Letterboxd Users Compiled A List Of The 15 ‘Most Confusing’ Films Ever Made — Virtually All Of Them Have Been Released In Last 25 Years

Letterboxd Users Compiled List Of 15 'Most Confusing' Films Ever Made

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  • Letterboxd users have compiled a list of the top 15 “most confusing” films ever made.
  • The list was compiled based on searches of the film’s title followed by “explained”
  • Virtually all of the films on the list were released in the last 25 years.

Last year on our Post-Credit Podcast, we built a Mount Rushmore of “mindf–k movies”, a unique film subgenre that is hard to define to easy to spot.

Different than a traditional mystery or a thriller fillm, the essence of a mindf–k movie is that you not only don’t know where it’s going, but you also largely don’t know where it currently is.

Take Donnie Darko, for example, the fourth film on Letterboxd’s list of the top 15 “most confusing” films ever made and one of the patron saints of mindf–k movies. Can you ever say you ever *really* know what’s going on at any point in Donnie Darko? At least without the help of Google?

The same can be said of films such as Memento, I’m Thinking of Ending Endings Things, and 2001: A Space Odyessy, all of which appear on this list.

Letterboxd users put together a list of the Top 15 most confusing movies ever made

  1. TENET – directed by: Christopher Nolan
  2. I’m Thinking of Ending Things – directed by: Charlie Kaufman
  3. Shutter Island – directed by: Martin Scorsese
  4. Donnie Darko – directed by: Richard Kelly
  5. Mulholland Drive – directed by: David Lynch
  6. Interstellar – directed by: Christopher Nolan
  7. Nocturnal Animals – directed by: Tom Ford
  8. The Shining – directed by: Stanley Kubrick
  9. Arrival – directed by: Denis Villeneuve
  10. Fight Club – directed by: David Fincher
  11. Predestination – directed by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
  12. The Matrix – directed by: The Wachowskis
  13. Memento – directed by: Christopher Nolan
  14. Inception – directed by: Christopher Nolan
  15. 2001: A Space Odyessy – directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Seeing TENET atop this list is incredibly satisfying as I still harbor visceral disappointment about the film, which I trudged out to see during the height of the pandemic only to not have a remote clue as to what was happening for about 3/4 of the film. Simply put, I enjoyed the following meme about TENET far more than I did the actual movie:

Director Christopher Nolan makes the most appearances on the list with four, which is fitting considering he’s virtually the godfather of modern-day mindf–k movies. Nolan has become so synonymous with the subgenre, in fact, that we recently ranked all of his films based on how confusing they are.

Other than that, my main takeaway is that it’s strange to see Shutter Island isn’t on the list, which isn’t necessarily confusing given that the plot is quite easy to follow: a detective is investigating a murder on an island. What makes the film so mindf–king are the circumstances *around* the plot.

Bottom line, though, except for I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Charlie Kaufman wrote my favorite film ever made, Eternal Sunshine, but Ending Things is just wayyy too much), all of these films are legitimately great, thus proving the ultimate strength of the mindf–k genre.

RELATED: Ranking All Of Christopher Nolan’s Movies Based On How Confusing They Are

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Eric Italiano Avatar
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him eric@brobible.com