Film: 'Inception'; Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao; Director: Christopher Nolan; Rating: ****
It is believed that humans barely use 5 percent of their brain capacity. Most cinema thus involve you only that much. Yet, there are a few that challenge you and thus fall in the other 95 percent of your brain. 'Inception' is one such challenging film.
In a futuristic world where it is possible to trek through a human's mind as if it were a place, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief extraordinaire. He specialises in stealing information from the minds of people. Yet, he is on the run from his own country and his children because he has a warrant on his head for having killed his wife, who it is obvious he loved very much.
When Cobb gets an assignment to do just the reverse of his skill, i.e. to plant an idea instead of stealing it, he takes it because it promises him a return back home to his children.
He gathers a team of men for the mission, and they all realise how difficult the assignment is because no matter what, an idea can be traced back. So, to plant the idea, they not only have to go into his subconscious, but have to go two more levels deeper. Any deeper, and they'd be lost forever.
Things go from bad to worse, when they realised that their subject's mind has been 'militarised' i.e. they have been trained for such mind espionage. The battle to plant a secret becomes a battle for survival against time.
Christopher Nolan, who has given us such psychological thriller like 'Momento' and 'The Dark Knight', enters with confidence into the subconscious and weaves a difficult, but believable, tale of loss, guilt and a chance at self-redemption.
Yet, like most masters of cinema, this is only at the surface. Deep down, the film is about a multitude of things, about your own private hell which is nothing but the demons in your own mind, the tragedy of the beautiful and the beauty of the tragic.
Depending upon your perception of yourself, and your reality, you'll get different things from the film.
DiCaprio returns to his familiar domain, something that he has dabbled with earlier in films like 'Aviator' and 'Shutter Island'. The music from his regular, Oscar winner Hans Zimmer, and the supporting cast and crew is spot on.
Yet, make no mistakes - it is a Christopher Nolan film all the way through. He is the Bergman, the Fellini of Hollywood. He is made of the same cinematic and life intelligence of erstwhile Hollywood masters like Ernst Lubitsch or Elia Kazan. And in the sea of mediocrity that Hollywood is, he is a shining example of what a thinking director can do - not pander to the lowest common denominator of entertainment, and yet make a entertaining and commercially successful film.
In his hands you realise the 'true' potential of special effects, which is not merely to titillate the viewer, but to confront him and leave him squirming in his seat.
If you are a lazy person, who loves to be spoon fed by directors, there perhaps won't be much you'll get from the film. But then, don't blame Nolan for the same.