Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Lukas Haas and Michael Caine
"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."
The technology that allows you to enter a person’s subconscious is been used to infiltrate people dreams to steal important information. This new version of industrial espionage has made extractors the new spies of the modern world. These individuals can find anything that you have ever thought about and give that information to your rival and no one does this better than Dominic Cobb (DiCaprio). When his latest mark Saito (Watanabe), makes him an offer he can’t refuse, he assembles a team to break into Robert Fischer, Jr.’s (Murphy) dreams but instead of taking information, Cobb is tasked with implanting an idea into his mind, a techniques called inception.
With a body of work that just keeps getting better and better, the release of a film by Christopher Nolan is becoming an event and ‘Inception’ is the definition of an event movie.
British director Christopher Nolan has relatively quickly become one of Hollywood’s most influential filmmakers. After producing two short films, ‘Doodlebug’ and ‘The Following’, Nolan’s first motion picture in 2000, ‘Memento’ brought him to the attention of critics and the film going public, The story of a man with short term memory loss trying to discover what happened to him gained him plenty of critical acclaim and the film became an instant indie classic, drawing attention from both actors and fellow directors alike. His second film ‘Insomnia’ didn’t quite live up to the expectations of his motion picture debut but the story of a detective hunting a serial killer in Alaska during a time when the sun never sets did attract Robin Williams and Al Pacino to the project. On the back of this success, Warner Bros. and DC Comics hired him to oversee the reboot of the flagging ‘Batman’ franchise, a film series that had been all but murdered by the awful ‘Batman & Robin’. The resulting ‘Batman Begins’ and its uber-successful sequel ‘The Dark Knight’ made Nolan and his creative team part of an exclusive club of box office billionaires as combined ticket sales for both film headed towards the $2 billion mark. Throw in the turn of the century rival magician story ‘The Prestige’ in between his two Batman adventures and you have a filmmaker who has earner the right to make anything he wanted and he did just that with ‘Inception’.
As writer and director for ‘Inception’, Christopher Nolan has great a piece of science fiction that is as intelligent as it is action packed. The premise is simple but the execution is exquisite. Technology has been created that will let people share a dream but it will also allow you to invade the subconscious of others. This has created a whole new aspect to corporate espionage, as companies pay ‘extractors’ to enter the dreams of their competitors and steal valuable company secrets and for this story, Dominic Cobb is the best around. As the energy industry continues to look for a solution to the world’s power needs, two giants of the sector battle it out for supremacy. Mr. Saito works for one of those companies, Cobol and after surviving an extraction by Cobb’s team with his secrets intact, Saito hires Cobb for a very different job. The head of Cobol’s nearest rival is on the verge of becoming the largest energy company in the world but their owner Maurice Fischer is on the verge of death and the company will pass into the hands of his forward thinking son Robert. Saito wants Cobb to do something that has never worked. Instead of extracting something from Fischer’s mind he wants to use a technique called inception, to plant an idea into young idealist’s mind. This, of course, is very dangerous as the idea would have to be planted deep within the target’s mind, meaning dreams within dreams, within dreams, so deep that Fischer would think that the idea was his own. This premise sounds complicated and because of this you cannot take your eyes away from the film for its entire duration but your concentration will be rewarded with what is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and stunning story that will stay with you for a long time.
Every actor wants to work with a filmmaker of the caliber of Christopher Nolan and for ‘Inception’ he has gathered together a mix of big name and established character actors to make an ensemble cast that drives the movie. Leading the line is Leonardo DiCaprio. Having worked with Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott, Nolan takes the actor into a science fiction world that is driven by, for DiCaprio’s Cobb character, a great loss. A highly trained, espionage agent of sorts, Cobb is the best extractor in the business but his own subconscious is invading the target’s dream and his emotional response is jeopardising the job. This is a diverse role for DiCaprio and on that allows him to showcase his considerable talents once again.
Each extractor needs a team and Cobb’s is mixture of experience and youthful exuberance. Cobb’s point man is Arthur, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This is an all out action role for Gordon-Levitt, a far cry from his ‘Third Rock from the Sun’ and ‘(500) Days of Summer’ roles but one that shows he is an actor of great talent. Ellen Page is Ariadne, the new Architect of the dreamscape and the extremely talented young actress acts as Cobb’s conscious and she knows what he is struggling with. Up and coming British actor Tom Hardy is the forger Eames, a man that can become anyone within the dream. Dileep Rao is the chemist Yusuf, who keeps the team in the dreamscape. Oscar winner Marion Cotillard is Mal, a shadowy figure from Cobb’s subconscious to can jeopardise the job. Throw in Nolan stalwarts Cillian Murphy as the Mark , Robert Fischer, Ken Watanabe as the tourist Saito, Sir Michael Caine as Cobb’s old teacher and mix in Pete Postlethwaite, Lucas Haas and Tom Berenger and you have one hell of a cast.
With the story and the cast in place, realising the world of the dream is tantamount to the success of the film. Nolan and his creative team have produced something that will live long in the memory and will leave you in trying to figure out how that achieved it. The freedom of an architect to create within the dream is stunningly realised, with gravity and the laws of physics not applying in the world of the dream, the layers of dreamscapes that are created are so imaginative and each have a large about of action take place in them. From jaw dropping zero gravity fight sequences, to the collapsing dreamscapes and the raid on the mountain top clinic, each sequence is more spectacular that the last.
‘Inception’ is pure cinema and proves again that Christopher Nolan is one of the most creative filmmakers working in the industry today. While this may be a movie that you have to give your whole attention to for entire duration, the investment is more than worth while as this is one of the most inventive pieces of big budget science fiction to come along in a very long time.
The Dark Knight
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