You know that moment when you’ve seen a film and your brain turns into mush as you attempt to understand what you’ve just seen. I love those moments. I love a film that pushes me to think more, I guess that’s why I’m such a fan of Sci-Fi in general.

I will not be spoiling the “twists” or “surprises” found in these films, I will however be providing a rough outline as to what the film is about. Enough from me, who’s ready to get their mind melted!

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films


The first of two Christopher Nolan films on this list we have Memento. In this head-screwer, we follow a man (Guy Pearce) who suffers from short-term memory lost, quite severe loss. He remembers events in his life by drawing them onto his body. Once you’ve understood that basic concept, prepare to fall down the rabbit hole.

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films


This film really needs more attention. I’ve already done a review for it and it also featured in the 10 essential time-travel films. Although with all my efforts I don’t feel as though enough people have seen this time-travel brain-vaporiser. Just know that this is the ultimate time-travel movie and certainly worth your time!

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films

Shutter Island

Although Leonardo DiCaprio has not won an Oscar yet, we still love him. One of his best performance, in my opinion, was his betrayal of Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island. We follow Teddy as he attempts to solve a mysterious case of a disappearing psychiatric patient at a high-security asylum. Repeat viewing is recommended.

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films


I know there are arguments as to which is better, the original or the American remake, but it doesn’t truly matter. You’ll be left in shock either way. The initial premise is that a man has been held hostage in a room for 20 years and then released seemingly for no reason. Oh! This is a good one! Trust me!

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films

The Prestige

The second on the list of Nolan films The Prestige follows two magician in an ever-increasing battle of wit as they attempt to one-up each other with their magic tricks. Oh yeah, also features David Bowie, and Batman (Christian Bale) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films

The Butterfly Effect

The actual Butterfly effect stems from an explanation that states that the flaps of the wings of a butterfly in Texas could be the cause of a hurricane in Taiwan (that escalated quickly). The idea is that tiny changes in the air pressure can have massive effects. The Butterfly Effect uses this theory in chaos and shows the effects if applied to time-travel. You guessed it, it doesn’t go well for Ashton Kutcher.

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films

Donnie Darko

One of my favourite films and one that demands reviewing periodically, Donnie Darko. You head will spin, rotate, flip and eventually explode (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture). Delving into a lot of interesting concepts, this film is still ahead of its time and was released in 2001 (which is 15 years ago, god I’m old).

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films

Fight Club

You must have seen this! You haven’t? Fix that, now! A true classic and a strange conclusion that a film loosely about fighting makes you think. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, even a sprinkle of Jared Leto (yes, the new Joker). If you feel that a film about fighting won’t be for you, I dare you to try it. It’ll open your eyes and then punch you right in ’em.

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Possibly the most mind-melty-iest on the list we have Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. With career defining performance from Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet this film with leave you both emotionally and mentally rocked.

10 Essential Mind-Bending Films


Have you heard of Schrödinger’s cat? It’s a thought experiment. It’s a method of explaining a concept in quantum physics the idea that an object can exist in more than one state. A simple explanation of the thought exercise is that the cat in Schrödinger’s cat is placed into a box with a vile of poison. The vile would be smashed by a radioactive detector if it detects a radioactive particle decaying, meaning the cat would die (sad, I know). All of this is under a box (of course) and the idea is that the cat is in a super-state of both alive and dead until you look into the box.

What does this have to do with the film Coherence? Everything. They’ve managed to take this concept and make a compelling film from it. I highly recommend it for those wanting to be left confused and thrilled at the same time.

There you have it. If you were in the mood for mind-soup I would recommend a dosage of these ten films.

Are there any essential mind-bending films that I missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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