Nolan delivers near flawless mind-bender
Christopher Nolan adds yet another mind-bending movie to his canon, following the amnesiac flashbacks of Memento and Insomnia's sleep-deprived trippyness.
This time round it's dreams he wishes to explore: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief of the subconscious, sneaking into people's dreams and stealing their deepest secrets. When asked by the shady Saito (Ken Watanabe) if it was possible to plant an idea instead of removing one (inception as opposed to extraction), Cobb sees an opportunity to atone for the sins lurking in his past, and assembles a team to take on the challenge.
Almost everything about the film is flawless: the cast (bolstered by Nolan regulars Cillian Murphy and Sir Michael Caine) are impeccable, with Marion Cotillard (as Cobb's menacing wife Mal) a chilling highlight; the special effects in the dream sequences are revolutionary in the same way as The Matrix was in 1999; and the plot knits together so tightly it might take two viewings to appreciate the full mastery of it.
The only niggle is Ellen Page: being the young newcomer to Cobb's group of outlaws, her character is lumped with the bulk of the exposition, and she occasionally struggles to carry off her lines without sounding too whiny or over-inquisitive. That said, the rest of the film is impressive enough to overlook such nitpicky grumblings; Nolan's talent for making intelligent blockbusters shows no sign of waning.