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4/5 Stars


Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) wants nothing more than to return home to his two young children. But he can't. A Japanese mogul, Saito (Ken Watanabe), hires Cobb, who is skilled in the art of extracting information from people by entering their subconscious,to take on a job and go back home once it's over. But Saito wants Cobb to go one step further and attempt what many in their field thought impossible – Inception.


I really do not want to tell you anymore about Inception – what it is, how it is achieved, and the part it plays in the movie for which it was named. Beyond the unconnected dots presented by the trailer, I knew very little about Inception's plot – it was the best decision I could have made – and incidentally, was how director Christopher Nolan intended audiences to approach his twisted thriller. The surprises and visual tricks will only hit you that much harder.

In every way, Inception is a movie to be experienced. It touches on just about everything about the movies that makes us devote so much of our lives to them – our need for suspense, mystery, romance, action, truth, beauty, and ultimately, closure. Whether it actually hits all those marks successfully is woven seamlessly into Nolan's ambitious, labyrinthine think-piece. But it's less complicated than it seems. It really is.

It's just that Nolan has a uniquely determined ability to tell stories about ordinary human beings with the kind of visual flair and narrative trickery that has made every feature film he has ever produced over his remarkably short career unmissable. He is one of the few directors who has effortlessly marries cerebral, deeply affecting adventure (Memento, The Prestige) with massive box office success (The Dark Knight). Inception is his masterwork - the film he spent 10 years writing and developing and it is a film so intoxicating, so layered, so tightly wound, you'll probably need help unfurling yourself from your seat after the credits have rolled.

The movie works on so many levels, but first and foremost it is a thrilling heist movie with Cobb leading a team of specialists - variously given titles like The Architect, The Forger, The Point Man - each playing a unique part in helping Saito achieve his endgame. Together they enter the subconscious of their target and manipulate the dreamscape, and this is where the fun begins. The subconscious allows Nolan to play with perception and create otherworldly spaces that will dumbfound you. Watch as a Paris street explodes and implodes, folds over itself and stretches into infinity. It's a stunning, technically dazzling feat of filmmaking. And while I have never harboured aspirations of an acting career, I am seething with jealousy that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who plays Cobb's right-hand man, Arthur) had the opportunity to be so badass, and so effortlessly cool - at zero gravity. Just... wow.

As groundbreaking, beautiful and ingeniously exciting as Inception is, I'm loath to give it full marks. Nolan still struggles to give his female characters much to do beyond representing the consciousness or fallibility of our male heroes. Ellen Page gets to play around with the Parisian cityscape, but gets little else to do later on other than nag Cobb. Things get more interesting once we meet Mal (Marion Cotillard), a curious ghost from Cobb's past who threatens to derail the entire job. She's possibly the most intriguing female character Nolan has ever brought to the big screen, and Cotillard's menacing, wide-eyed portrayal will reverberate for a long time.

Despite Inception's elegantly complicated film structure, Nolan is not the type of director who sets out to alienate and confuse his audience. He's with you every step of the way, playing the odd trick on you, but more than any other director working today, he takes great care to make that journey as rewarding and entertaining as he possibly can. You would be insane not to surrender yourself to this experience.

This could be the movie of your dreams.


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