30 Psychological/Intellectual Films worth watching

by heathmckinley | created - 11 Aug 2013 | updated - 11 Aug 2013 | Public

A list of 30 films with a common theme of a psychological or intellectual thriller type element. Although not all films are true thrillers they all have that "What's going on?" type feel and several will leave you with a sense of confusion.

These films cover a variety of other genres ranging from Sci-Fi to Action to Romance.

Listed in no particular order.

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1. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

74 Metascore

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Joseph Melito

Votes: 521,262 | Gross: $57.14M

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 502,590 | Gross: $56.95M

3. Another Earth (2011)

PG-13 | 92 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

On the night of the discovery of a duplicate Earth in the Solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic accident.

Director: Mike Cahill | Stars: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, DJ Flava

Votes: 81,875 | Gross: $1.32M

4. Blue Velvet (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

76 Metascore

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

Votes: 152,939 | Gross: $8.55M

5. The Cell (2000)

R | 107 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

40 Metascore

An FBI agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.

Director: Tarsem Singh | Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Colton James

Votes: 86,241 | Gross: $61.33M

6. Dark City (1998)

R | 100 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

66 Metascore

A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun.

Director: Alex Proyas | Stars: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt

Votes: 171,306 | Gross: $14.38M

7. Den brysomme mannen (2006)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

In a strange city where every person seems content beyond reason a new man arrives in town and stirs up trouble by asking too many questions.

Director: Jens Lien | Stars: Trond Fausa, Petronella Barker, Per Schaanning, Birgitte Larsen

Votes: 14,635

8. Deja Vu (2006)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Jim Caviezel, Val Kilmer

Votes: 264,771 | Gross: $64.04M

9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

89 Metascore

When their relationship turns sour, a young couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.

Director: Michel Gondry | Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne

Votes: 772,265 | Gross: $34.40M

10. The Fountain (2006)

PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

51 Metascore

As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Sean Patrick Thomas, Ellen Burstyn

Votes: 209,146 | Gross: $10.14M

11. Identity (2003)

R | 90 min | Mystery, Thriller

64 Metascore

Stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a nasty rain-storm, ten strangers become acquainted with each other when they realize that they're being killed off one by one.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John Hawkes

Votes: 198,835 | Gross: $52.16M

12. Ink (I) (2009)

Not Rated | 107 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

A mysterious creature, known as Ink, steals a child's soul in hopes of using it as a bargaining chip to join the Incubi - the group of supernatural beings responsible for creating nightmares.

Director: Jamin Winans | Stars: Christopher Soren Kelly, Quinn Hunchar, Jessica Duffy, Jennifer Batter

Votes: 19,720

13. The Jacket (2005)

R | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

44 Metascore

A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig, Kris Kristofferson

Votes: 100,392 | Gross: $6.30M

14. Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)

R | 113 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

62 Metascore

Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.

Director: Adrian Lyne | Stars: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven

Votes: 84,835 | Gross: $26.12M

15. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 477,177 | Gross: $66.49M

16. The Machinist (2004)

R | 101 min | Drama, Thriller

61 Metascore

An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.

Director: Brad Anderson | Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian

Votes: 314,828 | Gross: $1.08M

17. Moon (2009)

R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.

Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Rosie Shaw

Votes: 295,845 | Gross: $5.01M

18. Mr. Nobody (2009)

R | 141 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

63 Metascore

A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

Director: Jaco Van Dormael | Stars: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham

Votes: 183,374 | Gross: $0.00M

19. Never Let Me Go (2010)

R | 103 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

The lives of three friends, from their early school days into young adulthood, when the reality of the world they live in comes knocking.

Director: Mark Romanek | Stars: Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Izzy Meikle-Small

Votes: 124,429 | Gross: $2.43M

20. Pandorum (2009)

R | 108 min | Action, Horror, Mystery

28 Metascore

A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities.

Director: Christian Alvart | Stars: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue

Votes: 132,210 | Gross: $10.33M

21. Pi (1998)

R | 84 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

72 Metascore

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Pamela Hart

Votes: 155,584 | Gross: $3.22M

22. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 84,832 | Gross: $0.42M

23. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

R | 102 min | Drama

68 Metascore

The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans

Votes: 661,020 | Gross: $3.64M

24. Session 9 (2001)

R | 97 min | Horror, Mystery

58 Metascore

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Director: Brad Anderson | Stars: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas

Votes: 47,880 | Gross: $0.38M

25. Sound of My Voice (2011)

R | 85 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

Two documentary filmmakers attempt to penetrate a cult who worships a woman who claims to be from the future.

Director: Zal Batmanglij | Stars: Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Brit Marling, Davenia McFadden

Votes: 18,448 | Gross: $0.41M

26. Stay (I) (2005)

R | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

41 Metascore

This movie focuses on the attempts of a psychiatrist to prevent one of his patients from committing suicide while trying to maintain his own grip on reality.

Director: Marc Forster | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Kate Burton

Votes: 67,504 | Gross: $3.63M

27. Surrogates (2009)

PG-13 | 89 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

45 Metascore

Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates.

Director: Jonathan Mostow | Stars: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Ving Rhames, Rosamund Pike

Votes: 159,608 | Gross: $38.58M

28. The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

R | 100 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

36 Metascore

A computer scientist running a virtual reality simulation of 1937 becomes the primary suspect when his colleague and mentor is murdered.

Director: Josef Rusnak | Stars: Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 58,356 | Gross: $15.50M

29. Los cronocrímenes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 49,077 | Gross: $0.04M

30. Waking Life (2001)

R | 99 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

82 Metascore

A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins

Votes: 54,791 | Gross: $2.89M