InceptionBy Karen Wilson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout.
Genre: Action Adventure/Psychological Drama
Release Date: July 16, 2010
Running Time: 2 hours and 28 minutes
Plot Synopsis: Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a master at what he does – entering people's dreams and extracting their deepest secrets. But when Saito (Ken Watanabe), a high-powered exec, offers Cobb a chance to reverse charges that keep him from returning to his two young children in the US, he accepts. The job is risky – Saito wants Cobb and his team to break into the mind of the son a main competitor and plant an idea in his subconscious – aka "inception." But it's actually Cobb's own troubled past that may be the biggest threat to the success of the mission and the safety of everyone involved.
Sex/Nudity: Arthur kisses Ariadne on the lips. Cobb and Mal share loving looks and hold hands. A busty (but covered) blonde lady flirts with Fischer at the hotel bar.
Violence/Gore: Nearly the entire film is filled with non-stop violence – including lots of people getting shot dead, vehicle crashes, bomb explosions, and hand-to-hand fighting and killing. One of the basic premises of this world is that a way to immediately get out of a dream is to die, which will just wake you up back into reality. One character unknowingly jumps to her death thinking it will wake her from her "dream."
Profanity: Surprisingly no four-letter words are used. A few phrases like "goddamn it," "Jesus Christ," "hell," "ass," and "damn" are uttered by characters.
Which Kids Will Like It? Teenagers will love the action-packed nature of this film and the mind-bending special effects. Cerebral teens will also like trying to decipher the dichotomy between reality and dream world that keeps everyone guessing. This movie is far too violent for any kids under the age of 13.
Will Parents Like It? Adults who liked director Christopher Nolan's previous films like Memento and The Dark Knight will greatly enjoy this dark, intense story centered on this world of complex dreamscapes.
Kaboose Review: Writer-director Christopher Nolan scores again with this multi-layered film that will have viewers leaving the theater with more trepidation about their own dreams.
The premise is easy to understand at its simplest: Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) must lead his team in the difficult task of "inception" – planting an idea in the subconscious of Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), an energy company heir while he is dreaming -- at the behest of a powerful businessman named Saito (Ken Watanabe). The payout for Cobb is not money, but the chance to have criminal charges removed from his record so he can return home to his children – which Saito says he has the power to do with just one phone call.
But for a man with such a remarkable skill, Cobb is far from happy. With a seemingly constantly furrowed brow, DiCaprio's Cobb is a man wholly plagued with regret over the circumstances surrounding the death of his beautiful wife Mal, played with haunting and menacing vigor by French actress Marion Cotillard. It his Cobb's projection of Mal who now haunts his dreams every time he closes his eyes – a constant reminder of things he cannot change in the "real" world.
Most folks will leave the theater dissecting the ins and outs of the "rules" that apply to time and the characters' subconscious states during the thrilling (and sometimes confusing) latter half of the film set in the characters' shared dreams. Nolan keeps things suspenseful by shifting time back and forth as the characters start to go deeper and deeper into the dark recesses of the mind by building dreams within dreams. At times you'll want a score card, just to keep track of how fast or slowly time is moving and whose dreams the characters really are interacting in.
But despite all the flashy complexity of the dream state suspense, deep down at its core this film is about the relationship that Cobb has with his family and how far he would go to be with them again, and its DiCaprio's believable performance that keeps us grounded in the midst of a whirlwind of fantastical storylines.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (Cobb), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur), Ellen Page (Ariadne), Tom Hardy (Eames), Ken Watanabe (Saito), Dileep Rao (Yusuf), Cillian Murphy (Robert Fischer, Jr.), Tom Berenger (Browning), Marion Cotillard (Mal)
Movie poster courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.
Karen Wilson is a freelance writer living in New York City.