Films about dreams and the subconscious are usually not very straightforward and almost always weird. “Inception” is no exception to that rule, but like its cinematic predecessors who have explored the contrast between and the questions of what is real and what is illusion (i.e. “The Matrix” (1999), “The Cell” (2000), “Abre Los Ojos” (1997) & its American remake “Vanilla Sky” (2001)), you really can’t look away, nor should you.
“Inception” is an excellent and breathtaking movie that may be one of the only films released so far during the Summer of 2010 that lives up to its hype. It is a nearly perfect and highly original film that holds your attention until the credits roll. The less you know about this movie going in, the more you will be entranced by seeing it.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a world class criminal who, with the help of a team of sleep experts, works his way into people’s subconscious and steals what people value most: ideas directly from their minds. In his last assignment to possibly clear his name, he is assigned not to steal an idea from someone, but to plant one inside that person’s mind. The difficulty comes when certain people are trained to block their ideas from being taken.
That plot summary only covers the basics of this pretty complicated story, but to describe every plot detail would take away the magic of this film you must see yourself to believe. DiCaprio is good in his role, but unlike many other films he has starred in, this is perhaps his only role where his character alone does not carry the weight of the movie on his shoulders or share it equally with one other co-star. Instead, this great ensemble cast teams together to make this movie work, just as their characters collaborate to pull off such a unique heist. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and Tom Hardy are especially good in their roles.
The special effects in this film were also very good, which is amazing considering their simplicity compared to the “Matrix” movies. There are slow-motion shots, but no impossible kung fu fighting sequences. It’s especially interesting when the film gets into the architecture of certain dreams, and impossible sequences are filmed in a way I’ve never seen other than in drawings.
However, the special effects would mean nothing if the story wasn’t good. For this reason, even something as simple as a spinning top holds your attention in a way you would never think it would when seeing it in this film. The credit here can be given to writer and director Christopher Nolan, who has not made a bad film yet. There are many twists and turns in this film, but Nolan never loses his focus in the process of telling the story. If Nolan does not get nominated for Best Director and/or Best Original Screenplay next Oscar season, there is something terribly wrong with the Academy.
That being said, there was still a lot about this film I still don’t get, and may require multiple viewings to better understand. However, some of the best films I’ve seen are confusing at first. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) is a film I’ve seen a couple of times, and still don’t understand completely. It still has a major following, though, as I’m positive this movie will. It’s an incredibly entertaining movie, but it also makes you think and continues to do so after you leave the theater.