Nolan's Dream Team
Christopher Nolan's "Inception" is too clever by half, in fact it is frustratingly clever because just when you think you've got it sussed and think you know which dream with in a dream you are in it friggin' looses you again. It gets to the point that you give up on trying to keep on top of which level of dream you are watching and just watch to be entertained, accepting that you are going to watch it again just to try and fathom it out. Not that watching "Inception" is a bad thing as it is like "The Matrix" but on steroids and without all the pseudo religious aspect. And as such Christopher Nolan has created a movie which feels complete, it has action, drama, ingenuity and a storyline which keeps you interested, it even sneaks in some humour as well and in years to come I am sure "Inception" will still be featuring on top 100 movie lists having stood the test of time.
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed) is an expert thief, one who is so in demand that he has to keep on the move. But then Cobb is no ordinary criminal as with his team he can go into people's dreams and extract information without them ever knowing. Approached by Saito (Ken Watanabe - Batman Begins), a rich Asian business man, for a new job Cobb is initially reluctant because rather than stealing something from someone's dreams Saito wants him to plant an idea, a dangerous thing to do as it requires going deeper into the dream world than normal and could leave him or any of his team in a state of limbo.
Now here is one of the greatest ironies of "Inception" and that it's not a complex idea, you have a group of people who have the ability to enter and create dreams where they can gain information and in this case also plant a seed of a thought. That is basically the basis to "Inception" but this simple idea is turned into an ingenious movie because of the level of detail and subplots. And most importantly you are never 100% sure whether the scene you are watching is real life, in a dream or a dream within a dream and it is this aspect, the having to try and keep on top of what is real and a dream which helps to make "Inception" such a good movie. Now I will admit the first time around I got to a point where I gave up on trying to keep on top of what dream or reality I was in and even after a 2nd watch I'm still not entirely sure if I did get it all fathomed out, but it is clever because you want to watch again to work it all out.
But a clever series of scenes and twists are not enough to make for a good movie and the actual storyline of Cobb and his team being employed to plant a seed of a thought is just as good. It allows for some great development as we learn all about the dream world and how Cobb employs a dream architect to construct the dream landscapes as well as other crucial people who play a part in basically pulling off a reverse heist. And on top of that you have back story to Cobb and his wife and why he's always on the move, always on edge and slightly haunted. Combined with the whole ambiguity of whether you are watching real life or fantasy and the appearance of Cobb's wife in dreams makes it not so much confusing but intriguing. And that is the pulling power of "Inception" it is so intriguing, it's like a puzzle that you have to solve.
Earlier I said that "Inception" was like "The Matrix" but on steroids and it's no word of a lie. In a way they share a similar idea between what is real and what is fantasy but "Inception" takes that idea one step further with the dream within a dream like concept. But it is also visually that "Inception" is like "The Matrix" on steroids and the various action scenes are just stunning, from car chases to big guns, combining fact pace and slow motion across the various layers of the dream world, its eye catching. So is the ingenuity of the CGI landscapes and there is one scene after another which is jaw dropping in their brilliance. From the scene where Cobb is talking to Ariadne outside a cafe as he shows how far you can take a dream with explosions and falling rocks through to Ariadne basically flipping a town on top of itself. To put it simply there is not one action scene which isn't memorable and not a single one is superfluous as they all link into the multi layered, multi dimensional storyline.
What does that leave well it leaves the acting which just like everything else is spot on from Leonardo DiCaprio making Cobb a conflicted character plagued by his wife in his dreams through to Cillian Murphy delivering an equally brilliant and restrained performance as Robert Fischer, the target. The nicest thing is that whilst DiCaprio is very much the star of "Inception" the rest of the cast which impressively features such actors as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine to name but a handful all contribute to create this ingenious movie which keeps you on your toes. And rather strangely whilst the only character we really get to know any back story on is Cobb we still somehow seem to warm to all the others without knowing too much about them.
What this all boils down to is that with "Inception" Christopher Nolan has created one of the best movies of the last few decades, delivering a movie so well rounded and complete that it leaves so many others in it's wake. From the ingenuity of the multiple dream levels through to the stunning effects it just draws you in to what is happening, making you want to work out what is what yet still delivering bucket loads of entertainment through the action and effects. To put is simply "Inception" is the sort of movie you can watch again and again and each time it reveals something new.