Caught somewhere between Mission Impossible and a gnarly acid trip lies Inception the newest piece from writer/director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight). In this cosmopolitan sci-fi actioner, Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) represents best thief in the business. But unlike most common thieves, Cobb steals valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious. Cobb’s talent makes him a highly desired employee in the world of corporate espionage. His talent also made him an international fugitive but if he completes one last job he may be able to clear his name. For his last job, instead of stealing an idea he needs to plant an idea -- an inception.
Inception, although complex, goes too far out its way to explain every little element. In a film with so many layers and far-reaching facts, some explanation remains necessary otherwise utter confusion would occur. However, that doesn’t mean that constant exposition needs to be bandied about throughout the film almost ad nauseum.
A complicated movie such as this needs to revert to the “show me don’t tell me” method to demonstrate how to convey complexities without explaining every single last detail. Nolan’s other films offered wonderfully sinister visual styles, which he used as an asset to spin his stories. He used complex visual elements, such as in Memento, which cleverly wove explanations into the story without the dialogue creating a crushing barrier. Those viable visual elements do exist in Inception, and much of the film’s later half exists somewhere in the realm of 007, Mission Impossible, and Matrix with grandiose fights, chases and effects.
Nolan goes out of his way to create a complex world and at times it may feel like being caught in a Freudian vortex. Nonetheless, with all of the complexities that Cobb has to endure, it seems rather simplistic to satisfy his guilty conscious with such a simplistic ending solution. Even a heart filled romantic may ask “Is that all there all there is?”
The film may be too smart for its own good. Perhaps a little more espionage and a little less physics chatter and psychobabble would have planted a better idea inside that pesky little subconscious.
British director specialising in dark thrillers. Made an impressive debut with the low-budget Following, but it was the time-twisting noir Memento that brought him to Hollywood's attention. 2002's Al Pacino-starrer Insomnia was a remake of a Norwegian thriller, while Batman Begins was one of 2005's biggest summer movies. The hits kept coming with magician tale The Prestige, and Batman sequel The Dark Knight was the most successful movie of Nolan's career, which he followed with ambitious sci-fi Inception and the final entry of his Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. He then attempted to go as far as he could with sci-fi epic Interstellar, another huge success at the box office, which was followed by his World War II blockbuster Dunkirk and mindbending sci-fi Tenet, bravely (or foolishly) released during the pandemic.