7 Best Mind Bending Movies of All Time

We all know about those kinds of films that play so much with your mind that it becomes hard to wrap your head around their stories even weeks after having watched them.

The plots are twisted, the characters perplexing, the story lines erratic; yet many of them are brilliant. Some will leave you baffled, others uneasy; but in the end these following seven films will keep your eyes glued onto the screen and your mind racing monkeys.

The Holy Mountain (1973) Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Holy Mountain (1973) Alejandro Jodorowsky

“Give up your pleasure, your pain, your friends, your lovers, your life, your past, what you desire. You will know nothingness, it is the only reality.”

This rather confusing film ends up presenting the audience an odd game of cards, a parody of human society and, overall, a peculiar use of symbolism. Follow a thief along an alchemist who can turn excrement into gold on their journey to finding enlightenment.

Meanwhile, expect many sorts of bizarre happenings such as birds flying from people’s chest wounds, reptile characters, a young hippopotamus very far away from its natural habitat, amongst other innumerable absurd things.

Reminding us of acclaimed surrealist director Luis Buñuel, Jodorowski himself was and still is a filmmaking icon of his and the present time. Having come up with movies such as El Topo (1970) or The Dance of Reality (2013), this director is surely here to play with your thoughts.

One is to watch The Holy Mountain with an open mind and an awareness of the period of time in which it was written and produced. After all, if John Lennon and George Harrison liked it so much you might as well enjoy it too.

Cube (1997) Vicenzo Natali

Cube (1997) Vicenzo Natali

“There is no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It’s a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan.”

Is it a puzzle? Is it a riddle? Is it a nightmare… something not real at all? Five people mysteriously find themselves captured in cube-shaped rooms that continuously lead to hundreds or maybe thousands of other similar rooms; each one almost always having a deadly trap.

The group is confronted by these mortal challenges and a discharge of uninterrupted questions, while they desperately try to crack the code that is keeping them imprisoned. Expect one and a half hours of total lockup, so beware claustrophobics.

Abre Los Ojos (1997) Alejandro Amenabar

Abre Los Ojos (1997) Alejandro Amenabar

“Open your eyes.”

A blur of dream and reality drowns the life of a young good-looking man who has found love for the first time. After having been disfigured by a car crash and apparently having accidentally committed a murder, the protagonist seeks making sense out of what seem to be fragments of an unstoppable hallucination.

The director of The Others and The Sea Inside, Alejandro Amenabar, presents this original version of the popular U.S. remake Vanilla Sky; a masterpiece that promises to leave you both perplexed and in awe.

Memento (2000) Christopher Nolan

Memento (2000) Christopher Nolan

“I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can’t remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world’s still there. Do I believe the world’s still there? Is it still out there? ...Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different.”

His wife has been raped and killed and his confrontation against the two men who committed this vicious crime leaves him unable to remember any new recent memories. Chained to this condition of anterograde amnesia, the protagonist tries to track down the one man who got away; saving all gathered information on notes, polaroids and tattoos.

Shifting in between color and black and white sequences, the movie simultaneously plays with the plot’s chronological order, resulting in an uncommon yet fitting film structure. Whereas for some this type of storytelling may appear complex, it is one of Nolan’s characteristics, director of Prestige (2006), and the very popular mind bending movies of Inception (2010) and Interstellar (2014).

Requiem for a Dream (2000) Darren Aronofsky

Requiem for a Dream (2000) Darren Aronofsky

“Purple in the morning, blue in the afternoon, orange in the evening.”

While the previously mentioned titles may seem somewhat outlandish, this genius film presents a more down to Earth story that will yet give you the creeps like no other movie. Depicting the experiences of three drug-centered characters that are hunted by their turbulent dependence on amphetamines and heroine, this film petrifies audiences in the face of addiction.

A magnificent Aronofsky film that reminds us of the agitated world depicted in his previous work Pi (1998) and gives us a sneak peek into what he would later portray in Black Swan (2010).

Donnie Darko (2001) Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko (2001) Richard Kelly

“I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.”

A seemingly schizophrenic teenager called Donnie, a stranger wearing an ominous bunny costume called Frank that only Donnie can see and a disorienting obsession with time travel make up for one of the trendiest mind bowing films of the 21st century.

Follow this outcast as he deals with Frank’s prediction about the world ending in less than a month, his confused family, high school and his sympathetic therapist.​

The Machinist (2014) Brad Anderson

The Machinist (2014) Brad Anderson

“If you were any thinner, you wouldn’t exist.”

What would happen to your mind after not having slept for a year? Protagonist Trevor fears to be losing his along with his body due to his extreme case of insomnia. This factory lathe operator deals with his co-workers who seem to have turned against him; relies on the kindness of two women for affection and top of all leads a solitary life.

The appearance of a new worker at the factory is tied up with inexplicable incidents that lead perturb Trevor’s mind; but is he losing it or is there an explanation behind it all?

Yohann
 

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