Inception is one of those rare gems that show up every few years, as entertaining and refreshing as it is original in a way that works for the audience and not against it. It can be enjoyed purely as an incredible action thriller or for the braver cinema goer as a labyrinth of complex plot devices and thought provoking ideas.
Much of the enjoyment of the film is in the discovery of the world Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) has created, so to give away too much of the plot would be to spoil some of the fun of the film. This one rewards the viewer who goes in cold without any prior knowledge ten-fold.
Without giving too much away then, the plot revolves around a piece of technology that allows people to share dreams. Dom Cobb played by Leonardo DiCaprio has perfected that art of using these shared dreams as a way of stealing people’s secrets. In this world of dream thievery, inception is the “Holy Grail” – planting an idea in the mind of someone in a way they feel it is their own.
If Cobb can pull off just that, then the wealthy businessman who hired him played by the commanding Ken Watanabe will grant him safe passage back to the United States and to his children. With the help of his team, Cobb undertakes the dangerous assignment but there is a lot more to this task than any of the players bargained for.
The film features the likes of Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Michael Cain, and Cillian Murphy all holding their own amongst all the big names. Ellen Page doesn’t get enough material to shine as Adriane, which is a little disappointing given the importance of her role as she embodies her Greek namesake to help Cobb navigate his own Labyrinth in his mind. The film also avoids going into any detail about the dream technology or developing any of the characters outside of Cobb, but that of course may have been deliberate too.
The success of the film is that it works on a number of levels. It’s simultaneously a balls-to-the-wall action thriller, a commentary on the nature of human perception, an auto-biographical piece on Nolan himself and his approach to his films, and a fantasy that draws the audience in so wholly that it leaves your head swirling with the possibilities.
The genius of the film however is that just like the characters in the story live out a shared dream, we the audience are so completely sucked into that dream that we’re spat out with much of the same awe, wonderment, frustration, and emotional upheaval as Cobb experiences in the story itself.
Inception is a must see film!