Perhaps one of those most anticipated movies of the year, this movie gives Christopher Nolan the chance to continue to show his chops outside of the Batman franchise.
DiCaprio, in his second challenging role of the year following Shutter Island, plays Cobb; a master thief who infiltrates peoples dreams and steals their ideas and sells them on. Wanted in the US, which prevents him from seeing his children, he accepts one last job. Except this time, rather than steal an idea, he’s hired to plant an idea. Things are further complicated by Cobb as the lines between reality and dreams has become blurred and his own visions of his dead wife constantly interfere.
The story, at it’s most basic level, is essentially a heist movie. It even has tinges of the Dirty Dozen and The Magnificent Seven, as Cobb creates a gang whose each member has their own specialism in the dream world. Except, that’s where the similarity ends because each gang member has a purpose for the plan; rather than appearing because they have a particulkar skill that may or may not be somehow contrived into the plot.
With Nolan’s success and current standing within Hollywood, he has hired an ensemble cast to be envied: As well as DiCaprio, we have: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite and Nolan fave Michael Caine. Each brings their own depth of character and performance that helps to add layers to the already multi-layered plot. Only Berenger and Postlethwaite are perhaps under-utilised.
Although the movie is action packed and has special effects that really do wow you, the movie is also very heavy on dialogue; particularly in the first two thirds. I think this is because the movie’s concept needs to be fully explained. And, although heavy on dialogue, the way in which it is presented means that you do not feel at all as though you are sitting through a lecture on what this whole dream infiltration thing is.
I particularly liked the fact that there was no formal explanation of how all of this came about; so often sci-fi movies have a paragraph or two to explain which year we’re in and what technological advancements brought us here. In this movie, that is absent and it is by no means missed. Instead, we accept that this is the way things are.
For all of the “science bits”, the movie rattles along at a fair old pace and, as mentioned before, their is plenty of action throughout. The premise of the movie is outstanding and, in a British cinema, I’m sure this is the nearest I’ve ever seen an audience come to spontaneous applause at the end. It is a remarkable film and further establishes Nolan as one of the most talented filmmakers around.
My Rating: 5/5