Rating: 3/4 (Minus the needless action and complexity, Inception is the stuff dreams are made of!)
Christopher Nolan returns after The Dark Knight to the much darker, deeper domain of the mind in Inception. The hero Cobb (Leonard di Caprio), a dream thief, is given his life's mission when he is asked to plant an idea in the mind of Fischer, heir to a business empire. In true Hollywood fashion, Cobb assembles a team which includes his employer (Ken Watanabe), an architect, a point man, a forger, and a chemist. These diverse roles are needed for the Nolan vision of a dream heist. Ariadne (Ellen Page), the architect, builds the worlds of the dreams. The dreamer will dream the dream and the rest of the team and the victim will join it. The forger will shift his identity, taking on different characters in the dream. Cobb, the extractor, will steal or implant information in the dream of the victim. Cobb, who had only stolen from dreams up to this point is required to try inception, planting an idea in the victim for the first time. To achieve this he creates 3 levels of dreams, a dream within a dream within a dream. Only with such deception can the victim's mind be fooled into accepting a foreign idea. It sounds complicated, but thanks to Nolan's vision, the team achieve it. Things go south, when the demons of Cobb's past return in his dream and he enters limbo, a dream of no return.
The concept of Inception is extremely interesting and Nolan pulls it off pretty well. He borrows generously from movies like The Matrix, Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The dream worlds of Paris folding over, the dilapidated Limbo Land and the zero gravity Hotel are fantastic to experience! In contrast, the City Streets and Ice World look useless and seemed to serve only as arenas to throw in some mindless shooting and action. Nolan extracts great acting chops from Leonardo di Caprio, who is getting awesomer with every movie. Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are memorable, but Michael Caine is wasted with his tiny role. The movie gets a bit hard to understand with so many levels of dreams. It is one or two too many, since Nolan could have told a clearer, more focused story with less. The ending is perfect, in the sense that the audience is left wondering if Cobb is still stuck in a dream or it happened for real. Despite its mindless action and unnecessary complexity, Inception is still the most interesting movie this year.