Review - Inception

Inception (2010), PG-13, 148 minutes - Inception is the latest drama/mystery/thriller from the mind of Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Memento) and deals primarily with security and the dream state of the human mind.

The basis for Inception is that our subconscious is more susceptible in a dream state than if we are awake. The idea being that if someone could enter your dreams that they could extract information from you that you wouldn't normally give up willingly. This is where Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his team (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao) come in. Cobb, according to himself, is the best there is at extraction (entering the minds of others and stealing thoughts and ideas). He is hired by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to plant an idea into Robert Fischer, Jr's (Cillian Murphy) head. This is known as inception. Cobb's associate Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) says that it's impossible but Cobb claims to have done it before and accepts the job after hearing what Saito offers as payment. Saito claims that he can clear Cobb's criminal record in the US so that he can return home and be with his children again (Cobb is a fugitive for a crime we learn about later in the film).

There are varying levels of complexity in dreams in the world of Inception. And that is where the art and skill of extraction/inception lies. Not only are Cobb and his team entering someone else's dream, they are creating the landscape of the dream for the dreamer. It is explained as creating a maze that the dreamer's subconscious fills with 'constructs', otherwise known as how the dreamer sees themselves or others that they know interacting within that maze. For more complex jobs Cobb relies on layering dreams within dreams. As more layers are added to a dream, the rate at which time passes slows down. 5 minutes in the real world may be an hour in the first level of a dream state, and so on.

The amazing thing about Inception is how Christopher Nolan structures the film so that you can follow what is happening without being completely lost. This is quite a feat considering the layering of dreams that is required for Cobb and his team to carry out their job. As they do, we learn more about Cobb's history and family - Mal (Marion Cotillard), his wife and Miles (Michael Caine), who taught Cobb how to navigate the human mind.

I've tried to explain the basics behind Inception without getting into too many specifics about the plot in an attempt to stay relatively spoiler-free. I can say this: Inception will leave you thinking quite a bit about what you just saw. It will also most likely leave you with the feeling that you need to watch it again. I know that's how I felt when I walked out of the theater. The ideas behind it are intriguing and the visuals are excellent. It is, in my opinion, the best movie of the summer thus far. It is definitely a must see.


  1. I have now seen Inception three times in the last week. That's right, three. Twice on my own because while I thought I followed it well the first time through, I was sure that I had missed some things and once tonight with a friend because they had not seen it yet.

    It is possible to follow the various levels of dream states with just one viewing. What multiple viewing gives you is a better understanding of just what is going on in one level means in another. The 'kicks' and how they are used makes much more sense upon repeat viewing.

    I also picked up on a line from DiCaprio and Caine's initial conversation that I think ties directly to the ending - or should I say the possible ending? It may or may not be intended that way, but it definitely provides one of many 'what about this?' scenarios that are bound to come up in conversation over this film.

    I may not have given Inception enough credit in my original post. It's not just the best movie of the summer or of the year 2010, it's one of the best over the last few years (both psychologically and visually). Gordon-Levitt's shifting gravity fight sequence is easily the coolest visual since The Matrix.

    If you haven't seen it, make sure you do. See it in the theater, don't wait to rent it. After 3 viewing's I could sit down and watch it again. I'd love to see how it looks on an IMAX screen. Too bad we don't have one here around the 'noke.


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