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Written by Stephen Bowron   
18 07 2010
ImageDirected by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Christopher Nolan (‘Memento', ‘Insomnia') is more than known for his taste in making deeply-themed, psychological films that require a considerable amount of thought whilst watching them (yes, even Batman has issues - a lot of them, actually), and ‘Inception' doesn't even come close to disappointing everyone's expectations.

The story tells of a group of thieves for hire who can penetrate and control the dream state of other people in order to ‘steal' their secrets, though the focal point is of the film's main character, Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) who intends to embark on one final job in order for his latest employer to clear his name of a murder that has forced him to go on the run and leave his home and children.

One of the film's most admiral aspects is that it treats its audience intelligently. Although the end concept of the film isn't exactly simple, we get to work out what exactly is going on and how the film works, through its subtle hints and notes without feeling like complete idiots either, which in today's mainstream cinema is quite a rarity. Another of the main reasons the film works so well is because it's as if we were watching several well-structured films at once; like Nolan wrote himself into so many tight spots on purpose and rather than taking the easy way out, he convinced the audience that they have to work their way out and reap the satisfying feel of the benefits, which is an exhilarating prospect in today's often dried out, tedious cinema-going experience.

And as with all Nolan films, ‘Inception' features numerous deep-seated issues with its characters such as the strengths and weaknesses of family bonds, death, honour, reality and the primary theme of "letting go". As you can imagine, entering the world of dreams is a very big and enticing idea and one that isn't taken lightly by any of the characters and indeed the actors, who are nothing short than amazing at convincing us of the worlds and trouble that they get themselves into. Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt prove themselves once again that they are incredibly proficient in their transitions from independent films to big mainstream roles, and Leonardo DiCaprio once again hones his ever more impressive talents with his heartbreaking performance. One of the film's finest characters is one that relies on the other characters, and they rely on it; composer Hans Zimmer's incredible score, which is filled with so much emotion and life that it would be hard to imagine the tension and very feel of the film without it.

It's not all serious doom and gloom though. Looking past the daunting and threatening tasks and troubled relationships between the characters, comes a number of moments that will leave you in awe, particularly around the very idea of travelling into the world of dreams. And although not intended to be as comical as it can be, we are treated to a magnificently new way to look at slow motion. What ‘The Matrix' did with bullet-time is nothing compared to the use of the tool in this film, which features as not just as an entertaining novelty for us to gaze at in wonder, but something that is also interesting in terms of the narrative.

Come the end of the film, we have embraced an immensely entertaining and invigorating rollercoaster of cinema that deals with some very elaborate ideas but doesn't leave us confused either. As with most Nolan films however, we are left with a lot of things to wonder about and contemplate, so that as we walk down the street after leaving the theatre trying to change the appearance of our surroundings and defy physics with our composer-like arm waving (our reality could be a dream, who cares who sees us doing it?), we feel enormously satisfied and thankful for such a terrific film that challenges us so well.

In a year that is (just like many years before it) filled with unoriginal adaptations and sequels, if ‘Inception' proves to be a hit, producers may feel comfortable to start pumping more money into more original films that push the boundaries. They won't, but we can always dream.

Rating: 9.5/10
UK Release date: July 16 2010
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