Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an expert at extracting information from people’s subconscious while they dream. Unfortunately Cobb is also a wanted man in the United States, so he is forced to take his extracting job on the road. After Cobb’s ex-wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) sabotages his latest mission, Cobb and his right hand man Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are offered one final job by Saito (Ken Wantanabe), a powerful business man who has the ability to make Cobb’s problems in the United States disappear. The only catch is, instead of stealing information, Cobb and Arthur must place information in to the mind of Saito’s corporate rival Robert Fisher Jr. (Cillian Murphy). Cobb knows the art of inception is much more complex than removing secrets from a person’s mind, so he sets out to gather a team of experts to pull off this heist. In order for Cobb’s plan to work he will need the assistance of Ariadne (Ellen Page) the dream architect; Eames (Tom Hardy) the expert forger; and Yusuf (Dileep Rao) the chemist who can create a drug so potent that will keep them all in the dream state for 10 hours. If the team succeeds, it could be the perfect crime. Unfortunately none of them anticipate the deadly enemies that await them on the other side.
If Dark City and The Matrix were to ever have a love child, Inception would be that child. Inception offers up a fresh spin on the heist genre. Many elements standard to heist flicks are present: the ”one last job” motivation; each member of the team having a unique skill, etc. The major difference being that it is not about what is being stolen, but rather what is put in. Inception is an extremely smart film in which the audience does not need a PHD to decipher. Christopher Nolan spends the first half hour of the film establishing everything that we, the viewer, need to know about dreams and the subconscious. I loved how the film considers “the idea” to be the worst type of virus to inflict mankind. So, for example, if someone plants the notion in your head that you look fat in those jeans, that simple thought starts to eat away at you until you eventually discard those jeans. Even if you are unable to grasp all of the philosophical concepts talked about in the film, Nolan designs the narrative in a way that makes Inception accessible to all types of viewers.
In many ways Arthur is the perfect contrast to Cobb. Arthur knows what the proper limits are for their particular line of work. Cobb, on the other hand, has gone so far past the limit that he continually puts his team in jeopardy for his own selfish needs. If 2010 has taught me anything it is that being married to Leonardo DiCaprio may not be as sweet as most women assume it would be. In both Inception and Shutter Island, DiCaprio’s characters are mentally damaged by events from a previous marriage. The character of Mal in Inceptions could have easily been played by Michelle Williams as they are almost identical in their construction. It is Cobb’s relationship with Mal that is at the core of everything in Inception, without it the film does not work at all. There will be those viewers that complain about the lack of character development for some of the supporting characters. Yet I honestly cannot see how the film could elaborate on them anymore without ruining the central Cobb arc.
For a summer that has been particularly dull in terms of the amount of movies that truly excite, Inception is truly a breath of fresh air. It is not only one for the best films of the summer but, in my opinion, it also one of the best films to come out this year.