Imagine a world where even your dreams can be invaded and your most private ideas stolen. Imagine a technology that lets anyone tag along in that dream and manipulate it in such a way that an idea is born inside your head. This is Christopher Nolan’s Inception. In the tradition of finding newer ways to bring the science fiction genre into more mass appeal similar to the success of The Matrix trilogies, Nolan ventures into the endless possibilities of the human mind with his latest sci-fi heist thriller — one that will either fascinate or confuse.
Despite comparisons to The Matrix, Nolan offers a more interesting and original aspect to alternate reality-based films of the decade by creating a world entirely formed by the human mind, which as the movie implies is capable of anything. The film’s main character is Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a dream extractor off to do one last job in exchange for his freedom in the real world. The job is to have someone’s business rival (Cillian Murphy) destroy his entire enterprise by planting the idea into his mind through a dream. Saito (Ken Watanabe) is the employer who promises Cobb a ticket home if the heist is successfully executed. Cobb, motivated by a chance to reunite with his family, takes up the offer and assembles his team: The Pointman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), The Architect (Ellen Page), The Forger (Tom Hardy) and The Chemist (Dileep Rao). The challenge is that for Inception to work, the target has to be on a very deep dream state that it happens on three levels: A dream within a dream within a dream. This is where an audience can be lost in fascination, or simply confused to say the least.
Fortunately for Inception, the story-telling technique carefully avoids unnecessary confusion and maintains a heightened level of interest for anyone who might be up for the challenge. The stimulation extends itself to the visual aspect of the film, as demonstrated when Ellen Page (The Architect) slowly learns to ‘build’ the atmosphere of Cobb’s dream. This particular scene introduces the audience to the idea that anything is possible – including a Paris skyline folding on top of another.
One of Inception’s appeals is the notable cast led by DiCaprio. In a role reminiscent of his previous project Shutter Island, DiCaprio masterfully delivers his craft – the ability to carry emotions forward in the most subtle yet authentic way. Also worthy of mentioning are former teen actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt (10 Things I Hate About You) and Ellen Page (Juno). Both actors show they have transcended their teeny-bopper performances by appearing competent and believable with their characters.
The most interesting part of the cast is that there is no personified villain, no evil face to loathe or fear. Conflicts that arise in the story are brought about by someone’s subconscious which cannot be controlled even by the person who owns it.
A contrast from its advanced or foreign concept, Inception maintains a story driven by human emotions. Writer Christopher Nolan had re-written the story several times to make sure of that. The dream-sharing idea is not the main attraction of the film, but it revolves around one revelation about human nature and its frailty despite the mind’s endless abilities. The revelation towards the end of the film presents man and his weakness – that even when he is capable of anything, he is also limited in some things.