The definition of the word “inception” is “beginning, start, commencement.” In the case of the latest Christopher Nolan psychological thriller, it’s the placing of an idea into someone’s mind. And the process of doing this is not as easy as you might think…or dream, as it were. Considered to be the juggernaut film for adults during a lackluster summer season (as of this post, it’s been #1 at the Box Office for 3 straight weeks), this movie is truly a visionary experience and it does live up to the hype.
Written by Nolan who has brought us the backwards mind-bender “Memento” and “The Dark Knight,” this film is a breath of fresh air, even when it does get a little heavy-handed with relationship drama and long-winded explanations. But even when it does get a little too involved, the scenery is so fascinating that it’s hard to not get swept away in it.
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a mind thief. He essentially goes into your dreams and steals ideas or thoughts in order to make money. To do this he needs certain people to help him set-up the heist so that the “dreamer” won’t recognize the fact that his or her ideas are being stolen. It’s a fascinating idea that has been touched upon in other films, but in this case, Nolan takes it in a different direction. Cobb is hired by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to go into another man’s thoughts to plant an idea. As simple as this sounds here, I gotta tell you…the painstaking way that Nolan develops this concept and makes it NOT so simple is a part of what makes this so thrilling! It involves going deeper and deeper into a person’s psychological dream state and planting an idea so small that it will evolve into something on its own. The perpetrators have to plant the idea without the subject knowing or the entire plan falls apart and leaves them with nothing. It’s a fascinating concept and there are multiple levels to what Nolan has created here.
Not to give anything away, DiCaprio’s Cobb is a complex character because he has his share of secrets and they tend to get in his way while he is at work. His arching storyline is what makes “Inception” more complex than it probably has to be, but it doesn’t deter from the plot of the film and, if anything, it adds more layers to it. It could have made this movie almost TOO much to keep up with, but it is with skilled writing and DiCaprio’s skills that Cobb’s issues become an important aspect of the movie instead of weighing it down.
Lots of great performances in this movie, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt as DiCaprio’s right-hand man, Arthur, and a lot of big-name actors who are left with secondary roles that are important to the plot and pacing of the film. Ellen Page is a decent choice for “The Architect”, or someone who develops the dreamscapes for Cobb. Tom Hardy, Dileep Rio and Watanabe are excellent as the rest of the crew who help Cobb and Marion Cotillard plays Cobb’s deceased wife who haunts his dreams.
For me to give away any of the plot of this film would be a disservice. It’s fascinating to watch as Nolan takes us further & further along on this mind-twisting journey and I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. It’s an amazing movie and one that I hope is as good on repeated viewings. I plan on seeing it again and hopefully there will be some new things that I missed the first time that will help me understand certain aspects of it. But overall, you can’t ask for a more thought-provoking summer film and I imagine there will be plenty of Oscar talk as the year rolls on!
Overall Rating: A+