Over the years 'Mind-Fuck' has grown to be a legitimate movie genre, what exactly is it? Simply put, anything that fucks with your mind! Remember being blown away after watching 'Inception (2010)' and swearing by it ever since? Well, if you liked Inception, you would love the list of movies that follow:
[Note: The list is in no particular order and all the movies are equally astonishing and mind-altering]
1. Fight Club (1999)
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
IMDb: 8.8/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
An insomniac office worker who is discontented with his consumer-oriented lifestyle befriends a devil-may-care soapmaker and together they form an underground fight club
A personal favorite, the movie to me was a "near-life" experience.
Full of memorable quotes and characters, and a plot that you never see coming.
The first time that I saw this, I hoped that the movie never ends. And then, later on, I wished to erase it from my memory just so I could watch it again for the first time. The DVD that I bought then was categorized as 'Movies You Must See Before You Die', I could not think of a better description.
Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and his ideals leave an impact that stays with us even after the movie ends.
I believe this to be one of David Fincher's as well as Brad Pitt's best work till this date.
2. Donnie Darko (2001)
Director: Richard Kelly
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Seth Rogen
IMDb: 8.0/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
A troubled teenager has visions of a six-foot-tall bunny rabbit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes. What? Why? How?
Donnie Darko is a very subtle superhero movie, the kind you've never ever seen before.
It stumbles upon various genres and yet pulls it off beautifully and the main concept involved with it is enthralling, thought-provoking, and simply mind-blowing.
Despite being so many things at the same time, it's also a high-school romance.
The concept of the movie is really heavy and fascinating. Thus once you've watched the movie I urge everyone to go check out the movie's official page to have a deeper understanding of the movie: Donnie Darko explained: http://www.donniedarko.org.uk/explanation/
3. The Machinist (2004)
Director: Brad Anderson Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
IMDb: 7.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Trevor (Christian Bale), an industrial worker who suffers from severe insomnia, begins to doubt his own sanity as his life is slowly torn apart through a series of events.
Christian Bale dropped down his weight to just 54 kgs by losing over 25 kgs! This weight loss is said to be the record for any actor for a movie role. His dedication and acting prowess are clearly visible throughout the movie.
The over-all darkness and the sense of guilt are very well felt all round.
Not something you would want to miss out on.
4. Moon (2009)
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott
IMDb: 7.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Drama/Mystery
The movie revolves around Sam Bell, an astronaut who is nearing the end of his 3-year long contract and is expecting to return back to his family. In the near future, in order to find a solution to Earth's energy crises Lunar industries provide clean energy by harvesting helium-3 as an alternate fuel from the surface of the far side of the Moon. The facility set up on the Moon is fully automated and requires only a single human to maintain operations and oversee the harvesters. That person being Sam Bell, who is accompanied by an artificial intelligence named GERTY.
Sam Rockwell is great as always and considering that the role was pretty much written for him, he seems really apt.
Duncan Jones' directorial debut and a great one too.
A hard science fiction that makes you question humanity as a whole while depicting the extents to which greed drags us.
The movie pays homage to '2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)' through certain subtle nods.
5. Vanilla Sky (2001)
Director: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell
IMDb: 6.9 Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
David Ames (Tom Cruise) is a wealthy publishing magnate and a womanizing playboy who eventually falls in love with a beautiful dancer. Everything seems to be going perfectly until this dream-like life of his gradually starts transforming into a nightmare.
On the surface, this looks like something of romantic drama but evolves into something no one sees coming.
The concept and the premise of the movie are really intriguing and no one imagines what it has in store for them.
Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz are a treat to watch.
6. Shutter Island (2010)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
IMDb: 8.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Edward Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a U.S. Marshal, is assigned to investigate the disappearance of an escaped patient at Ashecliff, a psychiatric asylum for the criminally insane, at Shutter Island.
This masterpiece by Scorsese is the best investigative thriller I've ever seen and probably would ever see.
The attention to detail seen in the movie brings me immense satisfaction and always manages to leave me awestruck with admiration.
The big reveal at the end is quite arguably one of the best cinematic revelations in history. The whole movie is beautifully tailored around it and when you do finally see the movie it's gonna stay on your mind for quite some time.
7. Predestination (2014)
Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
IMDb: 7.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
A temporal agent, on his final mission, meets a young man who promises him the best story he's ever heard. A unique, surprising, and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, and identity follow.
You may have seen time travel movies before, but I can assure you that you've never seen anything quite like this.
Almost every dialogue foreshadows the big reveal towards the end and yet all of it hides in plain sight and we're blown away when the movie does end.
I love the unusual and unexpected premise of the movie. How underrated movies like these slip under the radar, I would never quite understand.
You never guess the surprising turns the movie takes.
8. Enemy (2013)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
IMDb: 6.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a college History professor, spots someone in a movie who looks exactly like him and the uncanny resemblance makes him obsessed with finding out more about this double of his.
Despite being a thriller from the outside, the way it examines one's identify is commendable
There's something very unsettling about the whole movie and that's what makes it great.
There's no single explanation about the movie and it could be interpreted in various ways. The ambiguous nature of the movie mirrors its own plot.
If you're familiar with Denis Villeneuve's work ( e.g. Prisoners , Arrival  ) you would sure love this just as much.
9. Source Code (2011)
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga.
IMDb: 7.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
A man suddenly wakes up in a train bound for Chicago with no previous memory of how he got there or why the woman sitting with him keeps referring to him as Sean. While in a state of total puzzlement he soon realizes that he is in someone else's body.
From the director of Moon (2009), this is yet another great Sci-Fi flick.
Almost the entirety of the movie takes place within the train and the events that transpire.
This is a great thriller, the kind that leaves you spellbound as and when various revelations are made.
10. Memento (2000)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
IMDb: 8.4/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
A man suffering from anterograde amnesia (short-term memory loss) tries to avenge his wife's death by desperately trying to find the man responsible for her murder.
The movie inspired the South Indian Ghajini (2005) which in turn inspired Ghajini (2008). Despite sharing the same basic premise this original is miles away from the adapted screenplays in all terms and has an unparalleled genius.
The movie proceeds through two different timelines: one proceeds backward from the end of the story while the other timeline moves forward and the movie finally ends at the middle where both the timelines merge. I know right! Watching it is like solving a puzzle; and when you do have all the pieces in place a sense of elation surrounds you.
Nolan weaves a masterpiece that demands your attention and leaves you wanting more while you're still recovering from the blow that hits you at the end.
11. Following (1998)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell.
IMDb: 7.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
An aspiring writer starts following random strangers in an attempt to gather material for his novel and to satisfy his loneliness and he soon develops a knack for it. Things get out of hand when he breaks some of his self imposed rules by following specific people and his fate gets intertwined with that of a thief.
The black and white neo-noir marks Nolan's first feature film and it provides great insight into the monumental filmography that's about to follow.
The non-linear plot and the time jump offer a certain gravitas to the overall feel of the movie and it is a treat to watch.
What's starts as a harmless and yet a creepy hobby turns into something very twisted very fast and before we know it we have our minds blown.
12. The Prestige (2006)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall.
IMDb: 8.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Set in London in the 1800s, two rival magicians become obsessed with each other's best trick and sacrifice everything they have in an attempt to outwit each other. How far would they go?
Nolan has his own unique way of unraveling mysteries that is simply unparalleled and this one is no exception.
Despite having watched this on multiple occasions, the movie always manages to leave me as intrigued as I was the first time and that is a very rare quality in a movie.
The casting is pitch-perfect and Christian Bale is especially good.
In a nutshell, this instant classic should not be missed at any cost.
Cover Image: Illustration by Stories by Freepik