Inception is a science fiction action film written and directed by Christopher Nolan in which Cobb and Arthur perform a form of corporate espionage by infiltrating the dreams of their subjects and placing ideas in their subconscious. The dream-like state is achieved by Nolan and his team through a series of impressive camera and CGI techniques which create a mind-altering state.
As a big fan of Inception I begin to think ‘what are some other movies like Inception’ which fans may want to check out? In this article I take you through my top picks and hopefully you’ll add a few more movies to your bucket list.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Tenet stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. It was released in the year 2020.
Tenet is a science fiction film which challenges the normal flow of the space time continuum. In Tenet, the viewer is drawn into the world of a former CIA agent who learns how to weaponise time itself and prevent attacks from the future. And in true Christopher Nolan form, there’s plenty of clever camera tricks that will make you feel like you’re the one travelling through time and on mind altering substances. This film is peak Nolan creativity.
Another film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Memento follows the investigations of Leonard Shelby, an insurance investigator who suffers from anterograde amnesia which means he can’t form new memories. So he uses notes and tattoos addressed to himself as clues to help him find the person responsible for murdering his wife. There’s also plenty of stars from The Matrix films that appear which will made me come up with the conspiracy theory: what if Memento is just another level of The Matrix? I clearly need help.
3. Doctor Strange
You’re looking at this entry and are probably thinking to yourself “what the heck does a Marvel film have to do with Inception?” Well, believe it or not, there are plenty of mind bending scenes featuring Doctor Strange bending reality to his will. The scenes feel very much like the graphics from Inception are guest starring in this film and I have no issues with it. Great thing is, even if you’re not a Marvel fan or haven’t seen any of the films, you’ll still be able to watch and enjoy Doctor Strange without any comics knowledge.
4. A Scanner Darkly
Written and directed by Richard Linklater, A Scanner Darkly stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, and Rory Cochrane. It was released in the year 2006.
A Scanner Darkly is an adult animated science fiction/mystery drama based on the 1977 Philip K Dick novel of the same name. A Scanner Darkly is set around a dystopia which is constantly under police surveillance while a drug addiction epidemic is breaking out. Do yourself a favour, watch this film as sober as possible or don’t. Either way, it’s a butt load of fun!
5. The Machinist
Written by Scott Kosar and directed by Brad Anderson, The Machinist is a dark psychological drama featuring a machinist who is suffering from guilt and paranoid delusions because he hasn’t been able to sleep for an entire year. Fun fact: this is the film in which people started to speculate and worry about Christian Bale’s health as he lost 28 kilos (62 pounds) in order to look the part for the film. I remember loaning the DVD of the Machinist to an old room mate who swiftly returned it after watching with a note attached saying “this is f***ed up.” And if that’s not an accurate review then I don’t know what is.
6. The Game
Directed by David Fincher, The Game stars Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, and Armin Mueller-Stahl. It was released in the year 1997.
The Game is about a wealthy investment banker who receives a gift from his brother which is for a game that begins to take over every aspect of his life. Pretty soon things get out of hand and a larger conspiracy reveals itself. One which appears to be a real threat!
7. The Cell
Directed by Tarsem Singh, The Cell stars Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, and Vincent D’Onofrio. This film was release in the year 2000.
The Cell is about a group of scientists who use experimental technology to enter the mind of a serial killer who’s in a coma – with the aim to try and locate his latest kidnapped victim. While the story isn’t as strong as it could be, The Cell is a film whose style is so strong that you’ll forget Jennifer Lopez’s lacklustre acting attempts. Thankfully, method actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s acting ability more than makes up for any short fall.
8. Shutter Island
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Max von Sydow. It was released in the year 2010.
Shutter Island is a film about a Deputy U.S. Marshal who investigates a patient disappearance on an island whose facility houses the insane and disturbed. As the movie and storyline begins to unfold, it becomes clear to the viewer that all is not as it appears to be. With the reveal at the end cementing Shutter Island as one of Leonardo Di Caprio’s greatest performances!
RELATED: 21 Movies like Shutter Island
9. Dark City
Directed by Alex Proyas, Dark City stars Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O’Brien, and Ian Richardson. It was released in the year 1998.
Dark City is a neo noir science fiction film which starts with a murder by a man with amnesia which quickly descends in an existential dilemma infused epic sci-fi ballad of The Matrix-like proportions. While Dark City was no mainstream success, it certainly deserves its cult-like status and is a worthy addition to this list.
10. Donnie Darko
Written and directed by Richard Kelly, Donnie Darko stars Jake Gyllenhaal Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Duval, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross, Patrick Swayze, and Noah Wyle. It was released in the year 2001.
Donnie Darko is set in the late 80s in which a depressed teenager sleep walks and in doing so escapes an accident which would’ve killed him. And just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder, an evil rabbit visits that same teenager later in the film to let him know that the world will end in just over 28 days because that accident he narrowly escaped should’ve killed him. Make sense? No? Watch the movie.
Directed by Mikael Håfström, 1408 stars John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub, Len Cariou, and Jasmine Jessica Anthony. It was released in the year 2007.
1408 is based on a Stephen King short story of the same name in which writer Mike Enslin investigates the strange and paranormal occurrences in a seedy and rundown hotel. The paranormal activity seems centralised on room 1408 and Mike Enslin a barrage of strange and unusual ghostly activity. This is a film not to watch just before bed – or if you’re staying in a hotel.
12. Fight Club
Directed by David Fincher, Fight Club follows the downward spiral of a corporate white collar insomniac who develops a friendship with Tyler who is a carefree soap salesman. Together the two of them start Fight Club and a Revolution begins. A revolution which soon enough evolves into a brand new form of homegrown terrorism.
13. The Sixth Sense
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense stars Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Haley Joel Osment. It was released in the year 1999.
The Sixth Sense follows child psychologist Malcolm Crowe as he begins to treat a young boy who claims he can see dead people. Or, more accurately, the ghosts and spirit of dead people.
14. Mulholland Drive
Directed by David Lynch, Mulholland Drive stars Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux, Laura Elena Harring, Ann Miller, and Robert Forster. It was released in the year 2001.
Mulholland Drive is famous for its surrealist neo-noir vibes in which aspiring actress Betty meets an amnesiac woman and the pair explore the dark and bizarre world that Lynch maps out. This film is the result of a failed pilot that Lynch tried to sell and the result is this bizarre feature film which Twin Peaks fans will absolutely love.
15. Gone Girl
Written by Gillian Flynn and directed by David Fincher, Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Carrie Coon. It was released in the year 2014.
Gone Girl centers on a husband and wife in which the wife disappears without a trace and the whole community (including the media) suspect foul play at the hands of the wife. The film then pivots to reveal that the wife isn’t actually dead and that the husband is far from the “good guy” type we were introduced to at the start of the film.
Thanks to the score from Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and his writing partner Atticus Ross; there’s an eeriness to Gone Girl which only an impressive score like this could deliver.
16. The Truman Show
Directed by Peter Weir, The Truman Show stars Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, and Ed Harris. It was released in the year 1998.
The Truman Show is about an insurance salesman who is unaware that his entire life is a manufactured reality tv show and he’s the main star. The Truman Show is a painful mirror put up against modern society and it’s obsession with fame and it’s treatment of the stars prop up. Some of Jim Carey’s best work can be found in this movie.
17. Edge of Tomorrow
Directed by Doug Liman, Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson. It was released in the year 2014.
Edge of Tomorrow is about Major William Cage and his skirmish against a group of aliens that the human race is at war with. During this skirmish he’s exposed to some alien tech which causes him to relive every aspect of this war in some bizarre sci-fi version of this Groundhog Day story.
Co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine. It was released in the year 2014.
Interstellar is set in a dystopian future where the human race is dying out. Promoting a group of astronauts to travel through a wormhole in hopes they’ll find an Earth-like planet. Interstellar is probably the closest to a real world Star Trek adventure based on our current level of science and exploration. It’s a wondrous spectacle.
19. The Prestige
Co-written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan and directed by Christopher Nolan, The Prestige stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, David Bowie, and Piper Perabo. It was released in the year 2006.
The Prestige is about the rivalry between two magicians seeking superiority over each other. Eventually things get ugly and a murder ensues but this movie is far from simple. You won’t know what will happen next in this meeting of the magical minds.
20. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson. It was released in the year 2004.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is romantic science fiction drama where Joel’s girlfriend, Clementine, has all memories of him erased from her memory by the company called “Lacuna.” Distraught, Joel does the same thing. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind heads on a sinister route when one of Lacuna’s employees uses Joel’s memories of Clementine to try and seduce her. Ever wondered what romantic infused Total Recall would be like? No, neither have I but this movie is it.
21. The Matrix
Written and directed by The Wachowskis, The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. It was released in the year 1999.
The Matrix is the first movie in The Matrix franchise and focuses on Thomas Anderson, a hacker with the screen name Neo, who discovers that all is not as it seems. The world isn’t real. Instead, it is a virtual reality construct and the real world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where humans are used as batteries to power a race of robots.
Written and directed by The Spierig Brothers, Predestination stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, and Madeleine West. It was released in the year 2014.
Predestination is based on a short science fiction story written by Robert A. Heinlein called “All You Zombies.” Predestination follows a temporal agent who is sent back in time to prevent a bombing in New York in 1975. The hunt for the bomber, however, quickly spirals out of control. This movie deals heavily with the concept of predestination paradoxes.
23. Requiem for a Dream
Co-written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, Requiem for a Dream stars Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, and Christopher McDonald. It was released in the year 2000.
Requiem for a Dream follows four characters affected by drug addiction and as the movie progresses they eventually deteriorate into seeing and believing their own delusions. Not to mention severe catastrophes which soon follow. This is a generational film and a philosophical one, as well as Trainspotting. Its themes are indeed at the heart of contemporary youth. But beyond that, Requiem is a reflection on addiction, on the alienation and self-ownership.
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