Inception (2010)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Ken Wanatabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Pete Postlethwaite, Tom Berenger

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb in Christopher Nolan's Inception

Every so often, a film comes along that's just so damned good, it makes me feel utterly euphoric. The last couple of movies that weaved this magic for me were Drag Me To Hell and Up (I know, I know, there's no accounting for tastes). And now… Inception.

I've been looking forward to this film for months (or should that be 'eagerly anticipating this movie event'?), and yet, when it came to it, I was apprehensive. Could Christopher Nolan's 'intelligent blockbuster' really live up to the huge amount of critical hyperbole it's inspired? Could anything? (Although having said that, I'd have gone to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel if it had offered me Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy all on the same screen – hubba hubba!)

Well, I'll put you out of your misery. Inception is, as I gushed to my sister on the phone the minute I left the cinema, like, the best film ever.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Cillian Murphy in Inception

Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is an 'extractor', an 'ideas thief' who insinuates himself into people's minds while they're dreaming to steal their deepest, most valuable secrets. He's the best in the business, yet his skills have cost him dear, resulting in exile from the US and a price on his head – oh, and a host of skeletons in his dream closet that pop up to haunt him every time he closes his eyes.

So when Japanese billionaire Saito (Ken Wanatabe) offers him the chance to redeem himself by carrying out one final job, he has little choice but to accept. The catch – this job requires him not to extract an idea but to implant one, through a complex and highly dangerous process called inception.

Tom Hardy as Eames in Inception

Like a heist movie where the aim is to replace the Koh-i-Noor diamond rather than steal it, Cobb must plant the seed of an idea in the mind of one Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the heir to a world-dominating business empire. And, like all good master criminals, he must assemble a crack team to help him. Step up brilliant architect student Ariadne (Ellen Page), crack mental forger Eames (Tom Hardy), underground chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) and trusty sidekick Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). And bring on the action…

A cross between The Matrix, Ocean's 11 and the best Bond film never made, Inception is simply dazzling. The plot is enough of a mind-f**k to keep you on the edge of your seat, yet the twists and turns are all utterly essential and logical – there's no deliberately confusing nonsense here (Richard Kelly take note). The action and special effects are simply awesome (I found myself holding my breath at several points in the movie), and the characters distinct, fascinating and perfectly portrayed. I mean – what a cast!

But perhaps the most interesting thing about Inception is the way it insidiously plants an idea in the minds of the audience, blurring the accepted boundaries between mental and physical and calling into question the very nature of reality. And how much kudos is Christopher Nolan due for wrapping this up in the package of an action-packed summer blockbuster.

Mind-bending and mind-blowing, this is definitely the film of the year so far. I'm just sorry my star rating only goes up to five…

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