The best movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other streamers are the ones with the plot twists you never saw coming. Specifically, the ones where the protagonist has an evil alter-ego, or multiple personalities pitting against each other.
In a recent GQ cover story, Timothée Chalamet said being an actor is like having 30 different personalities at the dining table and attending them all (without going crazy). On-screen too, talented actors like Christian Bale, Edward Norton and closer home—Farhan Akhtar—have delivered commendable performances as characters with darker alter-egos. Below, we’ve curated a list of the best titles from this sub-genre.
7 best movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & more about characters with alter egos and multiple personality disorders
1. American Psycho — Netflix
One of the best movies on Netflix is the Christian Bale-starrer American Psycho (2000), where he plays Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker in New York by day and a murderous serial killer by night. Bateman’s psychopathic alter ego is unknown to all; his fiance (Reese Witherspoon), mistress (Samantha Mathis) and coworker (Jared Leto). But as it starts to take over, it gets harder and harder for the ugly truth to stay hidden for too long.
2. Fight Club — Amazon Prime Video
We’re breaking a rule here by even talking about Fight Club. The enthralling 1999 movie based on Chuck Palhanuik’s famous novel stars Edward Norton as The Narrator, a man suffering from insomnia and depression, whose life does a 180-degree turn when he meets a cool-as-hell soap salesman called Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). A series of events, including the destruction of the protagonist’s picturesque apartment, leads him to bunk with Tyler and join forces in starting an underground fight club where the first and second rule is simple enough: you do not talk about Fight Club. But in time, The Narrator comes to realise that all may not be as it seems and that Tyler is closer than he thinks…
3. Split — Amazon Prime Video
23 different personalities may seem like a lot, but Kevin (James McAvoy) has one more up his…er, sleeve. As he reveals to his trusted psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), this personality is far deadlier than all the rest; the one he takes care to keep submerged so terror doesn’t strike. When Kevin is compelled to kidnap three young girls, the latter have the hard task of identifying and befriending the more benevolent of his personalities and plot escape… before it’s too late.
4. Karthik Calling Karthik — Netflix
Karthik Calling Karthik, starring Farhan Akhtar and Deepika Padukone, presents a riveting watch. Much like The Narrator in Fight Club, Karthik (Akhtar) is an introvert facing constant ridicule by his boss and peers, and pining after the woman of his dreams. But one day, he gets a phone call from someone who sounds exactly like him; who tells him to just follow along with everything the caller is asking him to do to raise his lot in life. Karthik complies, wins over his love interest, gets promoted… until the identity of the caller is revealed. This Bollywood film is one of the best movies on Netflix for fans of jaw-dropping plot twists.
5. Shutter Island — Amazon Prime Video
Based on Dennis Lehane’s 2003 New York Times bestselling novel, the neo-noir psychological thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio follows two US Marines who are sent on a mission to a mental asylum to track down a patient who’s gone missing. As they make their way through the institution and the remote island it’s built on, Teddy (Caprio) gets a niggling feeling that he’s been here before; a truth that will make him question reality itself.
6. Identity — Apple TV+
Inspired by Agatha Christie’s famous novel And Then There WAs None, Identity (2003) follows the journey of 10 strangers, who are forced to seek refuge in an isolated motel during a storm in the Nevada desert. When they start getting killed off one-by-one, limo driver Ed Dakota (John Cusack) struggles to stay alive and reveal the murderer’s identity.
7. Deewangee — Amazon Prime Video
This engaging title kickstarts with Sargam (Urmila Matondkar) approaching a successful attorney Raj Goyal (Akshaye Khanna), to defend her friend Tarang Bharadwaj (Ajay Devgn) who has been accused of murdering a man named Ashwin Mehta. Despite his misgivings, Raj takes on the case to prove that Tarang… or at least one side of him… is innocent.