Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more mind-bending thriller than Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed neo-noir murder mystery, Memento. Shot entirely backwards to help place viewers in the shoes of the film’s protagonist, Leonard Shelby (played by Guy Pearce) — who suffers from chronic amnesia — Memento is a disorientating, yet deeply smart and original suspense pic.

But what if you’re after a movie much like Memento. Well, to be honest, thanks to its innovative structure, there isn’t a movie exactly like it. Still, we’ve come up with ten that we think you’ll enjoy if you’re in the mood for something like Memento. So, without further delay, here are the top ten best movies like Memento that we heartily recommend. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Prestige

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Movies Like memento, The Prestige
Image Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Up first, we have Christopher Nolan’s fifth proper, fully-fledged motion picture, 2006’s The Prestige. Starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as rival magicians trying to outdo one another with the most visually spectacular illusions, its unconventional structure often rhymes with the writer-director’s previous work on Memento.

Even though this won’t be the only Nolan movie to make the list, The Prestige is arguably the closest analog to Memento thanks to its frequent use of time jumps and its distinctly unorthodox storytelling. Long story short, if you’re in the mood for a cerebral sci-fi rollercoaster ride brimming with twists and turns, The Prestige is the perfect narrative to get your noggin fired up. Plus, it has David Bowie playing Nikola Tesla in it, which automatically makes things five times better. No, seriously — we did the math.

Donnie Darko

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Movies Like Memento, Donnie Darko
Image Source: Flower Films

Richard Kelly’s psychological cult hit Donnie Darko blends time travel, sleepwalking, murder, and, well… a weird guy in a rabbit suit called Frank to deliver a thought-provoking high concept indie pic with a heart, soul and a brain.

Interestingly, the film’s writer-director has gone on record to credit Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas who actually had a hand in helping secure a theatrical release for Donnie Darko. In addition, following an early screening of the movie, Nolan even gave Kelly some advice and encouraged the director to include title cards throughout the film to which the Virginia-born filmmaker obliged.

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In short, Donnie Darko is another feature that plays with time and makes its viewers think, while delivering a taut narrative about love, death, and family.

Shutter Island

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Movies Like Memento, Shutter Island
Image Source: Paramount Pictures

While Martin Scorsese is largely more synonymous with violent crime dramas, the award-winning writer-director has achieved quite a lot of success with psychological thrillers like 1976’s Taxi Driver and 2010’s Shutter Island.

Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, the 1950s’ set murder mystery tells the tale of US Marshal Edward Teddy Daniels (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) as they journey to the eponymous island to investigate the potential murder of Rachel Solando and her three daughters.

What begins as a routine investigation soon descends into chaos as Daniels’ mind ostensibly begins to unfurl. Frankly, this film has more in common with Christophe Gans’ Silent Hill than traditional gangster fare like Goodfellas.

The Game

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Films Like Memento, The Game
Image Source: Propaganda Films

Following the meteoric success of 1995’s Seven, David Fincher went back to the psychological thriller well with 1997’s The Game. With exceptional acting chops from the likes of Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, The Game is a thrilling suspense flick that consistently has you questioning the motives of the star-studded cast.

Centering on an investment banker who has grown estranged from his family, Fincher’s third full length feature is an atmospheric yarn that zigs and zags between familial tragedy and conspiracy-driven drama.

Witty, eerie, with one helluva head-spinning twist in the final moments of its finale, The Game is a psychological thriller that will leave a lasting impression.


Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Films Like Memento, Inception
Image Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

The second and final Christopher Nolan pic on this list is Inception and it’s easy to see why. Part mind-bending sci-fi and part dream-hopping espionage thriller, Nolan’s seventh film proper is a masterstroke in both visual design and narrative ambition.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a specialist thief who infiltrates the subconscious of his targets and steals valuable information, Inception smashed the box office with an impressive $836.8 million haul back in 2010 and went on to sweep up tons of accolades come awards season.

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Additionally, it also boasts a deeply emotive and memorable score from Hans Zimmer as well as awesome turns from Looper’s Joseph Gordon Levitt and Beyond: Two Souls‘ Elliot Page.

The Machinist

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best films like Memento, The Machinist
Image Source: Castelao Producciones

Thematically, The Machinist is perhaps the closest movie DNA-wise to Memento on this list. Directed by Brad Anderson, the 2004 psychological chiller has a lot in common with Nolan’s amnesia-centric murder mystery.

Indeed, themes like guilt, paranoia and regret are explored through its everyman-like central protagonist who happens to be an insomniac haunted by violent hallucinations. These visions are deeply intertwined with a very human story at the center of the narrative.

Boasting a phenomenal performance from American Psycho’s Christian Bale — who lost a staggering 62 pounds in a bid to play the emaciated version of his character, Trevor Reznik — The Machinist is a lithe and atmospheric thriller that hides a tragic twist that’ll stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

The Butterfly Effect

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Films Like Memento, The Butterfly Effect
Image Source: New Line Cinema

While The Butterfly Effect may be another critical flop, this heady time-travelling flick went on to become a commercial success despite all the odds being stacked against it. Yes, Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber’s sci-fi epic attempts to translate the mathematical concept of Chaos theory into an accessible popcorn pic, and surprisingly, it largely succeeds.

Starring Ashton Kutcher, who essentially has the unique power to alter his past via his memories, The Butterfly Effect is an exploration of human will, destiny, alternate realities, and ultimately, the power to change life dramatically through seemingly trivial actions.

Vanilla Sky

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Movies Like Memento, Vanilla Sky
Image Source: Paramount Pictures

Cameron Crowe’s cleverly executed adaptation of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes is a wonderful cocktail of reality-warping sci-fi, heartfelt unrequited romance, and a terrific soundtrack boasting talent from Paul McCartney, Radiohead and Sigur Rós.

Centering on a masked figure named David Aames (played by Tom Cruise), who we find imprisoned for some mysterious reason, the film retells his personal story of how he came to be with twists and turns aplenty.

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Compelling and incredibly well-written, with an excellent central performance from Cruise, Vanilla Sky is a memorable romp brimming with mystery, intrigue, and — like the best artistic creations out there — is open to multiple interpretations.

The Gift

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best Movies Like Memento, The Gift
Image Source: Blumhouse Productions

Written and directed by Joel Edgerton, The Gift is a chilling psychological thriller that is eerily one of the more believable stories on this list.

Starring Arrested Development’s Jason Bateman and Iron Man 3’s Rebecca Hall as the married duo at the heart of the pic, the 2015 nail-biter is a suspense-driven treat. Said couple bump into an old school friend who soon becomes unhealthily obsessed with them, culminating in him delivering a plethora of presents for them.

Things ramp up when these gifts slowly start becoming more… disturbing. I mean, who doesn’t love it when all your fish are poisoned and your pet dog goes missing? Yes, The Gift may be a fairly simple setup, but it will still manage to give you the heebie-jeebies.

The Number 23

Top 10 Best Movies Like Memento

Best movies like Memento, The Number 23
Image Source: New Line Cinema

While critics largely panned Joel Schumacher’s question-everything thriller, there’s a lot to love here for fans of mystery, twists, and thought-provoking conspiracy theories. Starring Jim Carrey in one of his few “serious” roles, The Number 23 is a deep dive into a mind-bending search for truth.

Narratively, the film sharply focuses upon Walter Sparrow, a normal guy who works as an animal control officer. His fate takes a turn for the worse when he discovers a book called… you guessed it! – The Number 23.

Soon, Sparrow begins to see his own life in the pages of the mysterious book and it’s not long before he’s consumed by its enigmatic tale of murder. With a terrific turn from Carrey, some amazing cinematography and visuals, as well as a surprisingly compelling story at the heart of it, The Number 23 is an underrated gem that’ll definitely scratch that Memento itch.

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