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What To Watch Next If You Love Inception

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

When Inception was released in 2010, it became an instant classic and solidified Christopher Nolan's place in filmmaking history. The mind-bending thriller features dazzling special effects and truly original storytelling. The director's knack for subtlety and attention to every little detail enhances the film's ambiguous ending, which is still the source of a heavy debate that's reinvigorated every so often by fans' discovery of hidden nuances. New theories and revelations will no doubt continue to surface as time passes, given that Nolan refuses to discuss the true meaning behind the ending, instead leaving it up for us to interpret for ourselves. Christopher Nolan created a mesmerizing dreamworld for us to enjoy and elevated the careers of some of our favorite actors, including Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, and Cillian Murphy.

The tone of Inception is intoxicating and matching it with similar content may prove to be a difficult challenge. As you find yourself isolated in your house you may have revisited Nolan's mindscape and reignited a hunger you once felt, like something from a half-remembered dream. There are some other mind-bending movies that can satiate that hunger... and now is the time to watch them. Before you become an old man. Filled with regret.

Triple Frontier

At its heart, Inception is a heist film — an elaborate, mind altering heist. In similar fashion, a magnetic cast has been assembled to rob a Columbian drug lord in Triple Frontier. Oscar Isaac stars with Ben Affleck as ex-Delta Force members who reunite to put their military skills to use in a tumultuous region of South America. The squad also includes Garrett Hedlund, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal, resulting in each scene being packed with actors we love.

At the start of the film, Santiago "Pope" Garcia (Isaac) returns to the States and recruits his former squad members to steal a large sum of money from a drug lord named Lorea in South America. The job is complicated when they find a larger sum of money than they planned and Redfly (Affleck) becomes obsessed with getting as much of the cash out as possible. Transporting hundreds of millions, along with a wounded crew member, becomes a problem as they scramble to get out of the country.

There is an ominous tone throughout Triple Frontier that gives the viewer a constant sense of anxiety. Nothing goes according to plan and emotions run hot among the entire crew. A good heist film is always a fun ride — with Triple Frontier, much like Inception, there's much more to the story than simply cracking a safe.

Killing Them Softly

Throughout Inception, Cobb is surrounded by highly capable associates who know how to focus on their roles in order for them to succeed as a whole. The opposite appears to be true with a slick, composed Brad Pitt and the ineptitude that swirls around him in Killing Them Softly. Keeping his composure through it all is a necessary skill all its own.

The film follows the fallout from the clunky robbery of a mafia poker game. Two heroin-addicted criminals are hired to rob the underground game run by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) — who had foolishly admitted to setting up a robbery of his own game once before. The wit behind the robbery is that everyone will blame Trattman given his previous deceit. Unfortunately, no one involved can keep his mouth shut. There are moments of meaty dialogue (particularly from a menacing James Gandolfini) that show a need to focus on the characters themselves rather than the plot.

All of Killing Them Softly occurs in late 2008 during the financial crisis and presidential election. While the country is trying to band together for a common goal, Pitt's character knows all that glitters is not gold. He makes sure we know exactly how he feels about it all — and delivers it with a charming smile and a barback.

Time Trap

One of the reality-altering aspects of Inception is its warping of time within the dream. To continue down that wormhole, look no further than Time Trap. This surprising gem will hook you with intrigue and any answers you find will only send you deeper into the cave along with the unwitting characters. The modestly budgeted independent film features a unique take on the concept of time and delivers it with delightful linear storytelling.

The film follows archaeological students as they search for their lost professor in a remote cave in the wilderness. When they venture into the cave they discover relics from across time and learn that they're not alone. When they explore the cave further, they discover the body of a friend they left outside with several days of footage on his camera. They realize that the cave has a time distortion field causing time to move much slower inside than it does outside.

The filmmakers deliver an ingenious story filled with paradoxes and complexity in a remarkably direct way. In similar fashion to Inception, the characters in Time Trap grapple with the reality of their situation. The rabbit hole will go deeper than you expect and rather than groaning at the budget constraints, you'll be annoyed that the filmmakers weren't given a blank check.

Legend

If there's any downside to Inception, it's that there isn't enough Tom Hardy. In your search for more screen time from the star, you mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. A solid choice for another scoop of the enigmatic actor is Legend. You get twice the Tom Hardy in true gangster form playing both Reggie Kray and his schizophrenic twin brother Ronnie.

The film takes place in 1960s London, where the Krays become major players in the criminal world. The American Mafia seeks to move into London and hire the brothers as muscle for their new casino. Reggie clashes with rival gangs, house lords, and the police while trying to control his psychotic brother. Complications arise with Reggie's courtship of his soon-to-be wife and the charming love story comes with a large dose of shocking reality.

Gangster films hold a special place in cinema and there are few moments when you question the distinction between Hardy's roles. It's an intriguing story laced with plenty of British bravado that makes you feel as though you should be viewing it with a glass of scotch. While Inception is a surgical procedure, Legend is a bar brawl that beats the story into you.

Lawless

Tom Hardy plays a crucial role in Inception. His character, Eames, is a forger who is capable of morphing into other people inside the dream world in order to manipulate their targets. It's a perfect role for Hardy, given his real-world ability to occupy characters with ease. Lawless is a wonderful display of his ability to be likable even while playing characters that are anything but.

Lawless follows the Bondurant brothers, who run a moonshine business in the middle of Prohibition. Forrest (Tom Hardy), along with his brothers Jack and Howard (Shia LeBeouf and Jason Clarke), pushes back against the U.S. Marshal attempting to skim profits from local moonshiners in exchange for looking the other way. Hardy is the patriarch of the gang and shines among a loaded cast rounded out by Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, and Guy Pearce, to name a few.

Unlike Eames in Inception, Hardy needs to place himself front and center in Lawless, in order to protect his brothers and keep his town from being overrun. It has a fun wild west vibe and shows that no matter what time period you plop Tom Hardy into, audiences will always be loyal.

Tallulah

Our totem of reason throughout Inception is personified by Ellen Page, who plays Ariadne. She calls out Cobb on his faults and isn't afraid to stir the pot by revealing truths. Don't worry if you find yourself wanting to watch more Page after you've crawled out of limbo — most of the characters she plays have an undercurrent of virtue, and that's what allows us to fall right alongside her in Tallulah

The star of Juno follows suit in playing characters with quirky names but takes a different route in this film. Page stars as the titular character Tallulah, a homeless teenager who survives by stealing credit cards and robbing hotels. She's tasked with babysitting a hotel guest's child, Maddy, when the mother mistakes her for housekeeping. The mother is drunk most of the time and while her child wanders around naked, she only seems interested in her dating life. Tallulah ends up taking the child and claiming it as her own in order to win her boyfriend back. While Inception had Ellen Page sharing the screen with other stars as the voice of reason, Tallulah gives her most of the screentime, and she responds to the challenge with a layered portrayal of a flawed individual.

Django Unchained

If the main thing you took from Inception is that you need more Leonardo DiCaprio in your life, then turn to the Tarantino universe. Django Unchained will amp up the justice and give you all the righteous bloodshed you've been looking for. 

This addition to Quentin Tarantino's film repertoire takes place in the wild west, where Dr. King Schultz liberates a slave named Django and teaches him the art of bounty hunting. They travel across the west in search of their bounties, whipping slave drivers along the way. After developing the necessary skills to be a bounty hunter, Django seeks to free his wife from the possession of a slave owner named Calvin J. Candie (played by DiCaprio).

Candie runs a plantation where he forces slaves to wrestle each other to the death. The cruel slave owner is made aware of Django's intentions by a deceitful house slave named Stephen, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The star-studded cast pulls no punches in the mayhem that ensues. A sadistic slave owner may be contrary to the Leo we saw in Inception, but it's still hard to look away.

Free Fire

Perhaps you're a glutton for action and the shootouts in Inception left you wanting more bullets. If that's the case then we'd recommend checking out Free Fire, featuring none other than Cillian Murphy. After playing the target for Cobb and the gang in Inception, he got to play an entirely different role here as the leader of a group of criminals chock full of wit. 

When Chris (Murphy) arrives at a warehouse to purchase a van full of M16s, he's prepared for a quick and easy exchange. Despite witty jabs and petty insults, everyone involved just wants to get what they came for and leave. Unfortunately, it turns out that the previous evening, a member of Chris' crew got into a bar fight with a member of the opposing crew. The dimwitted criminals banter until things escalate, and the result is a seemingly never-ending gun battle in a derelict warehouse with hilarious back and forth insults.

Had the crew in Inception chosen not to dive deeper into another layer of dreams once they ran into Fischer's subconscious defense, most of the film would be what you get from Free Fire.

Horse Girl

The cerebral concepts explored in Inception raise questions about the emotions that drive us. While Cobb is able to dive into his own mind and compartmentalize his feelings, others don't possess that luxury. When dreams and reality start to blur together it can be hard to distinguish the two. Such is the case with Alison Brie's character in Horse Girl

Horse Girl tells the story of Sarah (Brie) and her struggle to make sense of her place in the world amidst the grief of losing her mother to suicide. When she starts having vivid dreams and sleepwalking, Sarah has trouble trusting what she sees — especially considering her family's history of mental illness. Sarah sees people from her dreams in her daily life and eventually becomes convinced that she's been abducted by aliens and is a clone of her grandmother. 

After enjoying Inception, taking a dive into Sarah's fantasies is an intriguing way to get a second helping of red pill. Horse Girl presents several ways to interpret what is real and what isn't. It's a sobering, reality-warping trip with an ending that will leave you with a lot to think about.

The One I Love

Woven throughout Inception is the love story involving Cobb and his wife, endearing despite its hopeless attributes. There is a lot to be discussed as to whether the Mal we meet in Cobb's mind is the Mal that existed in reality, and a similar dilemma is presented in The One I Love, starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass with a small supporting appearance from Ted Danson. 

In order to remedy their relationship woes, Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) plan a getaway to a remote estate so they can spend quality time together. The couple spend an evening drinking and smoking pot but their enjoyable night together ends in an argument. They seem to share moments of reconciliation in the guest house, but later discover that neither of them remembers sharing in the experience the other had. Turns out that doppelgänger versions of themselves exist within the guesthouse — idealistic versions of how they view each other.

The One I Love is a uniquely thought-provoking love story. It explores heavy questions involved with relationships, such as whether the person we love exists only in our minds as an idea or if we truly love the distinctive individual we chose as our partner. There are intense moments during Inception when Cobb needs to face the realities of his relationship with his wife. The One I Love has similar moments, presented in a very different way.