For nearly a year, audiences have wondered, “What is Inception?” Visions of transforming buildings, people running up walls, vast and sweeping locations and Leonardo DiCaprio whispering about dreams and reality, have piqued the collective cinematic interest. So, after catching the midnight showing of Inception, this writer can finally answer the question about what Inception is.
Inception is one of, if not the most, amazing films I’ve ever seen.
What writer/director Christopher Nolan has done is create a film that is so many things at once. Part psychological thriller, part caper flick, part red-blooded shoot ’em up, part emotionally wrought drama — Nolan is able to take the best parts of all these genres of film and deftly turn them into an intelligent yet completely accessible masterpiece. Think of the mind-blowing storytelling of Memento meets the big budget panache and intensity of The Dark Knight.
The plot of Inception revolves around enigmatic “dream thief” Cobb (DiCaprio), who in between being stalked by the visions of his dead wife (Marion Cotillard) is leading a team of geniuses, thieves and con artists into the mind of a young businessman (Cillian Murphy). The job? Plant the thought (inception) that he should break-up the billion dollar energy company his dying father has willed him so that Cobb’s employer Saito (Ken Watanabe), another energy magnate, can become the alpha male, the No. 1 supplier of energy to the free world. In exchange, Saito will get Cobb’s name cleared so he can return to the United States and be with his family.
From this premise, we are taken a wild, multi-dimensional ride through action, dream and emotion. There are parallel worlds, crazy imagery and nail-biting suspense, all painted with a masterful stroke. For those, who might be a little intimidated by all this alternate reality and Matrix-like “what’s real” and “what’s dream” stuff, fear not. Everything is explained very simply — but not too simply. Inception is an intelligent film that even if you’re not into the exploration of reality, you can still enjoy it for the truly edge-of-your-seat action and suspense.
Yet, the main reason Inception works so well is the dynamic cast Nolan has assembled. Teaming two of Hollywood’s top young actors DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a stroke of genius. Both are dynamic actors whose magnitude on-screen rivals the legendary Pacino/DeNiro pairing in Michael Mann’s classic crime dramaHeat. Inception also sports an amazingly solid supporting cast filled with underrated supporting actors (Watanbe, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy), cinematic veterans (Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine and Tom Berenger) and the always engaging — but desperately in need of a good film — Ellen Page. All of these actors bring their own distinct flavor to the film, giving the film another layer of excellence.
In short, Inception is a cinematic experience that even my own hyperbolic text cannot fully capture. It’s one of those films you have to see to believe. And believe me, you won’t regret seeing it.