Dominic Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a corporate spy and extractor of secrets from the dreams of businessmen. One last mission will help him return to his children in America, but there’s a catch: this mission involves the inception of an idea into the mind of an heir to a corporate empire. Inceptions are tricky and almost impossible to achieve. “The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.” But Dom also has a shady secret that will either help him achieve the inception or stop him at every turn and possibly send him into limbo, a timeless void where the mind wanders forever. Determined, Cobb assembles a team: an architect, a gunman, a forger, and a chemist. Together, they infiltrate the dreams of their target and try to persuade him to dissolve his father’s empire while Cobb battles his personal demons in the form of his femme fatale wife Mal, portrayed by Marion Cotillard.
Disclaimer here, I’ve watched this film numerous times and I actually bought the Blu-Ray when it first came out. When I first saw it in theatres, I was blown away by the originality and scope of the idea (built and shared dream worlds! dreams within dreams!) and by the visual effects (Paris folded on top of itself! gravity-shifting hallway fights!) The storylines set parallel and apart by the passage of time in the different levels of dreams is, in my opinion, a screenwriting masterstroke by director Christopher Nolan. The score is also indelible: the epic horns, copied by just about every action movie trailer since, and the song “Non, Je Ne Regrette” sung by Edith Piaf (coincidentally, Cotillard won an Oscar for her portrayal of the French songstress in 2007’s La Vie En Rose) played diegetically as the precursor to the awakening kick. And of course, the ensemble cast of actors, many of who appear in other Nolan films such as his Batman trilogy, are pretty great too, especially the scene-stealing Tom Hardy in the role of the forger, Eames. Straight up, Inception is a great sci-fi caper that engages the non-passive viewer to reflect on his or her own dreams and reality.
Rating: 5 out of 5 spinning tops.