Christopher Nolan is back, and his latest sci-fi thriller, Inception, just hit theaters today. Does it stand up to his other films, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, or Memento?
You bet. This movie starts off with a bang by throwing the audience right into what would seem like the climax to your average crime thriller. Soon, however, the audience learns that they are not really watching a theft in an obscure Asian mansion. In fact, they are watching a dream. Inception takes place in a world of idea thieves, who orchestrate an elaborate dream for the person to be stolen from. The team of thieves find a way to put the victim, or "subject" to sleep in order to share the same dream. From inside of the other person's head, the team can extract the required information, and sell it to their employer.
Christopher Nolan's brilliant direction and screenplay keep together a premise that would be a herculean task for most directors. On the surface, it's an amazingly engaging thriller that never dulls. Deeper into the subtext of this film lies commentary on the nature of dreams and reality, the power of guilt, and the infectious parasite that is the idea.
Leonardo Dicaprio takes the lead in this dreamscape as the head idea thief, or extractor. His performance, complemented by the actors who make up his team, is one of the most shining bits of this gem. Ellen Page, who plays the newest member of the idea thieves, gives a fairly good performance overall, while some of her more emotional scenes with Dicaprio seem like there is something missing.
This movie takes advantage of having dreams for settings by creating stunning surrealist images. Entire cities fold over, rooms spontaneously flood with jets of water, and the gravity of hallways twists and turns. It is easy to realize how much fun Nolan had in crafting these scenes, and he transfers that joy to the audience beautifully.