"I have it under control."
INCEPTION's world is today's, but the technology is not. In this world, people have intimate knowledge of how to infiltrate dreams. In this sub-conscious reality, the rules of physics don't apply. The ground can be unearthed, buildings detonate, even complete landscapes literally fold onto one another; all through the eyes--and more importantly--in the mind of its designer.
To believe this film, one must first accept what it's selling. This dream conquering proficiency is never explained; never are we told of its origins, its creator, only its masters. The art of extracting--that is, stealing an idea from someone's mind--is a convoluted process, and none are better at it than Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). No one has delved deeper, or stayed longer in the recesses of the mind than Cobb, and because of that he has a damaged psyche, and more tragically, a damaged soul. He is haunted by the projections of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), who somehow plays both the femme fatale and the damsel in distress; the white rabbit that is always just out of Cobb's reach.
After a botched extraction at the beginning of the film, Cobb and his right-hand man Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) attempt to split up and lay low from the company whose information they failed to secure. It's here where they are contracted for one final job by businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe), who commissions Cobb not for an extraction, but an inception, which plants an idea instead of removing one.
With the promise of legal entry back to the United States (Cobb was forced to seek asylum overseas) and the hopeful reunion to his two young children, he agrees and begins to fill out his team. Along with Arthur, master forger Eames (Tom Hardy, BRONSON), architect Ariadne (Ellen Page), and chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) are rounded up and all eyes are set on the mark, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy).
All this and I still haven't touched upon writer/director Christopher Nolan. Nolan's recent string of blockbusters (BATMAN BEGINS, THE PRESTIGE) is unparalleled, as is his attention to every facet of his craft. It's somewhat fitting INCEPTION tells the story of dreams, as I'm sure many countless nights were spent coming up with, and later cementing the exhaustively detail rich plot. The visuals, which are only hinted at in the trailer, are beyond our wildest, well, dreams. Nolan has once more made the unthinkable, somehow believable. The use of slow-motion throughout rightfully serves its purpose, while a zero-gravity scuffle between Arthur and an unnamed foe remains the most unique sequence in recent memory.
From the first few minutes, we slowly learn that nothing is as it seems. Are we awake, are we asleep? Like a real dream, I struggled to recollect moments, though I anticipate after more viewings the intricacies will become more in focus. INCEPTION is a film where it is a rare, explosive sum of its parts. Remarkable directing, superb acting, and like the musical intersections the characters experience while under their artificially induced sleep, Hans Zimmer's score is equally striking; every deep pulse resonates, jarring us in our seats.
Like the multilayers of an onion, INCEPTION is slowly peeled away for us, revealing not only the brilliant, ever twisting narrative, but also the many levels of Cobb's tortured conscience. It is not until we have come to the deeply, satisfying conclusion that we can finally sit up, blink our eyes, take a breath and realize that we're back in the real world. Or, are we? This film will exceed your expectations. Whatever fictional world Nolan creates next, I don't want to wake up from it.