Cobb (DiCaprio) invades people's dreams for a living, stealing ideas with the help of his sidekick Arthur (Gordon-Levitt). But a new client (Watanabe) wants him to try inception instead: implanting an idea in the mind of media heir Fischer (Murphy). So Cobb hires a new architect (Page) and two other skilled experts (Hardy and Rao) to create an elaborately layered dreamworld for the reverse heist. The problem is that Cobb's wife (Cotillard) is lurking in this alternate reality and could bring the whole plan crashing down around them.
The fantastical element of the plot (how people can team up to enter someone's dream) is taken as a given from the start with the help of a never-explained gadget, so we don't need to worry about that. We can get on with enjoying the twists and turns of the plot, the outrageous situations and some fantastic effects work that continually challenges our perceptions. As usual, Nolan never lets the visual gimmickry take over the plot, keeping it under control as part of the story, and the result is simply exhilarating.
Even though the plot isn't actually that complex or difficult to follow, it is almost impossible to explain in any detail. The best scene is a fight in a hotel that is tumbling and rolling (for a very clear reason) as Gordon-Levitt grapples with a series of gun-toting goons. But other elements are just as exciting, and the way everything is edited together into an overall action romp is seriously impressive.
The cast is terrific as well. DiCaprio is perhaps a bit cold in the central role as a man haunted by past decisions and actions. But everyone around him resonates strongly, most notably Cotillard. Hardy and Murphy also have their moments to shine in the ensemble, while strong side roles for Caine (as Cobb's father) and Berenger (as Fischer's lawyer) add some weight. And in the end, as themes of regret, grief and redemption swell and undulate, the cast members beautifully draw some multi-layered meaning from the on-screen fun.
Run time: 148 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th July 2010
Box Office USA: $292.6M
Box Office Worldwide: $825.5M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, Syncopy
Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 249 Rotten: 39
IMDB: 8.8 / 10
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenwriter: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur, Ellen Page as Ariadne, Tom Hardy as Eames, Ken Watanabe as Saito, Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer, Marion Cotillard as Mal, Michael Caine as Miles, Dileep Rao as Yusuf, Tom Berenger as Browning, Pete Postlethwaite as Maurice Fischer, Lukas Haas as Nash, Talulah Riley as Blonde
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