by Javier Gullón from José Saramago's 2002 novel The Double. The film ...more

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45
Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 1996

Actors: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Kelly Macdonald, + more

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Trainspotting is a 1996 British 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 ...more

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46
Inland Empire is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2006

Actors: Naomi Watts, Jeremy Irons, Laura Dern, Julia Ormond, Mary Steenburgen, + more

Directed by: David Lynch

Inland Empire is a 2006 mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and was his first feature film since 2001's Mulholland Drive. The feature took two-and-a-half years to complete, and was ...more

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47
Life of Pi is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
llh6782 added 2012

Actors: Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Suraj Sharma, Rafe Spall, + more

Directed by: Ang Lee

Life of Pi is a 2012 American historical drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the novel of the same name by Yann Martel. Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), a young man who is cast away after a ...more

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48
Pink Floyd – The Wall is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
marilu283 added 1982

Actors: Bob Hoskins, Bob Geldof, Joanne Whalley, Michael Ensign, James Laurenson, + more

Directed by: Alan Parker

Pink Floyd - The Wall is a fulldome production about Pink Floyd’s album The Wall. It was screened at 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival.

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49
Synecdoche, New York is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
MichaelHritz added 2008

Actors: Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, + more

Directed by: Charlie Kaufman

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 ...more

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50
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
llh6782 added 1998

Actors: Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow, Annabella Sciorra, Werner Herzog, + more

Directed by: Vincent Ward

What Dreams May Come is a 1998 American fantasy drama film, starring Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the 1978 novel of the same name ...more

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