Inception Movie Review: a Thought Intensive Sci-Fi


Dreams intrigue most people, as they still remains mostly unexplained by modern science. Christopher Nolan, probably, wrote the script to ‘Inception’ while being motivated by this idea. The recently released movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Berenger, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Michael Caine and others has already become a blockbuster hit worldwide.

While the cast pulled most of the audience into the theatres, the special effect sequences from the trailer ensured the attendance of skeptics. There were some great performances by Gordon Levitt, Murphy, Page, Watanabe and Rao while Caprio’s lead character, Cobb, resembled his gloomy, brooding lead roles from ‘Shutter Island’ and ‘Departed’. Caine was not given much of a chance.

The premise of the story is simple – and then complicated. Besides our conventional idea of dreams, the sci-fi story juggles with the premise of scientific genius that can trespass into other people’s dreams and, while moving through the person’s dream-world, can also extract information like vault codes, locations to secret documents etc., from the subconscious that can be used in real life for more dubious purposes. This process is termed as ‘extraction’. On the other side of this coin, is ‘Inception’, which is about planting an idea into the dreamer’s psyche. Such an idea has the potential to change the individual’s life entirely, even after he/she wakes up.

The dream trespassers, in this case, are the duo of Cobb (Caprio) and Arthur (Gordon Levitt). They come across Saito, a highly influential Asian corporate sort, who offers Cobb the task of inception into the subconscious of his rival, Maurice Fisher’s (Pete Postlethwaite) son, Robert (Cillian Murphy), in return for having his (Caprio) criminal charges wiped clean in the USA so that he can return to his children. As Maurice is dying, Robert is likely to take over the reins of the corporation, which is already outdoing Saito’s. Through inception, Saito wants Cobb to place an idea into Robert’s mind that will eventually drive him into breaking the empire his father had built.

So, Cobb and Arthur begins to recruit members for a team, who are geeky version’s of the ‘Ocean’s 11’ bunch. The training procedures, preparation for the inception and the plans has combined the sci-fi with elements of the heist genre. These parts of the story, along with minimal comic-relief, will excite most.

However, the interconnecting subplots and the extensive details are the bummers. One of the gang members, Ariadne (Page), finds out that although criminal charges still exist in the USA against Cobb for murdering his wife (Cotillard), she actually committed suicide. However, as he feels guilty for the incident, almost every time, he is in someone else’s dream, his wife pops up and turns things awry. There are lots of flashbacks and details in the script regarding mental projections, embedded subconscious elements, levels of dreams and even tokens, which aids one to realize that they are in a dream world.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie myself. However, due to these elements, ‘Inception’ is a movie that will make you concentrate on every single line in it. While watching it, you will have to think like you probably have never thought before while watching any other movie. Most of my friends, watched it twice…because they did not get the story entirely the first time.

I read in a number of reviews that Nolan had worked on the script for over a decade and began work on developing the film after being appreciated for his work in ‘Memento’, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. That was definitely a good move on his part. If he did make this movie back in 2000, it would have probably not done so well, eventually suffering a fate like the 2002 Christian Bale starrer sci-fi flick ‘Equilibrium’.