PG-13, 148m., 2010
Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger with Cillian Murphy and Micheal Caine
Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan
Inception is this summer’s, if not this year’s, thrill ride. A film so tight and coiled in its storytelling you won’t even know what hit you.
After all these piss-poor big-budget movies to come out over the summer, Christopher Nolan returns to show that he is a master craftsman director, creating a treasure trove of an endless dreamscape. Within this world of endless worlds, Nolan beautifully and complexly exemplifies his love of philosophy, surrealism, and action cinema into a film richly layered with top notch performances.
Everywhere we go on this non-stop, action-packed journey, we are treated to a bubbling melting pot of cinematic moments containing sequences of James Bond adventure, thrilling brush strokes of action movies like Heat and Blade Runner, the encasing moody feeling of film noir, and mesmerizing zero-gravity fight choreography reminiscent of Fred Astaire footwork before the vacuum cleaner commercials.
Yet what is this movie really about? Well you have to see it to really believe it, most definitely in IMAX if possible. But for those who need a preface before entering the theater, let me try to explain a select portion of it without turning the whole premise upside down.
Taking place somewhere in the near future, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a mysterious man named Cobb, an extractor of dreams, who is hired by mega tycoon Ken Watanabe to implant an idea inside the mind of another tycoon played by Cillian Murphy. DiCaprio assembles an Ocean Eleven-like team of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, and Ellen Page, each person having vast capabilities of shaping and changing each other’s dreams. DiCaprio is also haunted by the memories of his dead wife played by Marion Cotillard, giving us one hell of a great femme fatale performance.
For the rest of the film as they enter the minds of one another’s character’s, going several layers deep with dreams within dreams sequences, trust in Nolan as your guide, he will not lead you down a path that is confusing or contrived, a very rare occasion for a film-going audience.
About 3/4th of the way into the film, one gets a feeling that while it’s a great ride with all of its amazing special effects and mind-bending storytelling, we wonder where is the heart of the film’s characters at? Then it comes to us in an tender scene between Cotillard and DiCaprio, cuts deep with Hans Zimmer‘s intense score, and shows us the kinder side of the usually dark Nolan universe.
The hope in seeing a film with this kind of original epic caliber is that it will find success with audiences. If this happens, it will hopefully spawn a real ‘inception‘ in the filmmaking industry, giving back the power to the filmmakers and creating movies that are original and not just more superhero adaptations, video games, or 3D gimmicks.
With all of this swirling in and around Inception, one must go take the ride that it offers you then kick yourself back into reality and take it all over again. A true mind-blowing experience.