Inception

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas
  • Writers: Christopher Nolan
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine

A contemporary science fiction action thriller set within the architecture of the mind.

The Aviator

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, Charles Evans Jr
  • Writers: John Logan, Michael Mann
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C Reilly, Ian Holm, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Brent Spiner, Frances Conroy, Willem Defoe

The Aviator has no opening credits other than the title. The film begins in 1914 with nine-year-old Hughes being bathed by his mother, who warns him of disease: “You are not safe.”

The film next shows him in 1927, as a 22-year old preparing to direct Hell’s Angels. Hiring Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to run Hughes Tool Company, while he oversees the flight sequences for the film, Hughes becomes obsessed with shooting the film realistically, even re-shooting the dogfight himself. By 1929, with the silent film finally complete, Hughes realizes the premiere of the The Jazz Singer, which was the first part-talking film, means that sound films would soon become the industry standard. Hughes re-shoots Hell’s Angels with sound, costing another year and $1.7 million. Hell’s Angels released as a sound film in 1930 is a huge hit, and Hughes also produces Scarface (1932) and The Outlaw (1943). However, there is one goal he relentlessly pursues: aviation. During this time, he also pursues Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). The two go to nightclubs, play golf and fly together, and as they grow closer, move in together as well. During this time Hepburn becomes a major supporter and confidant to Hughes, and helps alleviate the symptoms of his obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Hughes’ fame grows, he is seen with more starlets.

Hughes successfully test flies the flying boat himself. After the flight, he talks to Dietrich and his mechanic, Glenn Odekirk (Matt Ross), about a new jetliner for TWA (the Avro C102 Jetliner) and makes a date with Gardner at a celebration party on the Long Beach shoreline. Hughes seems free of his inner demons until he sees three attendants in business suits and white gloves edging towards him, which triggers an obsessive-compulsive fit as he begins repeating “The way of the future.” Dietrich and Odekirk take Hughes in a bathroom and hide him there, while Dietrich fetches a doctor and Odekirk stands outside guarding the door. Alone inside, Howard has a flashback to his boyhood, being washed by his mother and resolving he will fly the fastest aircraft ever built, make the biggest movies ever and become the richest man in the world. As the film ends he mutters “the way of the future… the way of the future” into a darkened mirror.

Blood Diamond

  • Directors: Edward Zwick
  • Producers: Gillian Gorfil, Marshall Herskovitz, Graham King, Paula Weinstein, Edward Zwick
  • Writers: Charles Leavitt
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Michael Sheen, Arnold Vosloo

Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1999, the film shows a country torn apart by the struggle between government soldiers and rebel forces.[1] The film portrays many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels’ amputation of people’s hands to discourage them from voting in upcoming elections.

The film begins with the capture of Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman, by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels when they invade the small Sierra Leonian village of Shenge. Separated from his family, Solomon is enslaved to work in the diamond fields under the command of a Warlord called Captain Poison (David Harewood) while his son Dia is conscripted into the rebel forces, the brainwashing eventually turning him into a hardened killer. The RUF use the diamonds to fund their war effort, often trading them directly for arms. While working in the RUF diamond fields as a forced laborer, Solomon finds a large, pink diamond inside a big, broken pipe in the diamond fields. Claiming that he must go to the toilet, Solomon hides the diamond between his toes to try and sneak it away to bury it. However, moments before government troops launch an attack, Captain Poison sees Solomon hiding the diamond. Captain Poison is injured in an attack by government forces before he can get the stone, and both he and Solomon are taken to prison in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

Solomon travels to London and, with the help of Bowen, he trades the diamond to Simmons for £2,000,000 and the reunification of his family, making the exchange as Solomon’s wife and children arrive via a Lear Jet at a London airport. Bowen, who secretly photographs the deal, later publishes a magazine piece exposing the trade in “conflict” or “blood” diamonds. The film ends with Solomon smiling at the photograph Maddy took of Archer earlier, now published in her magazine along with the complete story of their journey, before addressing a conference on blood diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa, describing his experiences. This refers to an actual meeting that took place in Kimberley in 2000 and led to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which seeks to certify the origin of diamonds in order to curb the trade in conflict diamonds.

Gangs of New York

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Alberto Grimaldi, Harvey Weinstein
  • Writers: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Cameron Diaz, John C Reilly, Henry Thomas, Jim Broadbent, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Barbara Bouchet

In 1846, in Lower Manhattan’s “Five Points” district, a territorial war raging for years between the “Natives” (comprising those born in the United States) and recently arrived Irish Catholic immigrants, is about to come to a head in Paradise Square. The Natives are led by William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant with an open hatred of recent immigrants. The leader of the immigrant Irish, the “Dead Rabbits,” is Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), who has a young son, Amsterdam (played as a child by Cian McCormack). Cutting and Vallon meet with their respective gangs in a horrific and bloody battle, concluding when Bill kills Priest Vallon, which Amsterdam witnesses. Cutting declares the Dead Rabbits outlawed and orders Vallon’s body be buried with honor. Amsterdam seizes the knife that kills his father, races off and buries it. He is found and taken to the orphanage at Hellgate.

Sixteen years later, Amsterdam returns to New York a grown man (Leonardo DiCaprio). Arriving in Five Points, he reunites with an old friend, Johnny Sirocco (Henry Thomas). Johnny, now a member of a clan of pickpockets and thieves, introduces Amsterdam to Bill the Butcher, for whom the group steals. Amsterdam finds many of his father’s old loyalists are now under Bill’s control, including Happy Jack Mulraney (John C. Reilly), now a corrupt city constable and in Bill’s pocket, and McGloin (Gary Lewis), now one of Bill’s lieutenants. Amsterdam soon works his way into the Butcher’s inner circle. Amsterdam learns that each year, on the anniversary of the Five Points battle (February 16), Bill leads the city in saluting the victory over the Dead Rabbits, and he makes plans to kill the Butcher during this ceremony, in front of the entire Five Points community, in order to exact public revenge.

The dead are collected for burial. Bill’s body is buried in Brooklyn, in view of the Manhattan skyline, adjacent to the grave of Priest Vallon. Jenny and Amsterdam visit as Amsterdam buries his father’s razor. Amsterdam narrates New York would be rebuilt, but they are no longer remembered, as if “we were never here”. The scene then shifts over the next hundred years, giving us a view as the modern New York begins building up from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to the World Trade Center, and the graves of Bill and Priest Vallon gradually become covered in bushes and weeds.

The 11th Hour

  • Directors: Nadia Conners, Leila Conners Petersen
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Nadia Conners, Leonardo DiCaprio, Leila Conners Petersen
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Stephen Hawking, Thom Hartmann, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sylvia Earle, James Woolsey, Andrew Weil, William McDonough, Paul Hawken, Wangari Maathai, David Suzuki, Andy Lipkis, David Orr, Kenny Ausubel

With contributions from over 50 politicians, scientists, and environmental activists, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and journalist Paul Hawken, the film documents the grave problems facing the planet’s life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans’ habitats are all addressed. The film’s premise is that the future of humanity is in jeopardy.

The film proposes potential solutions to these problems by calling for restorative action by the reshaping and rethinking of global human activity through technology, social responsibility and conservation.

Shutter Island

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Martin Scorsese, Brad Fischer, Mike Medavoy, Arnie Messer
  • Writers: Novel, Dennis Lehane, Screenplay, Laeta Kalogridis, Steven Knight
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, Max von Sydow

In 1954, two U.S. marshals Teddy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel, from a hospital for the criminally insane on an island in Massachusetts. They run into trouble when they read a note Rachel left (‘Who is 67’) and realize that there is another, unknown, prisoner on the island. However, they are deceived multiple times by everyone else on the island, a hurricane hits and an inmate riot traps them on the island. Soon, a cryptic warning tells them that there is no escape.[1]

Revolutionary Road

  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Producers: Bobby Cohen, Sam Mendes, Scott Rudin, Sharan Kapoor
  • Writers: Justin Haythe, Based on the novel by Richard Yates
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon

Set in 1955, Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) move to Revolutionary Road in one of New York City’s wealthy Connecticut suburbs, and have a daughter and a son.

April is dissatisfied with her life as a suburban housewife, and Frank despises his marketing job at Knox Business Machines, where his now-deceased father worked for twenty years in a similar position. The Wheelers feel they are unique and special, but trapped in the conformity of life in the suburbs, where they moved to raise their children. From time to time they have bitter arguments, with Frank berating April and acting out physically.

On Frank’s thirtieth birthday he seduces a young secretary from his office, and begins to sleep with her on occasion. Returning home late, April surprises him with a birthday cake and a proposal that they move to Paris, with April working as a secretary to support the family so that Frank can discover what he truly wants to do in life. Frank is reluctant at first but ultimately embraces the idea, and the renewed optimism breathes fresh life into their relationship. Colleagues and friends react politely to the couple’s decision, but tell each other they consider it to be immature or impractical.

April runs into the woods and asks to be left alone. She returns and, the next morning, calmly acts the part of a supportive housewife. When Frank leaves for the day she attempts to perform an abortion with her device, which goes wrong, and she dies later that day in the hospital. Frank moves to the city with the children. The neighbors’ lives carry on and they tell each other in various ways that they disapproved of the Wheelers.

Body of Lies

  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Donald De Line
  • Writers: Novel, David Ignatius, Screenplay, William Monahan
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Golshifteh Farahani, Vince Colosimo, Mark Strong

Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) is a CIA operations officer. He is in Iraq trying to track down a terrorist called Al-Saleem. While following a lead, Ferris’s asset (who he has become good friends with) is killed during a car chase involving terrorists, rocket-propelled grenades and two missile-firing U.S. helicopters. Ferris recovers from his injuries at a U.S. facility in Qatar before he is sent to Jordan to run down some intelligence he recovered in Iraq. Meanwhile, unknown terrorists plan to follow up an offscreen series of bus bombings in Sheffield, with more attacks in Manchester but blow themselves up when the police find their cell. Later, another terrorist undertakes a cell phone-triggered bombing in an Amsterdam flower market that kills at least 75 people.

Ferris’ handler, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), keeps tabs on Ferris via a Sikorsky Cypher UAV. Towards the start of the movie, Hoffman speaks to his CIA superiors. He explains to them how terrorists are turning their back on technology by throwing away their phones and computers and using old methods of communicating face-to-face and with written messages. Because of this, the terrorists are very hard to track.

In Jordan, Ferris tosses the ineffectual Station Chief out of his office before he meets Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) who tells Ferris to never lie to him. Hoffman finds an Al-Saleem safehouse in Jordan and tells Ferris to conduct a surveillance operation on it. However, Hoffman organises another CIA operative Skip (Vince Colosimo) to conduct an operation without Ferris’ consent. The other agent screws the operation up and blows his cover after saying something compromising to a terrorist from the safehouse. The terrorist takes off running, intent on relaying information that the safehouse is being watched. Ferris chases him down and kills him by stabbing him, getting bitten by dogs in the process. Hani covers up the killing by passing it off as a robbery and Ferris accuses Hoffman of running “side operations”, telling Hoffman to lay off.

In the end Hoffman offers Ferris a job in his office, but Ferris declines and tells Hoffman that he quits the CIA. Hoffman prepares to leave Jordan and resigns himself to Ferris not changing his mind. At the movie’s end, Ferris seemingly decides to not contact Aisha therein refuting what Hoffman had repeated numerous times through the movie: no one is innocent. However Ferris is seen in the market buying pastries, in a box similar to that which he had taken to Aisha’s and it is left to the viewer to decide whether he leaves her to live her life or becomes involved with her once again.

The Beach

  • Directors: Danny Boyle
  • Producers: Andrew Macdonald
  • Writers: Alex Garland, John Hodge
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Guillaume Canet, Paterson Joseph, Lars Arentz Hansen, Robert Carlyle

Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young American backpacking in Thailand, has come to Southeast Asia with the intention of experiencing something radically different from his familiar life. He hears of an island paradise commonly held to be urban legend. According to rumor, a secret community of travelers who have left behind their former lives inhabits the island. Richard initially dismisses the island’s existence, but later meets Daffy (Robert Carlyle), who identifies himself as a former inhabitant and gives Richard a map. Shortly afterward, Daffy commits suicide.

Richard then meets the very beautiful Françoise (Virginie Ledoyen) and her handsome boyfriend, Étienne (Guillaume Canet), and convinces them to accompany him to the island. They travel a great distance from Bangkok to the shores of Ko Phangan, in the Gulf of Thailand. While there, Richard befriends a pair of American surfers, Sammy and Zeph, who mention the legend. He does not admit his knowledge, but he copies the map and slides it under their door.

To reach the island, Richard, Françoise and Étienne must hop between several adjacent islands. When they first arrive on the island, they come across an enormous marijuana plantation, guarded by local men armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They manage to evade detection by the marijuana farmers and find the community of travelers. They are seen by Keaty, who takes them to the beach community. They are interrogated by the island’s leader, Sal (Tilda Swinton), regarding their knowledge of the island. Initially, the community is hostile towards the trio, but when Richard mentions Daffy, they gradually relent, and the three are rapidly integrated into the beach’s laid-back yet structured lifestyle of work and play.

The film ends with Richard returning to his former lifestyle of travel. While stopping by an internet cafe to check his e-mail, he receives an attached image from Françoise. It is a photograph of the entire beach community taken by Françoise, with the community jumping midair in unison, looking very bright and happy, taken right after Richard and Sal made their supply run to the mainland. Upon further inspection, Richard sees an animated handwritten inscription over the image: ‘Parallel Universe. Love, Françoise’.

The Man in the Iron Mask

  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Producers: Russell Smith, Randall Wallace
  • Writers: Randall Wallace
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, History
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gabriel Byrne, Anne Parillaud

France is under the reign of the militaristic King Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is bankrupting the country with his unpopular wars. When starving peasants in Paris start to riot for food, he responds by ordering his chief advisor, Pierre (Hugh Laurie), to send them rotten food – although he later unjustly orders Pierre executed for this. Meanwhile, the King wallows in hedonistic luxury while seducing a parade of women. The legendary three musketeers have retired from their posts: Aramis (Jeremy Irons) is now a priest of the Jesuit Order; Porthos (Gérard Depardieu) is running a Parisian brothel; Athos (John Malkovich) has a son named Raoul (Peter Saarsgard) who is just back from the war and ready to marry the girl he loves, Christine Bellefort (Judith Godrèche). At a festival, the two lovers are greeted by an older D’Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne) and wished luck, but just before Raoul can propose, the King’s eyes fall on Christine. He arranges for Raoul to be returned to combat and killed in a suicidal charge.

In the wake of Raoul’s death, Aramis initiates a plot to overthrow the King with the help of his old comrades. Only Athos and Porthos agree to the plan; D’Artangan refuses to betray his oath of allegiance. The three musketeers sneak into an island prison and arrange the escape of a mysterious prisoner: a man in an iron mask. They replace him with a corpse in a matching iron mask so the guards will not know that the prisoner has escaped. They take the young man to a safe house in the countryside and unmask him: he is Philippe (Leonardo DiCaprio), the identical twin of King Louis. While he looks indistinguishable from his brother, Philippe is compassionate and gentle. Aramis reveals that he was sent away by his father, King Louis XIII, to save France from years of dynastic warfare. Later, Louis XIV was too superstitious to have his brother murdered; instead, he devised a way to keep him hidden: the iron mask. Aramis was the one who took Philippe away to be imprisoned, an act which has haunted him ever since.

The next day, Philippe, Athos, Porthos, Aramis and Queen Anne attend D’Artagnan’s funeral, in which the three musketeers are finally redeemed. Philippe introduces them as his royal council and truest friends. With Louis (who had received a royal pardon) now exiled to a country house, France is now at peace under the reign of Philippe.