I recently saw Christopher Nolan's movie "Inception," and the critics aren't lying (I know I am one too, but I wasn't assigned to review it) when they've called it "the movie of the summer." Not only is ridiculously original, it's got an amazing cast (Leo! Marion Cotillard! Ellen Page! Joseph Gordon-Levitt! Ken Watanabe!), an intense, mind-bending plot, whip-smart dialogue and dazzling visuals you have to see to understand. Even the supporting actors are fabulous (the always fabulous Irishman Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Pete Postlethwaite, new-to-American audiences Tom Hardy, and my God yes that's Tom Berenger gone gray).
The film, which is a thinking-viewer's thriller, is a direct descendant of Nolan's breakthrough "Memento." You can't be a passive observer of the film, or it will blow you away. Seriously, don't even get a medium soda or you'll miss a scene and wish you hadn't.
With such a stellar cast, I'm sure you're wondering why the title of this post is about Gordon-Levitt. I mean, Leo is Leo. He's the Big Star, and then there's the other Academy Award nominees like Page and Watanabe -- not to mention winners, like Cotillard and Caine. Frankly, I'm also a huge fan of Murphy's (please see "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"), *but* there's just something about Gordon-Levitt that I find irresistible as a viewer. I don't mean physically, although that's certainly part of it (he's quite handsome), but his intensity, his ability to be a believable leading man ("500 Days of Summer"), action hero (it's horrible, but it proves my point, "GI Joe"), or young street hustler ("Mysterious Skin"). He's just plain amazing, and I'd pretty much watch him in anything -- well, OK, I couldn't finish "G.I. Joe."
Breakthrough Role: "3rd Rock From the Sun" (he obviously learned a thing or two from world-class actor John Lithgow)
Best Films: "Inception" is ultimately Leo's film, but Gordon-Levitt's sensible, detailed, and bad-ass Arthur is Leo's right-hand-man, and he's got an unforgettable, gravity-free fight scene that's amazing. Oh, and he rocks the designer leather jackets.
"500 Days of Summer": He believes in true love. He likes The Smiths. He's a sweet mess when Summer (the excellent Zooey Deschanel) calls it quits. Plus, he does a little soft-shoe routine.
"Brick": As The Guardian's critic said, it's "Dashiell Hammett meets Southern California high school as a 16-year-old loner investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend."
"Mysterious Skin": One of the most difficult indie dramas I've ever seen. Gordon-Levitt is a young gay hustler who's bound to a young man (Brady Corbet) by a shared history of molestation.