10 Mind-Bending Films To Watch If You Love ‘Inception’

Inception is one of those movies that change the entire industry with the potential they bring to the table. Inception has been praised for pretty much every aspect of its making: direction, screenplay, visual effects, action sequences, cast, musical score, themes, and more. It became one of the highest-grossing films of 2010 and has since been considered one of the best films of its decade as well. Also, one of the greatest sci-fi movies to be ever made.

Here is a list of movies that land in the same genre, with the same potential. Check it out:

Strange Days (1995)

Sci-Fi Films like Inception

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and both co-written and co-produced by James Cameron, Strange Days was far from a hit when it was first released but has developed into a cult classic of the sci-fi genre since then. Though much more a noir mystery movie that focuses on voyeurism and corruption, Strange Days shares Inception’s central conceit about the relationship between reality and technology.

Transcendence (2014)

Familiar Nolan movie faces Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy star in the movie alongside stars Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, and Paul Bettany in the lead roles and the movie presents a unique take on technophobia and consciousness. Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister, who shot Inception, broke into directing himself with this ambitious and handsomely-cast sci-fi thriller about a group of scientists who seek to save their terminally-ill mentor by transplanting his consciousness into a digital state as a superadvanced AI.

Tenet (2020)

Sci-Fi Films like Inception

Incorporating the director’s love for all things time-distorted, the movie is a pulse-pounding spy thriller revolving around a technology that causes objects or people to travel backward through time. Its slick production design and carefully plotted narrative are very reminiscent of Inception and it clearly stems from many of the same creative influences, chiefly Nolan’s famous affinity for Bond movies.

Existenz (1999)

Never sure of what is real and what is not, or where the characters are, where they’re going, and what they’re trying to accomplish, Existenz dissects philosophical ideas a similarly fun way to Inception and it shares its sense of humor. Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh lead this mind-bending thriller from body horror maestro David Cronenberg about players within an advanced virtual reality video game.

The Fountain (2006)

Sci-Fi Films like Inception

This film is often considered an epic romantic drama, but it actually combines elements of fantasy, history, sci-fi, and spirituality, to tell the story in three storylines that involve immortality, lost love, and a man’s pursuit to avoid a terrible fate. The Fountain is often remembered for the development challenges that its director, Darren Aronofsky, had when making the film. Starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, it was a commercial failure and divided critics, but went on to gain cult status.

Dark City (1998)

Dark City is a hugely imaginative and innovative science-fiction mystery movie about a man who awakens with amnesia in a bizarre and stylized city of perpetual darkness, with his journey to discover who he is and where he is only becoming stranger and stranger at every turn. Dark City most resembles one of Inception’s biggest influences, The Matrix, which was released the following year. All of the movies share a fixation on free will and imagination, using similar visual ideas to explore fantasies about how they can be used to shape the world around us.

Predestination (2014)

Predestination stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, and others. It is based on the short story “—All You Zombies—” by Robert A. Heinlein, and is considered to be one of the most consistent time travel stories to explore the paradoxes created by it. The movie follows a time travel agent who, as his final assignment, must confront the one criminal that keeps getting away from him throughout time.

The Butterfly Effect

Sci-Fi Films like Inception

The whole story centers around the concept of the butterfly effect, which is a theory that one small event can lead to big changes and consequences. The main character discovers that he is able to travel back in time and decides to change his past, but every minor change he makes leads to a completely new version of his life. Surprisingly, The Butterfly Effect has somewhat of a bad reputation, despite the fact that it’s still a well-remembered and much-discussed movie with many fans.

Shutter Island (2010)

Two Deputy U.S. Marshals (played by DiCaprio and Ruffalo), arrive on Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from the local psychiatric facility. But the more they find out, the stranger the case becomes. Shutter Island is a Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams. The movie’s plot twist is considered by some to be one of the best in history.

Interstellar (2014)

Sci-Fi Films like Inception

Set in a dystopian future, it shows a world where humanity struggles to survive as the planet is slowly dying. A group of astronauts is put together and sent on a mission to space to find a new home for humankind. All of Christopher Nolan’s movies are worthy of a watch if you liked Inception, but Interstellar will definitely satisfy a fan’s search for more high-concept science-fiction from the director. It stars such big names as Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and others, while it explores such themes as love, isolation, sacrifice, sustainability, and more.

There are many more movies that are great, but these definitely deserve to stay in the top 10!

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