Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, and Marion Cotillard
Directed by Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout
Appropriate for ages 15+
Leonardo DiCaprio is Cobb, a techno-pirate who leads a team of thieves whose job it is to steal ideas from people’s heads. When a job goes horribly wrong for him, the target hires him to plant an idea, called an inception, in a futuristic game of corporate espionage. In order to make this work, the team must go dream inside a dream inside a dream, making it an extremely dangerous task to undertake. To make matters worse, Cobb’s past has the ability to destroy the mission like a dream immune system.
If there’s one thing this film has going for it is certainly novelty. It’s original in every sense of the word. Then again, Nolan excels at that which is one of the reasons he has such a rabid fan base. That being said, it’s so original it’s confusing – in a good way. And I’m not saying I left the theater confused. He wouldn’t allow that. Instead, he had to throw in so much exposition to keep this from happening that it got in the film’s way. This is a film that should take two or three viewings to fully comprehend, rather than walking away happy in one. That would have been okay with his fans as well too since they would have felt that much more intelligent once they got it. His film Memento, which I still consider to be his best, was like that. But instead there was just too much unnecessary rambling and even an extra character that could have been avoided, in order to keep the audience feeling comfortably smart.
So is this film the brilliant masterpiece that all of the fan boys are proclaiming? Not really. It’s good, but in my opinion it’s not even the best in the ground-breaking special effects sci-fi dream genre (I might have just made that genre up, but there are a few films that meet the requirements). I had much more fun watching The Matrix (not the sequels) or Total Recall and think that the stories in these films are just as complex yet more rewarding than Inception. I realize that neither of those films can boast this amazing cast. It’s hard to compare Arnold and Keanu to Leonardo in the acting arena. But for some reason those films were simply more entertaining. And maybe that’s the key word: entertaining. I didn’t have that much fun watching this film. I definitely have admiration for it, but take my breath away it did not. I didn’t really like the characters that much and while I was cheering for Leo to succeed, I was still not certain that what I was seeing was real or if it really mattered. The movie was clever as all get out, and intellectually stimulating, but aside from a moment at the end, it failed to capture my heart. Maybe that is something that happens the second time you see it. B+