PLOT: Hmm, where to begin. A thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) assembles a crew to help him pull off an almost unthinkable "heist." Instead of stealing secrets from people's dreams, he's interested in planting an idea in someone's mind through their dream. While this job obviously has a financial gain, some may have ulterior motives.
REVIEW:There is a moment about midway through INCEPTION (a bit you’ve no doubt seen in the trailers and TV spots) where Tom Hardy, as the charming “imposter” Eames, sidles up to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s firing an automatic rifle at an unseen assailant. Eames casually brandishes a grenade launcher and offers a cheeky bit of advice to his partner: “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bit bigger darling.”
It’s perhaps that same bit of advice director Christopher Nolan applied while crafting his follow-up to the wildly successful THE DARK KNIGHT. While THE DARK KNIGHT was the #1 film of 2008 and a pop-culture phenomenon, with INCEPTION, Nolan has truly created his magnum opus; an achievement of such grandeur, it’s remarkable a film of this scale was made in this day and age.
The film stars DiCaprio, in a career-best performance, as Dom Cobb, a white-collar thief who specializes in the art of extraction, a futuristic technique that allows him to enter a person’s dreams and remove even their darkest secrets. But his latest assignment is the difficult task of inception; a task some feel is impossible. Inception involves planting an idea in someone’s mind while making it appear as if it germinated organically.
It’s tempting to compare this film to some amalgam of THE MATRIX, James Bond movies, THE STING and the 1984 thriller DREAMSCAPE, and while there are certainly similarities, INCEPTION defies comparison to live as a movie all its own.
Intelligent without being impenetrable, INCEPTION is like few films that come before it. The film has no shortage of thrilling action sequences yet none feel arbitrary. The action, for once, serves the story instead of the other way around. But this doesn’t mean that the visuals are anything short of breathtaking. The Joseph Gordon-Levitt “spinning room” fight sequence that was hinted at in the very first teaser, is a stunner. I was having so much fun at this point, I was literally giggling to myself. There’s a number of other larger action set pieces I’d hate to give away here but each packs as much punch as anything in THE A-TEAM while bringing with us closer to an emotionally satisfying climax.
There are only a handful of directors working today who would be able to get a film as ambitious as INCEPTION made and Nolan has used his DARK KNIGHT clout wisely. Instead of a misguided passion project (like, for example, last summer’s FUNNY PEOPLE), Nolan stayed inside his comfort zone (taut, smart thrillers) while at the same time expanding the zone exponentially.
You’ll notice I’ve tried to steer far clear of getting into plot specifics and that most certainly is by design. I was lucky enough to see INCEPTION early enough where I avoided a large deal of the pre-release spoilers and, if it’s at all possible, I urge you to do the same. The joy is in the discovery; the inception, if you will.
At 148 minutes, INCEPTION is hardly a quick film but it moves with such speed and efficiency that you never “feel” the length. Even when it’s over, the movie stays with you, begging for conversation, discussion, debate and, eventually, another viewing. I’m sure it’ll even pop up in your dreams. Nothing wrong with that. We should all be dreaming a little bit bigger.