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Inception

"Inception" is a very good, _very_ fast-paced action movie. (No spoilers in this review.)

Directed by Christopher Nolan, "Inception" has a brew of actors and action that kept me riveted to my seat for the entire movie. It was nice to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt all grown up from "Third Rock from the Sun." Tom Hardy stood out as one of the team (Eames); Cillian Murphy was well-cast as the perhaps weak-willed scion of a ruthless businessman father; I don't think I've seen Lukas Haas since "Mars Attacks," and he's cast here as a loser; Tom Berenger had a role as father-figure/mentor for Murphy's character; and Michael Caine had a small part as Dom Cobb's father with an unexplained British accent. And Cobb, of course, is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

I did not see the movie in iMax; I can't imagine what it would have looked like. The action was thrill-a-second, gunfire and explosions all around the characters even when it was unnecessary, floating without gravity, fist fights, race car style driving in city streets, and much, much more. In my view, the special effects were excellent, keeping their place within the script, although losing 10 or 15 minutes of action would not have left me wanting more (run time as it is is 148 minutes).

In the world of this movie, Cobb and a team of specialists can invade a person's mind through chemically-induced shared dreams and learn secrets from the victim. Cobb is hired to try to plant an idea instead of stealing one. In the dreams, of course, nothing is real and physics is (are?) violated on a whim. Cobb fundamentally has no control over either his victim's dreams or his own, which keep intruding.

Overarching the whole shebang is Cobb's ongoing relationship with his dead wife, the well-named Mal (pronounced in the movie as if it were Moll). Ultimately, Cobb's intended victim and Cobb himself become so intertwined that both have to be saved from a state known as limbo, where the subconscious never awakes. Cobb can save the whole plot only if he saves himself. The depths and levels of subterfuge and game-playing is mind-twisting, but Nolan never loses his place, and neither do we. Very good script and direction to keep us all on track.

I did get tired of Ariadne, whose only purpose seemed to be to voice the problems Cobb was going through and drive home to the audience how precarious Cobb's grasp of reality was. There were a few plot holes, as well, but nothing glaring - stuff was glossed over, everything Cobb's team needed was at hand, too many guys with automatic weapons miss our heroes only to be downed by one shot from a pistol - enough problems that keep me from giving it a better rating. My other misgiving is that Cobb's relationship with his late wife and his concepts of dream and reality were given short shrift in favor of action. At my age I wanted more of the backstory on why he was so in love with her and a better resolution of their relationship. C'est la vie. It's an action movie, after all.

I give it a seven and a half on a scale of ten.

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