9 Spellbinding Movies Like Tenet | Films That Left Cine Lovers Flabbergasted!


Christopher Nolan happens to be one of the most influential and established filmmakers of our generation and is a maestro. In this article, we have curated nine movies like Tenet (2020) that will mess with your head.

Tenet is Nolan’s last movie up until now and is ahead-spinner. We, as an audience, are eagerly waiting for his upcoming film Oppenheimer, which will release next year. Tenet is one of those movies that you can rewatch over and over in order to get a better grasp of the story.

The story revolves around the main character, the protagonist (John David Washington), who works for the CIA, and has to get hold of a Russian oligarch who wants to destroy the world. The protagonist is recruited by an organization called Tenet, which also provides him with a partner named Niel (Robert Pattinson), who helps him through the mission.

One most important and key aspect of the movie that makes it so remarkable is the theme of time inversion, which means that time can run backward and be manipulated. This one angle single-handedly makes Tenet an exceptional movie.

Now, let’s get down to business and find similarly themed movies like Tenet.

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9 Captivating Movies Like Tenet | Films You Can Rewatch Over And Over

Christopher Nolan as a director has done his part for all the film buffs. Now, it’s time to find out about the other movies that are quite similar to Tenet, yet very different in their special way. We have listed nine movies for you that will leave you wondering.

#1 Run Lola Run (1998)

9 Spellbinding Movies Like Tenet | Films That Left Cine Lovers Flabbergasted!

Run Lola Run (1998) is a German avant-garde film but is also available in the English language. The story revolves around the main character, Lola, played by Franka Potente, who has to manage 100,000 Deutschmarks in order to save her boyfriend or else he will be killed by his boss. 

The story gets more thrilling when we find out that Lola only has 20 minutes to gather that much amount of money. The distinctive angle of the movie is that it’s divided into three different parts with different endings. 

The concept defines how every decision has different consequences. Another interesting aspect is how the director has dealt with time and reality taking its course when people approach situations differently.

Movies, like Run Lola Run, are a piece of art. The time-loop thriller has gained critical acclaim as well several awards. So, watch it ASAP.

  • Director & Writer: Tom Tykwer
  • Cast: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri, Joachim Król, Armin Rohde, Heino Ferch, Suzanne von Borsody, Sebastian Schipper
  • Genre: Thriller/Crime
  • Platforms Available On: Prime
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.7 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%, 
  • Runtime: 1h 21m

#2 The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

In The Thirteenth Floor (1999), the story follows Douglas Hall, played by Craig Bierko, who becomes a prime suspect after Hanon Fueller, played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, gets killed. 

Hanon happens to be a billionaire who owned a computer venture and had recently developed a virtual reality simulation of 1937 Los Angeles, inhabited by simulated humans who are programs. 

Hall became a suspect because he was a close friend of Hanon and a protege as well. The several incidents that take place in the film happen over three time periods, one in the 30s, one in the present, that is the 90s, and the other in the future in 2024, and Douglas is the one who travels through time.

The movie is also based on a novel called Simulacron-3 (1964) by Daniel F. Galouye.

The Thirteenth Floor is the kind of movie that grows on to you as a viewer, and every time you watch the movie, you get to witness something new that you haven’t noticed the previous time. 

  • Director & Screenplay: Josef Rusnak
  • Cast: Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Armin Mueller-Stahl
  • Genre: Sci/Fi, Crime/Thriller
  • Platforms Available On: Prime, Netflix
  • IMDb Ratings:
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 30%
  • Vudu: 4.1/5
  • Runtime: 1h 40m

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#3 Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man (2006) is directed by none other than Spike Lee, and he is one of a kind, known for his realistic stories. Inside Man is an unusual and unexpected film with a well-structured storyline. 

One of the main characters, Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington), a New York City detective, gets into a Manhattan bank as a negotiator where the heist is taking place. Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), the mastermind and the person-in-charge behind the charge of the entire heist, happens to be a hard nut to crack.

The story develops in time when the characters start interacting with each, and you can only hope that things don’t go south.

Lee’s Inside Man is not just an ordinary tale of a bank heist, but it also involves smart storytelling and amazing character building. It is not only about a bank robbery going wrong but also a unique crime thriller.  

Fun Fact: Jodie Foster became a part of the film just so she can work with the critically acclaimed director, Spike Lee.

So, If you’ve watched Spike Lee films before or are a fan of Denzel Washington, what are you waiting for? Watch this film right away and thank us later.

  • Director: Spike Lee
  • Written by: Russell Gewirtz
  • Cast: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor 
  • Genre:  Crime/Thriller
  • Platforms Available On: Netflix
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.6 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
  • Metacritic: 76%
  • Runtime: 2h 9m

#4 Looper (2012)

Looper (2012)

Looper (2012) is a movie that narrates the story of Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is an assassin or a looper. The story takes place in a future society, 2044, where time travel is real and is only available to those who can pay for it in the black market.

When the mob, a Kansas City crime syndicate, wants to execute someone, they send the prey to the past, where a looper waits in order to finish the task.

The story escalates and takes a major turn when the crime bosses decide to close the loop and send Joe’s future self, played by Bruce Willis, back in time to get killed. Looper is one of those very thoughtful and nuanced films. 

The film has received a number of critical acclaims and was also a major success. The movie was selected as the opener in the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Looper is quite similar to Tenet in certain ways but has a completely different storyline.

  • Directed & Written by: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels
  • Genre: Sci/Fi, Action/Thriller
  • Platforms Available On: Prime
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.4 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
  • AllMovie: 7.5/10
  • Runtime: 1h 58m

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#5 See You Yesterday (2019)

9 Spellbinding Movies Like Tenet | Films That Left Cine Lovers Flabbergasted!

See You Yesterday (2019) is a Netflix original film about a science genius, C J Walker, played by Eden Duncan-Smith, who lands up building an actual time machine. 

The reason behind building the time machine is that, so she can travel back in time and save her older brother Calvin Walker played by Brian “Stro” Bradley, who was wrongfully killed by police.

As she wants to change the events of the past, she will have to go through the hazardous consequences of traveling through time.

See You Yesterday is an important watch as it deals with police brutality back in the day. With this movie, the director has taken a great step to acknowledge important issues like police brutalities against African Americans. 

It is an entertaining film but also addresses a serious issue in a very unique and adventurous way. So, I would highly recommend this movie.

  • Directed by: Stefon Bristol
  • Produced by: Spike Lee
  • Cast: Eden Duncan-Smith, Danté Crichlow, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Johnathan Nieves, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Wavyy Jonez, Rayshawn Richardson, Ron Bobb-Semple, Brian “Stro” Bradley
  • Genre: Sci/Fi
  • Platforms Available On: Netflix
  • IMDb Ratings: 5.2 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
  • Metacritic: 74%
  • Runtime: 1h 27m

#6 In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019)

9 Spellbinding Movies Like Tenet | Films That Left Cine Lovers Flabbergasted!

The movie In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019) is about a Philadelphia police officer named Thomas Lockhart, played by Boyd Holbrook, who desperately wants to become a detective.

In 1988, in an unexpected and mysterious murder spree, several people got killed brutally and in cold blood. Thomas and his partner Winston Maddox played by Bokeem Woodbine, along with Detective Holt, played by Michael C. Hall, concludes that the killings are somehow related as they discover a similar wound on all the victims.

Soon, Lockhart gets hold of a suspect named Rya, played by Cleopatra Coleman, but unfortunately loses her to a subway accident. The story takes an interesting and thrilling turn when after nine long years, the killer returns.

In The Shadow Of The Moon, the director has smartly amalgamated several genres like sci/fi, thriller, crime, and noir and made it into a gripping whodunit. This is the kind of movie you don’t want to miss out on.

  • Directed by: Jim Mickle
  • Written by: Gregory Weidman, Geoff Tock
  • Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Michael C. Hall, Cleopatra Coleman, Bokeem Woodbine, Rudi Dharmalingam, Rachel Keller
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller, Noir, Sci/Fi
  • Platforms Available On: Netflix
  • IMDb Ratings: 6.2
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%
  • Runtime: 1h 55m

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#7 Predestination (2014)

Predestination (2014)

Predestination (2014) narrates the story of Agent Doe, played by Ethan Hawke, who is a Temporal Agent and travels back in time to prevent future killers from perpetrating crimes. 

On one of his trips back to 1975’s New York City, in order to stop a bomber, his face gets burned. Later, he receives a facial reconstruction, but he still has to travel back for the last piece of work that remains.

Agent Doe’s final task will be to stop a criminal who has always managed to slip through time. He will have to stop that criminal, or else a large amount people will die in vain. One impressive aspect of the movie would be its unexpected twists and turns and shady character backgrounds.

Another important character in the movie would be the unmarried mother, played by Sarah Snook, who generally is a writer. This character turns out to be a tricky one and has lived through a dark past.

Predestination is an Australian film based on the novel called All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein. Performances by Snook and Hawke in the movie are a treat to watch.

  • Direction & Screenplay by: The Spierig Brothers
  • Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Madeleine West, Christopher Kirby
  • Genre: Action/Thriller, Sci/Fi
  • Platforms Available On: Prime
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
  • Metacritic: 69%
  • Runtime: 1h 37m

#8 The Game (1997)

The Game (1997)

When it comes to noir and crime thrillers, there are very few filmmakers like David Fincher. We can call him the master of crime thrillers. The Game (1997) centers around the character of Nicholas van Orton played by Michael Douglas, who is an investment banker from San Francisco. 

Nicholas is divorced and has his issues and troubles, as back in the time, he witnessed his father committing suicide in front of his eyes. Nicholas’s life changes when his younger brother Conrad played by Sean Penn, sends him an unusual gift, a voucher for a game from a company named Consumer Recreation Services. 

Eventually, as the story progresses, Nicholas finds himself in a difficult situation and is not able to make out what is real and what is not. When he tries to figure things out, the number of people he can trust diminishes quickly.

Movies like The Game can be characterized as Nolan-esque as it deals with subjects like existentialism and the construction of reality.

If you’re a Fincher enthusiast and have not watched this film yet, you better not delay.

  • Directed by: David Fincher
  • Written by: John Brancato, Michael Ferris
  • Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Armin Mueller-Stahl
  • Genre: Thriller/Mystery
  • Platforms Available On: Prime
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.7
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
  • Metacritic: 61%
  • Runtime: 2h 9m

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#9 Source Code (2011)

9 Spellbinding Movies Like Tenet | Films That Left Cine Lovers Flabbergasted!

Source Code (2011) is a movie about Colter Stevens, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, an army captain, and helicopter pilot. Colter finds out that he is part of a secret military operation and wakes up in the body of an unknown person named Sean Fentress, a man who died in a train bombing in Chicago.

Soon he realizes that he has to find the man who bombed the Chicago train, and his mission is also to prevent any future bombings. So, Colter keeps on re-living Sean’s life, thinking that he might be able to stop the first disaster only if he does not run out of time.

Source Code was a huge box office success and also received a number of critical acclaim. I could say this is Gyllenhal’s one of the finest movies till now. You better not miss it.

  • Directed by: Duncan Jones
  • Written by: Ben Ripley
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright
  • Genre: Sci/Fi, Action-Adventure
  • Platforms Available On: Prime
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%
  • FilmAffinity: 6.5/10
  • Runtime: 1h 33m

Final Words

I hope you’ve enjoyed the list; we have researched well so that you get the best options. If you’ve enjoyed watching Tenet, you will surely love watching all the nine movies listed here. Most of the films mentioned here are available on Prime and Netflix.

Jasleen Kour
Jasleen Kour
If you want options for anything worldwide, she'll give you all the best options available using her creativity. Similarly, she has many similar options for your favorite movies and series. She knows what her readers want and always delivers the same. Jasleen is a graceful member of our team, who does everything with elegance!


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