“Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.”
This movie is 2 hours and 28 minutes long and was directed by Christopher Nolan. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine, and Lukas Haas.
Before I attempt to explain some of the complexities of this movie, I must say how much I enjoyed Inception. Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) managed to create an engrossing piece of work here, where there's a quality plot and characters along with terrific special effects. (Pay attention Michael Bay!)
Also, before the you the rest of this, I must give a SPOILER ALERT. There are several thoughout the review.
Basic plot summary: The basic story involves the concept of entering people's dreams to extract information. A company known as Cobal provides this service with specialized extractors, who are usually called upon to find secrets about other companies through exploring an unknowing person's subconscious. Cobb (DiCaprio) is considered the best at this, although his personal life has recently changed drastically for the worse because his wife killed herself and police in America believe he actually murdered her. So he works primarily in Europe, unable to go home to be with his two children in the United States, who he misses greatly. A powerful businessman named Saito (Watanabe) offers Cobb a special payment (his record wiped clean in America) if Cobb and his team can perform a major task: He wants them to plant an idea in a man's head about his company, which is monopolizing the same thing Saito's company does, and get him to break up his empire into smaller pieces so that Saito's company can continue to be successful.
Planting an idea in someone's subconscious is called inception, and according to the movie's world it is an extremely difficult task to perform without the individual being aware that someone else put it into his mind. Cobb takes "a leap of faith" and accepts Saito's offer, knowing both the difficulty of the task and the possibility that Saito won't follow through on his word. He assembles a team, which must include an architect (someone to design the layout of the dream), a forger (one with a keen skill in conning), a special chemist (someone who knows how to use particularly heavy sedatives since they have to go unusually deep into the mark's mind), and a few others who can provide needed help with the project.
Review: Although the film moves pretty fast when it comes to explaining further details about inception, most people will understand it provided they pay attention. It's definitely a film that requires a viewer to concentrate a little more than one normally has to with most other movies, but is worth the effort to enjoy this unique piece of work. The beauty of the dream worlds Nolan creates is phenominal. Today's special effects capabilities shine throughout the film, where dream worlds can explode if the dreamer panics, Parisian buildings can fold over onto themselves if desired, and visually tricky mazes and loops can appear when needed by the extractors (and implanters).
Concepts get slightly precarious when Cobb's team works to build a dream within a dream, within a dream in order to plant the idea in the mark's head without him realizing it. The deeper you go into the dreams, aspects of time shift and time actually moves along a lot slower to the dreamer. Also, in order to wake up from the deepest dream within a dream you are in, a complicated plan must be created to jar those asleep back into consciousness. Thorny as it is, the film makers manage to pull it off and the attentive viewer stays on the edge of their seat throughout the last third of the movie.
I won't go into much more detail so as not to spoil Inception for those who haven't seen it yet. But there is certainly more involved in dream-invading and more involving Cobb's dead wife- who he feels tremendous guilt about and who appears in the dreams often in order to mess up Cobb's plans while he works.
Notable scenes: Toward the beginning, Cobb is working on a dream extraction and must be jarred awake by dropping the chair he is sleeping in into a bath filled with water. The action is edited in a superb way, where while he is dreaming he watches as huge bursts of water break through the dream world and eventually getting to him, waking him up. This early scene gives a viewer an idea of what they're in for during the rest of the film.
Also, the fight scenes toward the end in which characters are floating through a suspended dream world are terrific. In the first dream, a van holding all of the sleepers ends up rolling over several times, then falling off a bridge; those who are in the deeper dreams see the dream world spinning and feel the loss of gravity as they fall in the first dream. This provides for more gorgeous special effects as the team fights off bad guys in the middle of it all.
In the end, I give this film a well-earned A. I've seen it twice already now, actually, and I haven't gone to see a movie at a theater more than once in years.