10 Movies Like Inception

By on May 28, 2017

For weeks after I watched Inception, I kept remembering the last scene. Did he die? Did he actually get back on the plane? I spent forever to find something online that would tell me what the ending actually meant, but I came up with nothing. For the most part, it seems like the end of Inception was supposed to leave it up to the viewer to decide the outcome.

During the film, you go through multiple dream states and reality is constantly up for debate. After watching the film, you may be finding yourself questioning how real your own reality is and what your dreams really mean. Inception was an amazing film, and it is too bad that there aren’t more films like it. Luckily, we do have a list of 10 movies like Inception. While they are not exactly the same, they will leave you with many of the same mind-bending scenes and intricate story lines.

1. Sleep Dealer

The first on our list is the Sleep Dealer. This is a movie where globalization and immigration have become major issues. Set in the future, it involves time traveling and has a few holes in the plot. There is basically no way to involve time traveling in a movie without a few plot holes, so this problem is to be expected.

Other than the plot holes, this movie is perfect. The government in the movie uses the confusion of citizens and their divisions to control them. It includes excellent acting and fairly well-developed characters. While it was made on a low budget, the Sleep Dealer ended up becoming a fairly good sci-fi movie and is definitely worth watching.

2. Shutter Island

This movie makes the list for a few reasons. First off, it is another movie that has Leonardo DiCaprio as the star, so that certainly makes it worth watching. Like Inception, it leaves you questioning reality and wondering if the world that you see is even real. It is by far one of the best psychological thrillers of the last ten years.

The story starts with an investigator sent to a mental institution on Shutter Island to investigate a missing prisoner. He finds staff members who are unwilling to work with him to solve the case, and he begins to think that something suspicious is going on. Stuck on the island, he is without backup and must find a way to solve the case on his own. We can’t go into too much more without revealing the dramatic ending, but we will say that there are many common threads that make it similar to Inception and certainly a good way to spend your Friday night movie night.

3. The Matrix

The Matrix may be an older movie on this list, but it is one of the best movies like Inception that there is. Interestingly, some of the main concepts behind the Matrix are actually from a section of Plato’s Republic where he discusses the Allegory of the Cave. While it obviously has a more modern take, it does an excellent job illustrating this philosophical concept.

(Spoiler Alert) The film starts in 1999 and revolves around a computer hacker named Neo. During the day, he has a normal job and seems like a normal guy. At night, he is a hacker. He ends up meeting a group of people who tell him that they know the real truth about the world. Like most people, Neo dismisses this idea at first and refuses to believe them. After meeting them again, he starts to think that there could be something to their story.

Ultimately, Neo meets Morpheus who tells him that he can choose between two pills. The blue pill means that he will go back to normal life and forget that they ever had a conversation. If he takes the red pill, he will start to learn the truth about the world. Neo takes the red pill and immediately starts to see the truth in the world. Our entire world is just a giant simulation created by machines. Billions of other people are still asleep and unaware of the nature of this reality. Ultimately, the movie centers around whether human kind will be victorious over the machines.

4. The Butterfly Effect

You have probably heard the quote before about a butterfly flapping its wings in one place and causing a tsunami somewhere else. The world and everything that happens in it is intricately connected. The Butterfly Effect focuses on this concept by posing the question: If you could return to a major moment in your life and make a better choice, what would happen? How would the world be different if you could go back and change a moment of it?

You will probably never get to find out the real answer to that question, but the Butterfly Effect follows the story of someone who does. In the story, Evan is a 20-year-old student in college. He manages to find a way to go back through the moments of his life and changes things. At the heart of this tale is the question of whether changing things will actually make things better. At some point, you must be willing to just accept reality the way it is and move on in life. There are some things that you couldn’t—and shouldn’t—control.

5. The Thirteenth Floor

This movie is set in Los Angeles during the 1990s. Like many sci-fi films, it focuses on a simulated world. In the Thirteenth Floor, the simulation was created by a brilliant programmer in 1937. Once he has created the program, he is killed and his programming secrets die along with them. The only thing left behind is one message that could potentially determine the fate of the world.

In the film, Douglas Hall was the best friend of the programmer and is suspected of murdering him. After a while, he even starts to question if he was the one who murdered his friend. More importantly, what was the message that his friend was trying to impart? (Spoiler alert) Suddenly, the entire situation becomes clearer. He realizes that it is actually 2024. He thought that he was living in the 1990s, but it turns out that he was in a simulation in a simulation. He and his friend had thought that they were pulling the strings, but someone else is running the show. Now, Hall has to find out who the real murderer was and figure out why they killed his friend. The simulation-within-a-simulation aspect of this movie is one of the reasons why this movie is so similar to Inception.

6. The Machinist

This movie is an impressive showcase of the work that actors go through for their craft. Christian Bale went from his muscle-bound Batman days to an anorexic-like figure for the Machinest. In the movie, he struggles to deal with how he perceives reality. The character has severe insomnia, which causes quirks and strange behaviors. Before long, these behaviors push away the people close to him. Like Inception, you are left wondering what part of the movie is real and which parts are not.

7. The Others

In the Others, one mother is trying to keep her children safe from the world while waiting for her husband to return home from World War II. New servants arrive, and they start to notice strange things happening. It almost seems like the mansion is haunted. While this has more of a horror element than Inception, the twists, turns and ending make it worth watching.

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

In this movie, one couple goes over-board in forgetting about a break up by deleting the memories they have of their life together. Before long, they start to realize how awful this plan is working out and want to find a way to end the process before it becomes too late.

9. Source Code

This movie jumps into the story line immediately. It follows the story of Colter Stevens. Stevens is a pilot in the United States military who wakes up on a train in Chicago, but realizes that he is in someone else’s body. His last memory was crashing his plane in Afghanistan, so it does not make any sense that he would be here. As he tries to figure out what is going on, a bomb explodes and he finds himself in a cockpit again. Now, he is left struggling to decide which is real. His life before, his life now, both or neither?

10. Memento

In this movie, Leonard is the main character and has one goal in life. All he wants to do is find out who was responsible for the rape and murder of his wife and seek vengeance. Unfortunately, he suffers from short-term memory loss, so it is nearly impossible to keep track of his clues. When he finds an important clue, he tattoos it on his body so that he will remember it. Like many movies in this genre, a sudden twist leaves you shocked after a movie spent guessing what is going on.

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