Inception planted an idea in my mind… that this is one of the greatest films of 2010! Director Christopher Nolan (The Prestiege, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) has outdone himself with his newest summer action heist thriller starring Leonardo diCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page.
Dom Cobb (diCaprio) is a corporate espionage theif who extracts valuable information from victims through lucid dreaming. When wealthy business man Saito (Ken Wantanabe) offers Cobb a chance to clear his legal charges in America by performing ‘inception,’ he and his partner Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) assemble a team consisting of archetect Ariadne (Page), who creates labryths and landscapes for the dreamer, identifty forger Eames (Tom Hardy), who can change his appearence in a dream at will to influence the dreamer, and chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao), who creates sedatives to keep the dreamer asleep and sustained while dreaming. They are to enter the mind of Saito’s business nemesis Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphey) and inspire him to break up his father’s corporate empire.
As they prepare, Ariadne discovers that Cobb is haunted from a dark past and terrible guilt when she shares a dream with him, which turns out to be a collection of memories of moments which he regrets. She learns that his deceased wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) committed suicide after becoming paranoid about her assumed fake reality, and that Cobb was forced to abandon his children and flee the country in fear of charges of responsibility of her murder. Because she is the only one on the team aware of his inner demons that may interfere with the job, Cobb allows Ariadne to accompany him and the rest of the team durring the dream. Arthur also explains the use totems; small, unique objects that are personal to a dreamer to maintain one’s perception of differenciating reality from dreams, and keeping sanity.
After his father’s death, Fischer transports the body from Sydney to Los Angelas, where the team makes their move. Cobb sedates Fischer, and him and the rest of the team enter his three-level shared dream. A point man is to stay on each level while the others continue down into Fischer’s subconscious. On the first level, however, after abducting Fischer, the team is attacked by military projections, who are trained to hunt extractors. Saito is shot and suffers from mortal wounds, and fear arises when it is discovered that in the event of his death, he will not return to reality in an awake, but instead will fall into a state of limbo due to the form of sedation. The military projections draw near, so hiding until their time runs out no longer becomes an option. Instead, they continue with the plan. *Continue reading to see the second half of the plot.*
In percieved thug-captivity, Fischer talks with Eames under the appearence of kidnapped Peter Browning, his godfather, and Eames suggests he reconsider Fischer’s opinion of his father’s will. In the second level, Cobb convinces Robert he is one of the specialy trained projections in war against a potential extracter appearent, and has him join the team. Eames again reprises his role as Browning and admitts to being the extractor under projection-captivity. The team descend into a thrid level of ‘Browning’s’ dream in attempt to find what Browning was trying to extract. Saito is no longer sustainable, and dies from his gun shot wounds. Cobb’s projection of Mal also kills Fischer, making matters worse. In a final attempt, Cobb and Ariadne enter into the limbo, where everything is on the line.
Cobb confesses that he was responsible for Mal’s death; that he was successful in doing inception on her after they found themselves in limbo in previous years. Mal had become accustomed to the new world; had forgotten she was dreaming, and that it was not reality. To convince her she was wrong, he planted an idea in her head, that their world was not real, and that they had to kill themselves in order to wake up from it. After allowing themselves to be run over by a train, they awoke, thrown back into their young bodies. However, Mal was not the same. She continued to believe that she was not in reality, but dreaming instead. This led to her suicide, and tragic events followed. Cobb is confident to find Saito and rescue him, while Eames defibrillates Fischer to lead him into a large safe, where Eames, portraying Maurice Fischer in his death bed, tells him that he was disappointed… that Robert tried to be like him.
The rest of the team ride ‘kicks’ (sudden sensations in dreams that allow the dreamer to awake) back up to the levels and awake. Fischer agrees to break up his father’s empire, believing that he was not meant for such trade. Meanwhile, Saito, now very old and frail, finds Cobb, who reminds him of reality, and together help each other awake from limbo. After the plane lands, Saito respects the arrangment and get’s Cobb through customs. He and his father (Michael Caine) head home, and as Cobb tests his totem (a top that does not stop spinning in dreams), but is distracted by seeing his children outside before realizing the final result of the totem.
I saw Inception on it’s opening night and was blown away by the top-notch performences given by the cast. Nolan has once again chosen a spectacular group of actors who have played each of the roles perfectly. Leonardo diCaprio is better than ever as he executes an outstanding performance as a distraught, disturbed, and determined husband and father, working day and night to get back to his family. Marion Cotillard did an excellent job as his once wife, who suffered from a devistating paranoia that led to a heartbreaking death. She chills the audience whenever she is on screen with her frightening personality and unexpected actions. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a trustworthy sidekick to Cobb and is a likable, connectable character with the audience. He, along with Ellen Page, get deep into the roots of their roles and create believable and authentic presentations. I was surprised to see Page’s casting, but was impressed by her ability to go beyond comedy and deliver a strong performance. I was very pleased to see Cillian Murphey back collaborating with Nolan. He once again proves to be an exceptional actor as he portrays the heir to a corporate empire, dealing with powerful personal matters and feelings. And not only Murphey, but Ken Wantanabe and Michael Caine return to work with Nolan and wow me with their talent. Very classy actors who are a sheer example of true talent. Bravo. Finally, Dileep Rao and Tom Hardy, who I was previously unfamilier with, have given me a very good first impression with their acting. I hope to see them again in future films, for they truely were brilliant and added to the rest of the wonderful cast.
Not only was the acting great, but perfectly executed into the story line as well, which was both clever and innovative. It was good to see the return of the famous cinematic concepts of reality-perception; that the world around us might not be real. Nolan explained his inspiration derived from the era of movies when you had The Matrix and Dark City and The Thirteenth Floor, and to a certain extent, his own Memento. And despite sharing the same principle, Inception has been noted to be a completely unique and new film with nothing quite like it. And I second that. You don’t come across a film that was so well thought-through and so satisfyingly-complex as this was. Yes, it took me a few more trips to the theater to fully wrap my mind around it and understand what had just happened, but I think that’s exactly what was trying to be accomplished. This film goes beyond the hollywood cliches and common elements and brings out a new intellectual treat that is appealing for both the mind and for the eyes. From explosions to gunfire to car chases, this film has it all. And the special effects do not disappoint. The CGI technolagy being used shaped completely authentic and real-looking shots and scenes that are simply eye candy, to say the least.
I would tell you to go and see this movie in theaters, but sadly that is no longer available. If you have not yet had a chance to see it, I highly recommend renting it, or better yet, purchasing it. It’s an excellent movie that has something for everyone (except for younger children); it’s an action thriller, it’s a sci-fi, it’s a love story, it’s a drama, and it’s a visually-appealing, fast-paced adventure that keeps you on your toes its full two and a half hours. I recomment this to anyone over twelve or thirteen, because it is without a doubt one of the best films of 2010.