The UK’s most confusing movies

Oppenheimer listed as the second most confusing movie in the UK.
  • Shutter Island is the UK’s most confusing movie, with an average of 5,275 searches for plot explanations every month
  • Oppenheimer and Donnie Darko take second and third, respectively

Research has revealed the UK’s most confusing movies, with Shutter Island coming out on top.


The study by analysed the top 4000 most popular movies on IMDB for the average monthly searches that contained the word ‘explained’ over the past 48 months.


It found that ‘Shutter Island’ is the UK’s most confusing movie, with the Martin Scorsese-directed psychological thriller seeing an average of 5,275 searches a month for explanations. It tops the list even though it’s now more than a decade old, released in 2010, and has kept popularity through its inclusion on many streaming services.


Coming in second place is the 2023 Christopher Nolan blockbuster ‘Oppenheimer’, coming in with 4,538 searches a month for plot explanations. It finished its box office run as the 3rd highest-grossing movie of 2023 and the highest-grossing biographical film ever.


Coming third on the list is Donnie Darko, which receives 2,934 monthly searches for plot explanations. Another psychological thriller to feature in the top ten, it saw an original poor box office performance at its 2001 release but has since gained a cult following.


The Shining comes in fourth place on the list, with the Stanley Kubrick-directed title being by far the oldest film to feature in the top ten. It still sees more than 2,560 monthly searches for plot explanations despite being released more than 40 years ago in 1980.


Rounding out the top five is another Christopher Nolan-directed title, Inception, which receives, on average, 2,333 monthly searches for plot explanations. Audience and critic ratings alike show the film to be one of the best of the 2010s, but it still leaves many viewers confused.


RankMovieAverage monthly searches for plot explanations (past 48 months)
1Shutter Island5,275
3Donnie Darko2,934
4The Shining2,560
8The Platform1,874


Commenting on the findings, Mukesh Pawar, a spokesperson for, said: “It can definitely be said that with the age of some films in this top ten, some have seen a resurgence and maintained their popularity through their inclusion on mainstream streaming services. However, this popularity has visibly meant more and more confused viewers, particularly if their plots are not straightforward and require maximum attention to understand.”


Methodology: For each of IMDB’s top 4000 movies, monthly search volumes for queries containing the word ‘explained’ were found nationwide in the UK for the past 48 months.

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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