When Inception crashed into theatres, I rushed to see it and to this day, it’s still one of the best films I’ve seen at the cinema. And it was literally the only thing I wanted to talk about for at least a week after watching it.
An Ingenious Action Thriller
With its quality action and a complex plot that demands unravelling, Inception is a must-see. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a man with the coolest job in the world. He’s an extractor and a very skilled one. He steals secrets and valuable information by infiltrating people’s dreams.
Cobb is hired by a wealthy businessman named Saito (Watanbe), to perform “Inception”. This means Cobb must plant an idea into the subconscious mind of a target. He is asked to assemble a team to complete his mission and in return, should he succeed, Cobb will be given the ultimate reward – he’ll be able to return home and be a father again, to the children he was banished from seeing.
Inception features some seriously mesmerising action. It entertains great world-building and unique storytelling. I was fascinated by how deeply the film dives into the idea of the subconscious mind. My own mind was blown the first time I saw Inception, and I thought it was genuinely remarkable how well thought-out the film is. It’s complicated no doubt and I imagine the actors must have been well confused when they first read the script.
Dream Within A Dream
The film presents a world where dream sharing exists. It gets the viewer to think about the instability of reality and the subconscious. Is reality what you can see, or is it what you feel and believe? We follow Cobb as he explores these questions, assembling his team of extractors to carry out their greatest and most dangerous mission. Their target is Robert Fischer (Murphy), the heir to a business empire and who lives in the shadow of his powerful father.
As always, there is no “I” in team. While DiCaprio takes centre stage, the supporting cast are hugely enjoyable to watch, ensuring for constant entertainment throughout. They all fit seamlessly into their roles. The architect, Ariadne (Page) and Cobb’s loyal side-kick assistant, Arthur (Gordon-Levitt), as well as the British agent Eames (Hardy), all accompany Cobb on his interior mission. Like Cobb, each of these characters have their own “totem”, which allows them to differentiate between reality and the dream world.
Inception is another example of Nolan’s ability to create both an intelligent and thought-provoking film. He also includes many of his trademark themes, such as identity, memory, time and reality. I love the fact that ever since Memento (2000), Nolan has been so consistent with his themes and ideas.
Nolan’s other stroke of brilliance was casting DiCaprio. But having said that, what better actor is there to lead a film like this than DiCap anyway? I liked the way DiCaprio’s portrayal of Cobb is less extroverted than most of his other roles. He is still terrific nonetheless and he really makes you buy into the concept of Inception. Also, like the best heroes, DiCaprio’s Cobb has clear motivations, strengths and weaknesses. His whole character arc is intriguing, particularly the issue involving his evasive wife Mal (Cotillard), who continuously interferes with his missions.
If it was not for the bombardment of information the film throws in the audience’s faces, Inception would be a flawless. There is just so much stuff the viewer has to understand. But identifiable characters make it a lot easier to follow. Ariadne is the surrogate audience as she understands things as we do. At one point, she actually says, “Wait, whose subconscious are we going into exactly?” Even Aradne can’t keep up… So, the film demands your full attention, as it is very easy to get lost and miss key details.
Inception is a masterclass film. It’s ferociously entertaining and arguably one of the best films of this decade so far. In my eyes, it’s a technical and visual masterpiece. You’d be a fool to not see it.
Quoted: “Dreams feel real when we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realise something was actually strange.”
Directed and written by: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Run Time: 148 min
Let me know what you thought of Inception in the comment section!