Friday, 16 July 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger, Dileep Rao and Michael Caine
Running Time: 148 minutes
Genre: Science-fiction, action, thriller, crime, heist
Summary: Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) and his team specialise in "Extraction", a technique in which they enter and influence a subject's dreams in order to steal their secrets. However, Cobb is becoming an increasing liability to his team on these missions due to the fact that he is unable to keep himself from drawing in his memories of his dead wife, Mal (Cotillard), into the dreamscapes. The team are employed by a mysterious businessman named Saito (Watanabe) to utilise a highly risky technique called "Inception" in which instead of extracting someone's secrets, they implant an idea in their minds through entering their dreams. Their target is Robert Fischer Jr. (Murphy), the heir to a vast business empire which Saito wants brought down. Among Cobb's team is new member Ariadne (Page), an architecture student whose job is to design the dreamscape itself, and who begins to have increasing doubts about Cobb's fragile mental state.
Opinions: This film is without a doubt the most interesting film that is likely to have a mainstream release this summer. For one thing, it is one of the few big releases to be based on an original script, rather than be either a remake, a sequel or an adaptation. The screenplay, which Nolan originally envisioned as a horror movie (presumably as a kind of high-brow Nightmare on Elm Street), had been developed over ten years. The film is a pretty complex story but, contrary to some reports, it's pretty easy to understand if you pay attention to it. The film itself comes across as a blend of Solaris (1972) and the best brain-melting work of Philip K. Dick. The movie truly has a fascinating central premise the idea that dreams can be entered and controlled and the idea that they could influence, for better or worse, the dreamer's waking life. However this is more than a film of ideas, because it is filled with spectacular special effects and action, as well as more exotic, globe-trotting locations than an average James Bond film. The movie features some impressive performances from a talented cast. DiCaprio does some really great work in the lead. Ellen Page is also impressive as the team's newest member bringing some depth and heart to a role that could very easily have been just the audience exposition character (basically just there so that characters could explain things to her and the audience). It's fair to say that the movie won't appeal to everyone and some viewers may find themselves lost in Nolan's labyrinth. There is very little humour in the film, as well as the problem that, since so much of the film takes place in dreams, it sometimes doesn't feel as if the characters are in real danger.
However, this film is an intriguing, action-packed science-fiction thriller which has real brains and heart. Soemthing that is all too rare and something that should be celebrated.