‘Inception’ means ‘beginning’, ‘start’ or ‘commencement’, but that doesn’t shed much light on what Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is all about.
Even if you did read my previous post about Nolan and Inception, little can prepare you for combination of simplicity and complexity of the film itself.
In the film, ‘inception’ is not just the beginning of something, but the principle of planting an idea in someone’s head. The way this is done is through dreams, using the subconscious to control the conscious, which involves connecting people together with a strange briefcase-shaped device which means several people can experience the same dream simultaneously.
The principle which you have to bear in mind watching the film is that dreams always seem real when you’re having them, as DiCaprio’s character Cobb says: “It’s only when we wake up that we realise anything is strange.”
Nolan, who also wrote the film, has never been someone who has embraced CGI in films before, generally adopting a very personal approach to directing, never taking a second unit and often doing shots with a hand-held camera. In Inception though, it’s impossible to avoid, since the story and concepts involved require so much which is not physically possible.
It would be a mistake to think that Nolan has ‘sold out’ with this picture though, since it’s an idea he’s been working on for many years, and it is certainly worth the wait.
The reputation of the director, who also directed The Dark Knight the trailers are keen to tell us, means Nolan is graced with a fantastic cast to sell his story.
DiCaprio, fresh from another deep emotional performance in Martin Scorcese’s Shutter Island, shows us how far he has come from his boyish charms evident in the likes of Titanic and Romeo & Juliet, delivering a gripping portrayal of a character which the audience latch on to and follow through the film, something which is integral to its success.
Ellen Page, of Juno Fame, also delivers convincingly as Ariadne, despite being the token ‘young person’, as does Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer Jr., who is the victim of the film’s convoluted heist, despite not realising it.
Brit acting legend Michael Caine, in his fourth film with Christopher Nolan, is on wise old mentor duty once again, without his usual comic relief moments, and in fact its Tom Hardy of Layer Cake as Eames who shines in the comedy stakes.
To go in to the story too much would spoil or confuse things, but the film itself is a triumph of Nolan’s skill as a director and passion for story-telling. Those looking for the excitement, action and explosions of The Dark Knight won’t be disappointed, as the film’s climax providing the most nail-biting finale of Nolan’s work to date.
What is more important to the film though is that you’re constantly asking yourself what is real and what’s a dream, which is exactly the question Cobb is constantly dealing with, making you feel quite unnerved at times, but still exhilarated.
Inception is a film which binds genres together seamlessly, going from a heist movie one moment to a tense thriller the next, with some gravity-defying action thrown in for good measure. It must be seen to be believed.