Adaptation with Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. Wow, what a complicated story. There are as many as four story threads to follow, with flash-backs in each, and flash-backs within flash-backs to complicate the matter.
Furthermore, certain scenes appear, and seem to advance the narrative, but suddenly, you discover,\ they were merely the dreams of the hero.
All the story lines converge and the ending is slam-bang, shootem up action to wind up what has been mostly contemplative, introspective thoughts of the hypochonriac hero.
The protagonist is a screen writer who is struggling with an adaptation of best seller. As it turns out, the script he is writing is the script for the movie we are watching. How's that for confusing?
There are lots if little ironic touches like the scene in which the screen writer is shown thinking. A voice-over explains what he is thinking about: that voice-overs to show what a character is thinking are bad writing.
Tonight I'm going to be watching Oceans Eleven. I expect lots of straight forward action and NO contemplative ruminations.
PS To Karen and others who made comments below:: I view this now as a colossal joke. The story is about a screen writer, and points out all the bad things in screen writing: (1) voice overs to show what the character is thinking (2) Scenes that advance the narrative, and then turn out to be dreams (3) flash backs (4) flash backs within flash backs (5) multiple personalities of the protagonist (6) evil twin character (7) Deus ex Machina...the resolution of the plot by an "accident" or force outside the realm of the characters. Yet the script of this movie employs all of these.
Most of the movie is about introspection and adaptation and making fun of car chases and thriller chiller scenes. It makes fun of protagonist's brother who employs these devices. Then the brother takes over the writing of the script and that is how it ends, as a slap-dash chiller movie with a Deus ex Machina (car crash) ending. Oh, now I get it. Charlie wrote the first part of the movie and brother Donald wrote the end. The hero had a multiple personality.
Only, that makes it MORE complicated, not less.