popular opinion The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made  

Ranker Film
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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.

list ordered by

1
1,293 575
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 ...more

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2
1,553 744
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, ...more

3
1,333 359
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 ...more

4
852 294
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 ...more

5
895 341
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 ...more

6
387 328
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 ...more

7
640 383
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 ...more

8
619 402
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 ...more

9
524 345
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 ...more

10
663 420
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 ...more

11
938 600
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 ...more

12
466 292
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 ...more

13
744 665
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 ...more

14
370 247
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 ...more

15
250 210
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 ...more

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16
562 500
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, ...more

17
344 211
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 ...more

18
772 377
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. ...more

19
273 282
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 ...more

20
318 195
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. ...more

21
538 344
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 ...more

22
435 168
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 ...more

23
413 380
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 23 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 ...more

24
393 188
Eraserhead is listed (or ranked) 24 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 ...more

25
535 274
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 25 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 ...more

26
309 181
Lost Highway is listed (or ranked) 26 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 ...more

27
117 203
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 ...more

28
511 529
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 28 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 ...more

29
207 145
Blue Velvet is listed (or ranked) 29 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 ...more

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261 177
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 ...more

31
312 291
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 ...more

32
321 191
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 ...more

33
229 230
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, ...more

34
318 345
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 ...more

35
274 244
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 ...more

36
126 66
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 ...more

37
434 455
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 ...more

38
169 119
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 38 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 ...more

39
277 232
The Number 23 is listed (or ranked) 39 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 ...more

40
114 159
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, ...more

41
257 299
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
186 76
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 42 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 ...more

43
196 151
Naked Lunch is listed (or ranked) 43 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. ...more

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44
198 201
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. ...more

45
206 135
The Prestige is listed (or ranked) 45 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 ...more

46
170 186
Dark City is listed (or ranked) 46 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, ...more

47
94 135
The End of Evangelion is listed (or ranked) 47 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 ...more

48
133 143
Videodrome is listed (or ranked) 48 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 ...more

49
101 116
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 ...more

50
188 177
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 ...more