Most budding directors would kill for the popularity and success that Christopher Nolan’s films generate. What makes this even more impressive is that his latest offering is only his tenth produced with him in the director’s seat. This mixed with the fact that Inception currently sits in third place on IMDB’s top 250 despite being out less than a fortnight makes Nolan’s prowess nigh unbelievable.
Taking all the brilliance of Nolan’s previous films (the dark ominous tones from the Batman films, the psychological inventiveness of Memento) it places them in a world where dreams and reality blur. Leonardo Dicaprio’s Cobb provides a believably flawed protagonist whose profession it is to extract ideas from people’s dreams for undisclosed fees. All this changes when a job offer is proposed that could reunite him with his children; only trouble is is that the job focuses on inputting (via a process known as inception) an idea into the brain of the heir of a large company. The story that unfolds focuses on the attempts of Cobb’s team to carry out their mission with some very impressive special effects along the way whilst bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘inside job’.
The complex plot provides a refreshing change to the onslaught of mundane action films and blockbusters that infiltrate cinemas every summer. The slight loopholes and continuity goofs that litter the film are for once acceptable as most of the film is set in continually changing dream worlds where nothing is static and everything is liable to modification depending on the direction of the dreamer’s thoughts.
While watching the film you feel that you are in fact witnessing something truly awesome thanks to some impressive uses of the recent advancements in special effects. Described as being The Matrix meets 007 by the likes of Empire and Rolling Stone, Inception feels both ground-breaking and exhilarating. The fact that the film denies convention by choosing not to deploy a jaw-dropping twist alá Sixth Sense but still manages to provide both a thought-provoking and resilient ending only makes the term masterpiece more fitting.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines in his sidekick role as Arthur whilst Nolan-favourites Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy are at their usual best even if both lack screen time. The willingness of Murphy’s character Fischer to accept all that Cobb tells him is slightly convenient but believable nonetheless. Cobb himself builds unusually strong relationships in the film; his relationship with his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), although clearly one of infatuation, never seems unhealthy whilst his bond with Ariadne (Ellen Page) is both very personal and extremely solid from the off.
Thanks to the films’ complexity most showings of the film come with a free headache and a want to evaluate your own dream experiences, but Inception is a film that mustn’t be missed.
Best bit; It’s a toss up between the hotel scenes where Arthur has to carry out some pretty difficult procedures in zero gravity or the chance to watch what could possibly be the longest recorded fall of a van from a bridge.
Best performance; Tom Hardy’s Eames is likeable but it is Dicaprio’s Cobb who steals the show, proving that Dicaprio is perhaps at the top of his game.
Best line; ‘Wait, whose subconscious are we going through, exactly?’ (Thankfully proving that the audience is not always alone in being slightly lost during the film).