Christopher Nolan’s Inception was not as confusing as some people,

including yours’ truly, had thought. My initial fears of walking out of the theater dazed

and confused were, thank God, quickly abated. My anticipation had been somewhat mod-

erate from the start because Nolan was being so tight lipped about the plot. Now that I’ve

seen it (only once), I can breathe a huge sigh of relief that this thriller from the director of

The Dark Knight is really straightforward, not convoluted. You just have to keep up with

the “dream” levels.

That being said,  Nolan chose an array of talent to bring this ten year ges-

tating project (he first pitched it to Warner Bros. in 2002) to life on the big screen- and

thankfully, not in 3d. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the lead followed by G.I. Joes’ Joseph

Gordon-Levitt, Japanese film star Ken Watanabe, Juno’s irrepressible Ellen Page, British

actor Tom Hardy, veteran Tom Berenger and Drag me to hell’s Dileep Rao. The team

concept is played up for all it’s worth simply because the story demands it.

The pic combines Matrix tones with espionage attitudes. DiCaprio plays

security specialist Dom Cobb, a man who possesses the unique ability to steal a person’s

secrets and ideas via their dreams. Only instead of a huge needle plugged in at the base of

the skull, intravenous tubes are attached to the subjects. Unfortunately, the ability has

made him an international fugitive; you discover why and what’s at stake later. But one

last high profile job could set him free, if he can perform what the film’s title suggests.

Instead of stealing an idea, he must insert one. And naturally, he can’t perform this task

alone, his team consisting of  hand chosen specialists who are crucial to the success of

this “mission.”

If you have seen any of the trailers for Inception, don’t be unnerved by some of

the unusual sequences. Despite it’s prolonged running time, Nolan has it under control

by cleverly using the dialogue itself to guide you through it. Leo and crew constantly ex-

plain what their doing, how their doing it and still manage to radiate their disparate per-

sonalities. It’s literally an orientation process from start to finish.

Id’ be horribly neglectful if I didn’t mention that Michael Caine, academy award

winner and even more seasoned veteran than Berenger,  is an essential albeit transient,

part of this process. He plays Miles, a sort of mentor who Dom consults before he sets

out on this last job and wholeheartedly dominates every scene he’s in. You automatically

feel that Nolan cheated you by not giving Caine a bigger role.

Inception does rest entirely on the shoulders of DiCaprio. His Dom Cobb is a

troubled man with a tragic secret which ironically, makes him the greatest threat to de-

railing what he must do. Simultaneously, he must keep everyone else focused as they

weave their way through dreams and dreams within dreams etc. That’s not easy when you have highly personal baggage.

While all of Cobb’s players are essential to him, Ariadne, played by the up and

coming Ellen Page, is probably the most vital. She is the architect, the one who creates

the “dream” environments in which the crew operates. Page as she did in Hard Candy,

rises to the occasion of intensity as Inception moves towards it’s climax. She wants

everyone to make it out of her “creation” alive.

The true creator of course is production designer Guy Dyas whose choice of ma-

jestic locations throughout the UK, Canada and France gave the special f/x wizards plenty

of room to work their magic. Even the movie Dark City did not have an entire section

fold in on itself.

We all probably take dreaming for granted because we do it while we’re sleep-

ing, with no adverse consequences. After all, their not real. But Nolan approaches the

premise from such a unique perspective that, despite some parts in the movie that drag,

will have you reflecting long after Inception is over.