Thursday, 24 November 2011
Inception (5 Stars)
Inception: the word means the beginning of something. That isn't the meaning of the word in this film. It's used to describe an innovative technology. If a "conception" is an idea that people have, "inception" is planting an idea into someone's head.
No date is named, wisely, but the scenario is the present day, maybe the near future. Everything looks familiar, but a new criminal technology has been developed. It is possible to enter another person's dream and persuade him to reveal secrets that he would never disclose while awake. This technology is called "extracting" and is the perfect means for industrial espionage.
Dom Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is an extractor, the best in his field. He's hired to steal the secrets from a Japanese businessman, Saito, but fails because Saito is ready for the attack. Saito is nevertheless impressed with Cobb's skill and hires him to do a new job, planting a thought into the heir of a rival company to make him break up the company on his father's death.
The remainder of the film is a dizzying mix of visual effects and mind-bending plots. Cobb and Saito sink deeper and deeper into the heir's mind, until they're in a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. Battles are being fought on all of the dream levels simultaneously. This is a complex film that requires the viewer to think actively in order to keep up with what's happening. Unlike films of similar complexity -- "Donnie Darko", "Lost Highway", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" -- there is no slow buildup. The viewer is challenged from the first minutes, and is even left dangling at the end. In the final scene the film ends while we're waiting to see if the top will stop spinning.
I didn't intend to watch "Inception". After its Oscar successes there seemed to be too much hype around it. Then two weeks ago there was a list of the 50 best films ever made in a German magazine. "Inception" was in first place, so I thought I'd check it out. And I'm not disappointed. Far from it. It's definitely one of the best films I've ever seen. Not the best, but in my top 20 at least. It's a film worth watching over and over again, so wait for my next reviews.