Forever the cynic, I’m gonna start this review on a down note. Now I won’t say that Inception isn’t half as clever as it thinks it is, but I will say it isn’t half as clever as some critics are hailing it as.
Inception is very clever, and fairly complex, but by the time you get to the end – and if you are paying attention – you will have understood everything. Some say you will require a repeat viewing to understand it fully, I say I think people are more clever than that (either that or I’m blowing my own horn). It only requires a repeat viewing as it is such a highly entertaining and thoughtful film. So that little jibe was more at the reputation it has been given rather than the film itself.
Christopher Nolan is easily becoming the man that proves that you can do intelligent cinema in the summer blockbuster fare. Inception is no exception. Leonardo DiCaprio leads a small team of experts whose job it is to infiltrate the mind of a target (Cillian Murphy), construct a dream world in which to manipulate him into having a specific idea. To go into the technicalities of that would take up a bit of space. But what makes it interesting is the fact that they have to drop down through different levels of the target’s subconscious in order to get the plan working effectively. This means entering a second and then third level of the dream state.
DiCaprio is getting better with each film he is making, and not a moment too soon cause the Cruise’s of the world are really taking a dump with what they think is summer entertainment. We need solid actors like this that can convey more than smug charm, and Dicaprio seems to be one of the men to do it. He is of course supported well by the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (if Nolan is thinking of casting him in the next Batman film, he’d make a great replacement for the late Heath Ledger who he resembles), Britain’s own Tom Hardy (soon to take on the role of Mad Max), Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger and Marion Cotillard. All play their parts well with only the possible miscasting of Ellen Page who is far too young to be playing the role she was given (but then she has a habit of playing people who are fair too clever for their age). Her inexperience is evident in the way she waves her arms around when in a dramatic argument, clearly not a subscriber to “less is more” (it’s cinema Ellen, not the boards at the Old Vic!)
But the true star of all of this is its creator and director Christopher Nolan. He’s managed to build a career on the combination of art and entertainment and never lets one over take the other, but it’s his plotting and script work alone that so defines his work. With him you are always in entertaining and intriguing hands but again, don’t let Inception fool you, it isn’t impossible to follow. If you want a twisty turny Nolan film then go find The Prestige!