Although it has been a decade since its release, Inception still stands as the pinnacle of modern-day psychological thrillers that mess with your mind. If you came here looking for a similar dose of mind fu*k, you’ve made it to the right destination. As in this article, we’ll be sharing a list of some of the best promising movies like Inception.
Written and directed by the world-renowned film-making personality – Christopher Nolan, Inception marks an exceptional masterpiece of our time. From a surprisingly suspenseful ending to a captivating storyline full of a series of twists and turns. And, oh did we forget to mention the adrenaline-pumping action sequences along with reality-bending visual effects? Our bad, that’s on us!
Add to that an all-star cast including the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Elliot Page led by the very talented Leonardo DiCaprio, and you’ve got the recipe for one of the greatest movies of all time. And to help you out on your quest to find similar movies like Inception, we’ve compiled a list of over twenty-something psychological thrillers that follow a gripping plotline just like Nolan’s 2010 masterpiece.
Top 7 Movies Like Inception
From twisted psychological thrillers to mystery flicks with a surprise ending, follow through as we take a look at the top seven movies similar to the mind-bending Inception.
#1 Tenet (2020)
Starting off the list with Nolan’s yet another ultimate mind-bender, Tenet. Sharing the intricate and connected plot levels depicted in Inception, this Sci-Fi thriller dives into the themes of international corporate espionage.
Following a puzzling time-inversion premise befitting to the palindrome title, Tenet takes on the story of The Protagonist, an unnamed CIA operative. Tasked with the mission to fight for the survival of the entire world, the secret agent must learn to manipulate the puzzling flow of time in one of the highest-grossing films of 2020.
Runtime: 2h 30min
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh
#2 Fight Club (1999)
Regarded among the most controversial films of its time, Fight Club is a movie adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel sharing the same name. The plot of this twisted psychological thriller follows a first-person narrator dealing with insomnia. As a form of therapy, he ends up starting an underground fight club along with a soap salesman named Tyler Durden.
With its near-end shocking revelations that you won’t see coming, missing out on this David-Fincher-directed masterpiece from the late ‘90s should be downright unconstitutional if you’re on the lookout for movies like Inception.
Runtime: 2h 19min
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf Aday
#3 The Machinist (2004)
Starring Christian Bale in his legendary performance showcasing his dedication towards method acting, The Machinist revolves around an industrial worker, Trevor Reznik. Suffering from an extreme case of insomnia, Trevor ends up in a state of paranoia doubting his own sanity. This psychological thriller shares a similar theme to Inception based on a flawed perception of reality.
Runtime: 1h 41min
Director: Brad Anderson
Cast: Christian Bale, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside, John Sharian
#4 The Prestige (2006)
Drama, plot twists, captivating storyline, surprise ending – The Prestige has it all. Stacked with an A-list star cast including Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and Scarlett Johansson among many others, this mystery thriller is the one you NEED to watch without giving it any thought. Trust us on this!
Based on Christopher Priest’s 1995 novel of the same name, The Prestige follows on a similar deception theme justifying its spot among movies like Inception. The story takes on two rival stage magicians in a deadly obsession to create the ultimate illusion. Witness an epic story as they try to outwit each other while putting everything on the line including their lives.
Runtime: 2h 10min
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis, Rebecca Hall, David Bowie, Piper Perabo
#5 The Matrix (1999)
This cerebral thriller from the late ‘90s shares the enigmatic surrealism portrayed in Inception. Set in a dystopian future in the 22nd century, the plot of The Matrix follows the story of a computer hacker known as Neo. Follow through one of the most intense thought-provoking flicks as Neo discovers the shocking truth that the life he has been living is an elaborate fabrication of an evil cyber-intelligence.
Runtime: 2h 16min
Director: Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
#6 Shutter Island (2010)
This 2010-released mystery thriller is considered one of the best projects of Scorsese. Featuring Leonardo Di Caprio in a spectacular performance, Shutter Island follows the story of “Teddy” Daniels, a U.S. Marshall out on an assignment to investigate the matter of a missing murderer from a psychiatric facility.
Upon unraveling the twisted and sinister plot at this hospital for the criminally insane, Teddy goes through a state of insanity and paranoia leading him to question even his own sanity. This movie is a must-watch that’ll you keep you guessing just like Inception.
Runtime: 2h 18min
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Max von Sydow
#7 Source Code (2011)
Up next on this list of movies like Inception is Source Code, a Sci-Fi thriller starring the likes of the talented Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan. Sharing an intellectually stimulating and intriguing storyline to Inception, this mystery action drama takes on the story of a U.S. military pilot, Captain Colter Stevens.
After waking up to find himself in the body of another human being, Steven discovers that he is a part of a government experiment. Tasked with the mission to locate a bomb and identify the bomber on a commuter train, follow one of the most gripping time-loop-based flicks as the protagonist has only a mere 8 minutes at any given time.
Runtime: 1h 33min
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Jeffrey Wright, Vera Farmiga
Other Movies Like Inception That Are Worth Watching
While these didn’t make it to the top 7, don’t let that fool you. All of the following flicks are just as good with their mind-boggling storylines and thought-provoking endings.
- Paprika (2006)
- Looper (2012)
- Interstellar (2014)
- The Butterfly Effect (2004)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Memento (2000)
- Self/less (2015)
- The Departed (2006)
- Triangle (2009)
- The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
- Timecrimes (2007)
- Donnie Darko (2001)
- Sleep Dealer (2008)
This brings us to the conclusion of our list of mind-bending movies like Inception. From the projects of Nolan to Scorsese, we’ve listed over twenty-something best thought-provoking psychological thrillers of our era that will definitely mess with your mind.
Share this list with your group of movie enthusiasts if you liked the article. Also, let us know any other movies like Inception that you’d like for us to add. And for daily interesting content related to Entertainment, make sure to keep visiting Path of EX.
Feature Image Credit: Collider