Before I talk about the film proper I’m going to give a little personal context about my relationship with Christopher Nolan’s latest cinemagasm.
I’ve not been as excited about going to see a film in…well, I can’t remember. I’ve literally been chewing off my own hands with anticipation ever since the first insignificant nuggets of information started their slow faucet leak into the public domain. So, it was with a great deal of trepidation that I wandered into Inception’s showing, I’d mentally built it up to stratospheric heights, I’d foolishly done something that can ultimately only end in disappointment. Fantasy never aligns with reality, that girl never feels the same way, you never get the job (“dinosaur astronaut…what do you mean that‘s not a thing!?”). I’d been building myself up for heartbreak so severe that I feared it may ruin cinema for me.
Luckily…this film is utterly, jaw-hurtingly spec-fucking-tacular.
The plot revolves around Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cobb, a specialist in “extraction”, an illegal process where by one can enter other peoples dreams and steal their ideas…it’s a sort of metaphysical corporate espionage. He’s given a shot at redemption, to return to his family after a dark event in his past if he can complete “inception”, the process of implanting an idea, on Cillian Murphy’s billionaire heir to an energy empire. And it plays out like James Bond conceived by the Wachowski Brothers and written by Charlie Kaufman.
The performances are all stellar, DiCaprio fills Cobb with such conviction that his performance almost goes unnoticed. However, he is the pivot that the whole thing spins on, and his conviction seeps through in to ever other aspect of this world. Ellen Page exudes a weird sexiness that I didn’t think she had in her, Joseph Gordon-Levitt vomits a cool dependability that makes you forget that he’s essentially nothing more than a side kick (Page and him have the film’s best gag moment), though most laughs will come from Tom Hardy’s lovable rouge Eames.
It’s the sort of film that so many would wish to make, you can sense that Nolan has been given staggering mountains of cash and been told to let his imagination completely run free, and Nolan dreams big. I simply can’t do the visuals justice in words; there are some truly eye popping sequences, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s corridor fight will inevitably be an audience favourite. It’s the sort of pure, visceral cinema that reminds you why you love cinema, why cinema is so important, and why it’s simply the most bad ass medium of expression ever invented.
Better yet, the mindfuck visuals slink perfectly into the world Nolan has created, without once seeming out of place. The third act in particular, once they are heavy into dream territory, will make your synapses melt with the amount of clever stuff going on: multiple narratives happening on multiple timelines in multiple places all simultaneously. Yet somehow, it’s far easier to comprehend than say, Memento. Nolan’s a talented bastard at this film game.
I suggest you just go see it. Then go and see it again.
GIVE HIM THE KICK.