Christopher Nolan proves himself as both a man of action and ideas, as he delves into the male psyche and enriches the soul in Inception.
It is a rare thing to find a filmmaker who can couple thought provoking drama with blockbuster girth. With Inception, it is a feat achieved by Nolan with stunning visual excellence (surely a shoe in for a Best Visual Effects nomination), and an emotional core that is worth investing in.
As a genre picture, Inception defies pigeon holing because it ticks so many boxes: action, drama, sci-fi, noir, love story, heist movie. Nolan blends all of these elements to make a perfect cinematic mish-mash sure to please both cinephile and Saturday night movie goer.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dobbs, a fugitive and master thief for hire who has excelled the art of “extraction” (entering the dream of another to steal secret information).
When his last corporate espionage gig ends disastrously, he is given one last chance to clear his name, regain his nationality, and reunite with his children, if he undertakes the difficult task of “inception” (the process of implanting an idea in the subconscious of his target).
A team is assembled to undertake the mission, and playing these roles is an exciting ensemble of young and veteran talent, which includes: Joseph Gordon Levitt, who continues to impress as “The Point Man”; Ellen Page, who brings her spunky and intelligent persona as “The Architect”; and Tom Hardy, who steals scenes with his natural charm as “The Forger”.
Yet this is DiCaprio’s film, and amongst his plethora of emotionally conflicted men who are obsessed with their jobs while struggling with heavy guilt, Dobbs is a highlight.
Nolan’s idea that obsession is akin to a virus that can make or break the dreamer, provides an absorbing insight into the complex nature of the male psyche (namely his own), and how the guilt stemmed from a well intended act can leave a disastrous effect upon the soul.
Redemption is sought by Dobb’s both psychologically and spiritually, and DiCaprio takes to the task of portraying this wounded man with vigour and the upmost sensitivity, often grappling with the subconscious projection of his deceased wife Mal (a commanding Marion Cotillard).
James Bond inspired Fantasies also fill the frame, and it showcases Nolan’s improved hand at action choreography, which his Batman films were left wanting.
Yet the true power of Inception is in its imaginative and innovative portrayal of the mystery and brilliance of the human sub-conscious, a place where time and gravity are defied, as shown in a breath taking sequence where Paris folds in on itself.
Dreams within dreams are explored and projected, and Nolan will hit his viewers for a loop, with multiple viewings needed to absorb its science fiction and head trip mysteries that will inspire many a discussion.
Yet while Inception asks many an open ended question (and who cannot appreciate a little bit of mystery?), what is assured is an emotional tug at the heart which, no matter whether dream or reality, concludes an experience that stirs the soul and stimulates the mind.