Christopher Nolan put together a very imaginative piece, about the development of a fictitious science that can delve into other people’s minds and extract information for government or corporate use – trade secrets and the like. The story does fall down though in not always making clear to the audience what’s going on. The actors at times mumble their words and the “moody” lighting becomes dull and hard to see (although that might just be my TV set).
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, the mastermind who is an expert at going into others dreams and finding secrets. Sometimes he can go dreams within dreams. Unfortunately the clients whose dreams he attempts to invade also have their own constructs and sometimes military force of the subconscious to take care of Cobb and his ilk.
Cobb also has a major guilt complex going on. His wife and he also explored their own inner mind except she thought the “real” world was in fact another dream layer and promptly killed herself. She also created a scenario where he would be on the run from the law for her death — wow, tough love!
All these come together when Cobb is hired out by Saito, a corporate energy dealer who wants to plant an idea (an “inception”) for Robert Fisher Jr. (Cillian Murphy) to make his own energy business, break it up and thus Saito could then deal with this competitor rather than be relegated to second rate power.
To help Cobb ostensibly deal with the architect of the dreams he hires smart girl Ariadne (Ellen Page). Though she plays her part fairly well, the character is not developed very much. She does a lot of yelling at the guy, finds out a few of his secrets and rubs his face in his bad decision-making while on the mission (which tends to bend to his guilt), but she’s not developed much. Not a lot of romance or adventure with this character!
The others of the team are similarly not well-developed. After we get to somewhat know them, they’re really throwaway characters — vital to the plot but we don’t really invest a lot of emotion into caring if they live or not.
I must say the special effects were amazing. The attention to detail, every drop of water, every piece of shattered glass, perfectly poised as in real life. The “zero gravity” scene (my word for it) was amazing. Did they have an actual room they were rotating or what was CGI?
Not a lot of fight scenes in the film, although there were plenty of chase scenes in the streets and on the slopes. The audience is shunted from scene to scene rather quickly, at times too much so. I found myself rewinding the DVD to see what I just missed.
Imaginative story, excellent fictitious science of the mind, where even with high technology we still have guilt, misunderstandings and in some cases some pretty blatant attempts at making others wrong to fill a book! The special effects were great, but the editing was such as to at times confuse and startle. The dialogue could have been clearer with a few less English accents (though Michael Caine, in the small part he played, was marvelous).
Recommended, but you may have to have your finger on the rewind to fully follow what’s going on. The ending was fun, left a question in your mind.
Christopher Nolan (written by)
Cast (in credits order
Leonardo DiCaprio … Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt … Arthur
Ellen Page … Ariadne
Tom Hardy … Eames
Ken Watanabe … Saito
Dileep Rao … Yusuf
Cillian Murphy . Robert Fischer
Tom Berenger … Peter Browning
Marion Cotillard … Mal
Pete Postlethwaite … Maurice Fischer
Michael Caine … Miles