Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Leonardo Dicaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard
Complex co-sign: After the massive success of 2008’s The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan had so much Hollywood clout that he probably could’ve talked Jennifer Aniston into doing a sex scene with Angelina Jolie. Note to self: Give Christopher Nolan’s manager a call. So what did he do? He challenged himself with his trickiest film yet: a secret agent thriller set within dreamscapes. After months of hype, Inception proved to be a cerebral yet accessible blockbuster, with incredible effects (the no-gravity fight sequence), star-making performances (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy) and the year’s most debated ending. Now, Nolan can most likely talk any other A-list actress (say, Charlize Theron) into joining Aniston and Jolie if he wants. Note to self: Somehow call Christopher Nolan directly.