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Christopher Nolan, the British-born director of “Memento” and of the two most recent Batman movies, appears to believe that if he can do certain things in cinema—especially very complicated things—then he has to do them. But why? To what end? His new movie, “Inception,” is an astonishment, an engineering feat, and, finally, a folly. Nolan has devoted his extraordinary talents not to some weighty, epic theme or terrific comic idea but to a science-fiction thriller that exploits dreams as a vehicle for doubling and redoubling action sequences. He has been contemplating the movie for ten years, and as movie technology changed he must have realized that he could do more and more complex things. He wound up overcooking the idea. Nolan gives us dreams within dreams (people dream that they’re dreaming);

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