Posted by Bel. The time is 11.32am here in Wellington NZ.
If you liked Shutter Island, you will like this film. If you liked A Scanner Darkly, you will like this film. If you liked Pi or Scanners or Flatliners, you will like this film.
Did you read A Wrinkle In Time when you were a kid? As an adult?? Yeah, you will like this movie.
It's kinda like all that weirdo mind-melt dreamscape shape-shifter time-travel you-can't be-crazy-if-you-think-you're-sane sort of thing ...meets Ocean's Eleven.
Oooooh have I said too much??
REAL BIG TIME SPOILERS AHOOOOOYYYYYY!!
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a thief. No common household burglar, but someone who can enter your mind and steal the very thoughts from within. If you found yourself getting sick of Leo's ponderous looks and guilt-stricken grimaces in Shutter Island, then you might want to give Inception a pass - as he is once again in the role of a widower with a shadowy past and a rather loose grip on reality.
Here his wife (a combination of soulmate and nemesis) is played by Marion Cotillard, whose luminous face features eyes which manage to out blue even Mr Titanic. Her performance is a fusion of fragility and furious power, sealing her as one of the rare European cross-overs to Hollywood.
His team of merry men (just the one lady, Ellen Page demonstrating there's far more to her than roller skates and fake bellies - remember how she scared us to the bone[r] in Hard Candy?) is rounded out by everyone from Ken Wantanbe to Cillian Murphy.
The stand out is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Maybe it's the sharp suits, but this film maximises the talent he demonstrated in Brick and just how far he's come since cutting his teeth on sitcoms like Third Rock From The Sun.
Wow. Yeah, sorry. That was just kinda mean, huh?
The storyline may seem convoluted, but fans of sci-fi will get on board easily. And Nolan makes sure there is plenty of action for those who are finding the concepts a bit arty-farty.
There's even a bit that he just straight ripped off classic computer game (by which I mean one of two (the other was Minesweeper) we had on our computer), SkiFree. They are all skiing around in white jumpsuits and they have to dodge the trees and do jumps and - unfortunately - there is no hungry yeti, but there are lots of baddies on snowmobiles instead:
Yep. SPOILERS. Told ya.
Leo and his crew have embarked on this dangerous psychic mission in an attempt to do something they believe has never happened before: plant a thought deep inside someone's subconscious, so that they will believe it is their own thought and act upon it within their life, without ever realising they didn't think of it themselves.
(Is this not the plot of Mad Men, every single friggin week?)
They are asked by a businessman (Ken Watanabe), who promises them shitloads of cash and to Leo, the chance to have his life back - he is estranged from his children as a result of a crime which is revealed as the film unravels (or spirals tighter, depending on your point of view).
OKAY REAL SPOILERS NOW PEOPLE!!
There are two emotional climaxes of the film (as opposed to the Bourne-esque orgies of violence that occur at regular intervals). One is when it is revealed that Leo has achieved this 'inception' before, upon his own wife as they lived within a dream, and when returning to waking life, it was this that lead to her suicide and the catastrophic destruction of his life and possibly sanity.
The other is when the team's hyper-manufactured inception comes to its peak upon their mark (played by Cillian Murphy, pleased to see he's a Nolan favourite; that guy does not get enough attention). He has a heartfelt and unexpected reconciliation with his dying mogul father, which changes the path of his life - seemingly for the better, but only because Watanabe's character has paid for it to play out that way.
And why did he want it like that? There is a hurried conversation at the start of the film, about how the father-and-son corporation is a energy multi-conglomerate, dominating the market, and 'must be stopped'. Oh, okay, so another businessman is threatened by them? And initiates corporate espionage? And then what?? Why couldn't they have been planting the thought that all G20 countries would band together to solve climate change? Or that the IWC would actually end commercial whaling? Or for the World Bank to unify on eliminating the debts of third world countries?
But you know, whateeevvvver... How about that bit when everything was all upside-downy?! WHOOO!! Because, you know, it totally wouldn't have made sense for Leo to have had a paradigm shift after he came to terms with how his first inception-thingy was such a bad idea and then to go about trying to reverse the damage they were doing fulfilling the commands of another inception planting done purely for financial motivation??
(Man, I am writing a lot lately about how evil people's financial motivations are. What a hippie.)
Okay I really did write some epic SPOILERS in there so I hope you didn't read this far unless you've actually seen the movie. That'll teach you.
Inception is released nationwide in New Zealand on Thursday 22 July. Thanks to Flicks.co.nz for the preview screening.