Inception


Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by:Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine
Released: July 22, 2010
Grade: A+

Inception may be the most intelligent action film you will ever see.  I’ve always believed that you cannot sum up the plot of a great film in a single sentence.  It’s proven true once again.  I’d need reams of A4 paper before even attempting to dissect this storyline.  It’s a stunning achievement - one that has been ten years in the making for writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight).

So how do I describe the story?  I need to give you all something.  Essentially this film is about dreams.  What if we lived in a world where we had the power to share dreams?  What if we took this a step further and people were able to manipulate you in these dreams?  I know we’ve seen films about this subject before (Strange Days springs to mind) but it’s Nolan’s vision which makes this so impressive.

To use his own words, Nolan “wanted to create a film that would allow the audience to experience the limitless realities that only in dreams can we realize.”  The key word there is “limitless”.  It has given Nolan full reign to create some amazingly artistic sequences.  There’s a fight scene involving Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a hotel hallway which left me shaking my head with disbelief.

There are many players in this intricate tale but the central character is Dom Cobb (DiCaprio), a master in dream extraction.  He is paid to infiltrate people’s minds and coerce them into revealing their deepest secrets.  This is an incredibly powerful ability but as you can imagine, it’s also highly illegal.  Wanted by the authorities in America, Cobb was forced to flee the country and leave his young children behind.  All he wants is to find a way to clear his name and return home.

A wealthy businessman (Watanabe) is about to provide Cobb with that opportunity.  If he can pull off one final job, he will use his connections and allow Cobb safe passage back into the United States.  Their target is Robert Fischer (Murphy), the heir to a billion dollar energy business.  This is a very different assignment though.  Cobb will not be stealing memories.  He will be implanting them.  With the help of his team, he will be taking on this extremely risky process known simply as “inception”.

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert aptly described Inception as “a movie immune to spoilers: if you knew how it ended, that would tell you nothing unless you knew how it got there."  I must say though that the film does end on a perfect note.  Like everything that precedes it, it’s designed to leave you thinking and to leave you talking.  I just love movies like this.  I can picture the wry smile on Christopher Nolan’s face when he finally finished his first draft.  He must have known this was something special.

There’s not a lot of background to the story (such as how the dream extraction technology evolved) and some viewers may be critical of this fact.  I didn’t have a problem with it.  You must take your brain into the cinema but you can rightly leave your sense of reality at home.  It’s the only way you’ll be able to completely surrender to Nolan’s world and what he is trying to achieve.

The cast is a who’s who of my favourite actors – Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy.  I’d pay to see any of these people in a movie but to have them all together is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  The cinematography, visual effects and editing are all wonderful but I want to make specific reference to Hans Zimmer and his intense film score.  He’s one of my favourite composers and this represents some of his best work.

You must see this film.  It is a film that cannot fully be described – it can only be experienced.  On that note, I must retire for the evening.  I wish you all sweet dreams.