Why yes, Chris Nolan…you certainly did. Inception more than lived up to the hype and excitement that’s been building in me since I first heard about the concept of this film. Having seen over 75% of his directed films, and almost 90% of those he’s written, this film has been pegged as his masterpiece, and truly, it was.
It’s hard to discuss the film without giving away too much of the plot. However, the basic premise is that there is a thief for hire, Dom Cobb, who specializes in a sort of mind espionage. In this world, technology allows these extractors to create, enter and modify the dreams of others in order to gain access to trade secrets, hidden thoughts, etc. You can imagine the kinds of wars that could be waged on this type of front. Cobb works with a number of other specialists who assist him in creating the dream world, keeping security from reaching the intruders, finding the thoughts that hold the answer for the job, and most importantly, ensuring that the dreamer has the belief that everything is real so that they will not awaken while the work is being done.
The cast assembled was marvelous. As previously mentioned, I am no fan of Leonardo DiCaprio – however, this role seemed much more natural for him. He was quite good as Cobb. The rest of the cast was an assembled bunch of actors who have previously worked with Nolan (such as Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, and Cillian Murphy (who was also fabulous in his role)), and assorted others who were cast into highly suitable roles. Marion Cotillard is quickly becoming a favourite leading lady of mine…Ellen Page is finally moving on from her cynical youth…Joseph Gordon-Levitt is no longer Tommy from Third Rock. Pete Postlethwaite, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger, and Lukas Haas round out the cast in fairly memorable roles – each integral to the plot.
The story itself is complex and well thought out to the very last detail. The human mind can be a wonderful and frightening place, as we can see throughout the dream sequences of the film. If you are lucky enough to remember your dreams, they can be vividly beautiful, and terrifyingly ugly. Quite often the switch between these experiences is all but instantaneous. Considering this movie was based upon a dream that Nolan had himself, or rather, an idea that spawned from the dream, be prepared for an inventive adventure through the subconscious. The visually stunning backdrops to the story make you begin to wonder if there are dreams you’ve experienced that were real…or realities you believe you’ve been in that were dreams.
So should you see it? Most definitely. Is it confusing? Complicated, yes. But not confusing…you will be able to follow Nolan’s storytelling, as he has a way of making the story intelligent without going over most heads, and understandable without dumbing it down.
“Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.”
P.S. I can’t stop thinking of elephants.