Thusday Screener

Inception, Tracks and Bad Times at the El Royale
Film+TV | 27 August 2020
This article is part of HERO Dailies – Essential culture, curated daily and also part of Thursday Screener

HERO DAILIES: Essential culture, curated daily
THURSDAY SCREENER: Three films that should be in your watchlist

Inception by Christopher Nolan, 2010

With Christoper Nolan’s time-bending new film Tenet out this week, we’re revisiting the director’s blockbuster work, Inception. Crafted around the idea of stealing and planting ideas inside people’s dreams, the 2010 epic takes on a trip through the many layers of the subconscious.

Led by Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), an extractor (read: dream thief), his team – dream-weaving architect Ariadne (Ellen Page), forger Eames (Tom Hardy), chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) and partner-in-crime Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – are on a daredevil mission to plant an idea in the mind of businessman Robert Fisher (Cillian Murphy), several layers deep. Once completed, Cobb will be allowed back into the US to reunite with his kids.

In typical Nolan fashion, the film is spectacular from beginning to end. Clocking in at over two and a half hours, your concentration is justly rewarded with breathtaking visuals and a narrative that never stops twisting. Key scenes: Ellen Page bending the streets of Paris and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 360, topsy-turvy hotel fight scene.

Extra reading: check our interview with two-time visual effects Oscar winner Paul Franklin, whose expertise shaped Nolan’s vision for Inception.

Inception is available to stream on Netflix.

Still, Inception by Christopher Nolan, 2010

Tracks by John Curran, 2014

It’s going to be a long weekend with yet another lazy bank holiday, so why not keep it mellow and sink into a beautifully directed visual feast, courtesy of director John Curran, with Mia Wasikowska in 2014 film, Tracks. In a nutshell? A young woman decides to walk to the Indian Ocean, 2,000 miles across Australia, with nothing but basic supplies, four camels and a dog for company. Along the way, she bumps into National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) who documents her voyage.

Tracks is an adaptation of adventurer Robyn Davidson’s epic memoir, who actually made that grueling journey in 1977. While it may be an old school journey of youthful self-discovery, what commits it to memory (Mia Wasikowska’s stellar performance aside) are its visuals: endless desertscapes, captivating in their dry, red beauty – and brutality.

Still, Tracks by John Curran, 2014

Bad Times at the El Royale by Drew Goddard, 2018

A priest, a southern vacuum salesman, a femme fatale and a soul singer all check into a sleazy 60s hotel… no, it’s not the beginning of a bad joke, it’s the plot-line for, The Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard’s second feature, Bad Times at the El Royale.

Boasting a killer cast including Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth and Cynthia Erivo, the film takes place in 1969, the year that saw the Summer of Love brought to a conclusive end following the twin shock of the Manson murders in August 1969 and the brutal killing by Hells Angels of an audience member at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont a few months later. Here, that optimism vs pessimism battle of the late-60s American dream is brought to life via neon-lit twists, memorable performances and a soundtrack that kicks. FFO: Tarantino, Nicolas Winding Refn and B-movie thrills.

Bad Times at the El Royale is available to stream on Netflix

Still, Bad Times at the El Royale by Drew Goddard, 2018

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