“Vanilla Sky” meets The Matrix”. Computer Generated Interface meets imagination. And now in this amazing film, imagination strains the ability of the viewer to comprehend it. “The Matrix” is three standard deviations behind.
Briefly, dreams are subject to exploitation and information mining. Ultimately, the possibility of depositing information exists but the ramifications are unknown. The protagonist team plots to delve three layers into the subject’s subconscious (a dream within a dream within a dream) to plant the bare seed of an idea that would then bloom into fruition into his conscious world, producing a quantum change in a mega-billion dollar business deal. Along the way, the unpredictable random chaos of perception muddy the water.
The players and the audience immerse in the involutions and convolutions of the reality/dream interface, and dreams have scary rules. Drawing on memories to construct dreams can be dangerous. Intruding in the dreams of others can cause the dreamer’s “projections” (human representations created by the dreamer) to attack the intruders. Depending on the level accessed, dying in a dream possibly forces the dreamer into a very long limbo as ten minutes at level one can mean ten years when three layers into a dream. A unique keepsake called a “totem” is required in order to inform a character as to whether or not he or she is still dreaming, a situation reminiscent of Chris Reeves’ coin in “Somewhere in time” (with an unfortunate outcome for him).
These brief descriptions are only a fraction of the rules, exceptions, and details for creating the thorny world of “Inception”. The moviegoer will not have the luxury of simply enjoying the painless plot and tons of visual pyrotechnics as in “Avatar”. It’s highly unlikely the viewer will manage to keep up with the complexity but will continue to be swept along filling in the holes as best they can. This film will require multiple viewings, stopping to understand each layer before escalating to the next one.
This film intelligently mixes CGI with thoughtful text.
Chris Nolan is the new wave of outstanding Directors. Leo DiCaprio channels much of a previous character in “Shutter Island” but otherwise makes the role come alive. Ken Watanabe is always great. Newcomer Ellen Page (Juno) is surprisingly mature. The final scene leaves much to the viewer’s imagination.
It’s the best film of the year, a must see, probably several times.
It’s a little long and some of the action scenes don’t augment the plot so it gets 4.5 of 5 freight trains roaring down 5th avenue.