Popular Opinion The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made  

Ranker Film
Originally by
57.3k votes 6.4k voters 226.5k views 153 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.

list ordered by

1
1,617 751
Memento is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2000 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

2
1,967 926
Inception is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2010 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
1,130 353
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2001 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

4
1,695 460
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2001 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

5
1,124 432
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1968 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
802 467
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1995 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

7
651 416
Eyes Wide Shut is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Bootsdad added 1999 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

8
575 360
Being John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1999 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

9
1,172 739
Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1999 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

10
937 809
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
wiabux added 1999 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

11
456 289
The Fountain is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2006 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

12
711 633
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1980 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

13
299 254
Antichrist is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2009 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

14
401 234
Jacob's Ladder is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
ChangesDownClub added 1990 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

15
550 198
Primer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2004 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

16
490 213
Eraserhead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1977 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

17
427 244
Pi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1998 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
512 472
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1994 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

19
641 333
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
2004 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

20
381 207
Lost Highway is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1997 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

21
625 648
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1999 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

22
283 269
Identity is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Haskins added 2003 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

23
320 207
Brazil is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Dave Loomis added 1985 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

24
397 225
Cloud Atlas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
SamiMorcos added 2012 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

25
376 414
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1990 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

26
344 297
The Matrix Revolutions is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 2003 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

27
309 370
Life of Pi is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
llh6782 added 2012 Life of Pi is a 2012 adventure film written by David Magee and directed by Ang Lee.

28
530 545
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Scott Klingaman added 1994 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

29
338 266
The Number 23 is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
ChangesDownClub added 2007 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

30
306 126
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Mediocre_Maja added 2014 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

31
141 181
Existenz is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1999 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

32
173 95
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
doremifasola added 1992 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

33
224 152
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
MikeHegstrom added 2004 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

34
236 172
Naked Lunch is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1991 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

35
298 178
The Prestige is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
GhassenHammas added 2006 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

36
116 151
The End of Evangelion is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1997 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

37
203 207
Dark City is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
dlewisxc added 1998 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

38
182 128
Blade Runner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
EdwardFraraccio added 1982 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

39
237 252
Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 1996 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

40
160 166
Videodrome is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
1983 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

41
132 133
Synecdoche, New York is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
MichaelHritz added 2008 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

42
126 135
Solaris is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 1972 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

43
230 213
The Matrix Reloaded is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 2003 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

44
170 150
The Cell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
kaseykolak added 2000 The Cell is a 2000 horror film directed by Tarsem Singh, and starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio.

45
174 161
Seven is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
bakermf465 added 1995 Seven is a 1995 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, John C. McGinley, and Kevin ...more

46
78 53
Vertigo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
but chickens double d added 1958 Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was ...more

47
194 198
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
llh6782 added 1998 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

48
81 24
Predestination is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
NielsIckx added 2014 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

49
151 145
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
Bootsdad added 2006 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

50
134 138
Adaptation is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made
StacyWolfe added 2002 Adaptation. is a 2002 American comedy-drama metafilm directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, with numerous ...more