Written & Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard
What do we ask for in a summer blockbuster? What is it that incites hysteria this time every year for whatever dross the studios churn out? Epic hugeness? Blowing stuff up? Romance? Action? Heroes? What are we looking for in a blockbuster? I think it all boils down to thrills! Audiences want the thrill of a car chase, the thrill of romance, the thrill of the spectacular! If that is the case, then Inception just might be the greatest summer blockbuster of all time as it also contains something we often don’t look for...brains!
“What is the most resilient parasite? An idea” says Leonardo Di Caprio's character Cobb. Well, Inception is all about ideas. It’s all right there in the title. The film central idea revolves around “Extractors”, who are paid to extract secrets from people’s subconscious minds by sneaking into their dreams, usually for the purpose of corporate espionage. However, when one client asks them to plant an idea in the mind of their corporate rival, “Inception” is born.
The less said about this film the better. It is full of ideas and invention and for each set piece I divulge, a piece of the film’s genius is weakened. This is a film that cleverly and intricately brings the audience through several planes of existence simultaneously but never allows the viewer to feel lost. Such is the power of Christopher Nolan’s script which, I imagine, is likely to get overlooked due to the sheer visual magnificence of his direction. But everything that makes this film so great is in the script...in the ideas! Everything else is just spectacle.
This film bears an uncanny resemblance, thematically, with DiCaprio’s other instant classic this year, Shutter Island. Both films investigate in depth the tricks a traumatised mind can play on the individual. Both films are luscious to watch and both films keep the audience firmly outside the realm of reality. However, Inception is an even more layered film than Shutter Island and I believe the sci-fi genre setting will prove to be less alienating for audiences than the prison noir of Scorsese’s film.
There is not a single dull moment in Nolan’s film. There is style, charm and intelligence in every frame of the film. Every performance is pitch-perfect with some strong support by Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt particularly who have grown up right before our eyes into undeniable movie stars. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a typically flawless performance as the muddled, grieving man who we never quite trust to be living in the real world. The best part of Inception is the large amount of effects which were done in camera. While the film does make use of CGI, there are some pretty mind-blowing practical effects which are as simple as the camera telling beautiful lies; a rare treat these days.
This is a blockbuster that ticks all the boxes; smart, sexy (femme fatale, sexy brainy girl, very beautiful men in very beautiful suits) and magical. Inception is the kind of film that reminds me why cinema will never die. Because anyone who thinks it’s ok to watch this film on a laptop or iPad is a fool! This is pure cinema, and proud of it. Not to be missed on the big screen!