Have you ever seen a movie that drives right into your brain? Something that makes you think all the way home? This summer’s psychological thriller was Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.”
The story, in essence, is a crime drama. You have all the essential elements. The pro, who has been doing it for years; the “architect,” who works on getting the group in; the driver; the employer; and the mark. The movie, however, adds a nice twist to the age old movie idea: the crime takes place in the mark’s dreams.
In the future, technology exists to enter a person’s dream and extract information. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the biggest player in the game, but he is caught during his most recent heist. When confronted by his target, he is offered a deal: pull off one more crime and have his criminal record wiped so he can return to his children. The only problem is that the crime is not to steal information, but to place an idea in his victim’s mind. The question quickly becomes “how do you make someone’s mind create an idea without making it seem foreign?”
Cobb quickly begins creating his team, a complex combination of architects and theives. The movie includes great performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“(500) Days of Summer”), Ellen Page (“Juno”) and Tom Hardy (“Star Trek: Nemesis”). Michael Cain, who played Alfred in “Batman” and “Batman Begins”, even has a brief cameo, continuing his work with Nolan. The talent makes you feel for the characters, and helps you experience their horror of not escaping a dream.
DiCaprio once again proves that he actually can act in his role as the notorious leader. As the main character, he draws you into his story and life experiences, including the death of his wife and the loss of his children. The depth of his character is truly felt as DiCaprio explores all the facets of his emotions, becoming a deeply brooding man without caricaturing Cobb.
The ease with which DiCaprio falls into his character is reason enough to see the movie, but the script is even better. As a writer, story line is more important to me than special effects. Nolan does not pull any punches with his twisting, intellectual storyline. You follow the characters in and out of dreams, counting the rings of dreams that the characters have fallen through, and explore every avenue of consequence (such as getting trapped in one of the rings, or forgetting what is a dream and what is not). Nolan also raises the stakes of the piece, putting the characters in peril of losing their minds, instead of their lives. Even though the plot is complicated, the movie is still an enjoyable ride.
Would I suggest that you see the movie? If psychological thrillers and crime dramas are not your style, I would not. If, however, you enjoy a movie that you can carry with you long after you have left the theatre, then I would tell you that you should have seen it by now. See the movie and you will understand the praise for Nolan and DiCaprio. And trust me, it is even better the second time.