We saw Inception at the new(ish) Arclight Cinemas in Pasadena on opening day, Friday July 16th. We generally avoided most of the reviews, which were mostly (but not overwhelmingly) positive. The current rottentomatoes.com rating for the film is 86%.
Inception is a fiendishly complicated story that revolves around the premise that there exists technology which allows multiple individuals to share and participate in each others' dreams. Usually this procedure is used to steal secrets from an individual's subconscious by accessing it in their dreams. The concept of "inception" in this context is the notion that one can insert an idea into the dreaming individual, in such a way that they believe that the idea is actually self-generated.
Leonardo Dicaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Dileep Rao and Tom Hardy all play members of a team led by DiCaprio's Dom Cobb who is being hired by Ken Watanabe's character to place an idea in Cillian Murphy's character's head. Got it? The basic idea of the film is not that complicated, but the successful execution of "inception" requires Murphy's character to be taken into a dream within a dream within a dream. As one reviewer mentioned, this device allows director Nolan to have not one but three ticking clock scenarios for the audience to watch and, in my opinion, raises the level of suspense to a fever-pitch.
The story is further complicated by Cobb's subconscious, which features his ex-wife Mal Cobb, played magnificently by Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. She is infiltrating his dreamscape and doing her best to foil his plans. Other important supporting characters are played by Pete Postlethwaite (Murphy's near-death father), a near unrecognizable Tom Berenger (Murphy's right-hand man) and 2-time Oscar winner Michael Caine as Cobb's father-in-law and mentor.
Nolan gets immense respect from me for writing and directing such an ambitious piece of film-making that can be also be successfully marketed as summer blockbuster popcorn entertainment.
Running Time: 2 hours, 28 minutes. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout.
Overall Grade: A+/A (4.167/4.0).