Synopsis: Cob and his team are mercenaries stealing secrets from dreams, and finds himself forced into a contract to plant an idea that would lead to the breakup of a major energy company.
• DiCaprio plays his secretly broken yet wise character with an ease that powered the film.
• A wildly inventive story that fully embraced the dream-based settings, while suggesting infinite visual possibilities.
• All those involved show a distinct self-awareness that compensated for the elaborate ludicrousness of the plot, while realistically showing how easily these dream makers and invaders can loose track of reality.
• Perhaps the most surreal embrace of the nonlinear narrative style ever implemented.
• No true heroes or villains. In the end they were all doing what they thought was right, even if their actions were debatable.
• Its structuring can feel overly elaborate, especially the first time through.
• No matter how complete the story, the film was done so well that it may make the viewer want more when it now seems unlikely to have any form of expansion.
“Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.” H.P. Lovecraft, The Silver Key (1929)
Inception highlighted the “reality” of dreams as much as Lovecraft ever did. The world depicted was clearly filled with mercenaries out to steal any kind of secret from the mind through dreams, which might only exist out of our total experience. So, the rich and powerful were trained to dream in ways to literally shoot up an possible invader. At the same time, the technology and teachings influenced people just live out their lives in dreams. But like in the more horror oriented film Dreamscape (1984), we only ever bring in ourselves to dreams, and that can exponentially complicate things in a shared dream state. It is easy to see how regularly invading the minds of others can cause serious psychological problems that can only further complicate invading other’s minds.
Perhaps Inception was just a film about the infinite need to have some control over our reality. Or perhaps life is but an infinitely spinning dream …
Rotten Tomatoes 86%