It’s a Fantastic Voyage of the psyche in Inception, the new film from The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a dream sharer who can infiltrate people’s minds and plant ideas while they sleep.
Dominic Cobb (DiCaprio) is an expert in subconscious security and is routinely hired to break into executives’ minds and steal trade secrets. It’s the business of corporate espionage and business is good. But it’s cost Cobb his marriage and children; maybe even more.
This time, he’s not hired for an extraction, but rather for an “inception,” the implantation of a thought to influence the son of his boss’s corporate rival. Cobb puts together a team that includes extraction veterans and a young grad student (Ellen Page) to penetrate several layers of the corporate scion’s reality – essentially orchestrating a complex dream within a dream scenario to gain the trust necessary to deeply implant the suggestion. Multiple-level dream sharing is not without risk and Cobb has some secrets of his own that he needs to suppress, not the least of which is the truth behind his wife’s death.
To say Inception is at its core a “heist” film – a Mission Impossible-type caper – is oversimplification. It is that, but it is also one of the most tightly woven stories of all time. Indeed, the plot’s intricacies are only later truly appreciated and after considerable thought. The levels of irreality that coexist are staggering and Nolan (who penned the film, as well) does a great job of entertaining us without confusing us.
All of that is on Leonardo DiCaprio who delivers an as Oscar-worthy performance here as he did earlier this year in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Ellen Page, conversely, does little more than bring her demographic into the theaters. Both take a backseat to the special effects, which are at times mind-boggling.
Inception is an intensely riveting and intellectually satisfying psychological thriller. That’s either my objective opinion or something Warner Brother planted last night. Either way, this is one of the year’s must-sees.