Most of us watch films purely for entertainment and therefore movies with complex plot lines and inexplicable characters don't interest everyone. Those of us who like such films with subtle explanations or vague conclusions enjoy in making our own little interpretations. Hollywood is replete with multiple examples of movies that were difficult to understand with just one-time viewing. To understand these movies in entirety, one has to either watch it a second time or read up on the various interpretations and explanations of the film plot’s explanation. Either way, the experience is just wonderful if you are a lover of cinema.

But are you sure you really understood those films? 

Here are five such films that are known for the confusion they created in the minds of many cinephiles. 

The Shining
the shining-compressed

One of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpieces, The Shining, was based on a book by the same name. Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, the creepy writer, surely scared us to death. But what remains mind-boggling to this date is the scene where Wendy (Shelley Duvall) discovers the dark secrets of the Overlook Hotel including the very bizarre man in a dog costume and, of course, the final scene of an old photo frame with Jack in it. And you thought you had it all figured out!


Time and space are elements that hold our realities intact. What happens when this sense of reality is disturbed? One of the best Sci-Fi movies ever made, directed by and starring Shane Carruth, Primer is overlaid with confusing scenes and characters that became more complex as the film advanced. You understand it, do you? Well, think again.

Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese, director of the recent historical drama Silence, incorporated elements of mystery, fantasy, horror, psychological thriller, all in this single film. With a baffling climax that is open to several interpretations, identifying who is insane just kept getting more and more complex. And just when you think you got it all after the big reveal, the end scene pulls the rug under your feet.


Christopher Nolan has a unique talent to spin complex stories revolving around equally complex situations and characters. We all were attentive to each and every scene as we watched Leonardo’s character Dom Cobb carrying out the robbery by entering people’s dreams. But just when you are about to come to terms with all that is happening, you are left with a hard-hitting question at the climax; Is Cobb still dreaming?

Mulholland Drive

David Lynch is one director who loves making films that are likely to leave a hangover long after the film is over. Mulholland Drive is one such piece of art that began innocently and linearly, with a simple story of a girl who has big dreams. But then the protagonist Betty Elms, played by Naomi Watts, entered a sinister world with an amnesia patient, a sleazy film director, and a mysterious nightclub and we were left baffled.

Go watch the films for yourself, once again, and let us know in the comment how well you understood these masterpieces this time.