I went to see the movie Inception and really enjoyed it. (The set design and lighting were beautiful). I liked it that the main character's driving motivation was to return to his children.
For any one who hasn't seen the movie I will say only that is about dreams within dreams. It reminded me a little of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in that it was playing with reality. It also reminded me a little of Momento, in that it made you ask what what is real and can I trust the main character's perception of reality.
There are many SF stories that ask what is reality but there seems to be more non-linear story lines in movies than in books.
Linda Cowgill says:
‘Nonlinear film deconstructs a character, complicated event, situation, or a combination of these elements by reordering the time sequence and creating a new arrangement of time for dramatic, and thematic, purposes. This rearrangement makes the telling of a story more compelling than if we left the scene progression in chronological order.’ (See full article Non-linear narrative: the Ultimate in Time Travel).
You see the occasional flashback in books. But I'm having trouble thinking of examples of more complicated non-linear story telling. Can you think of any? Were they done well? Why do movies use this device more than books?