Whoda thunk a movie about dreams could be a cure for insomnia.
Inception is a multi-level plot. Sci-fi in multi-levels is like Alice going down the rabbit hole. Be careful, it’s easy to get lost.
Packed with outstanding state-of-the-art effects, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s flick contends that once you plant an idea in a person’s mind, it cannot be eradicated and therefore is irresistible.
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It’s the how and why the idea gets planted is where Nolan’s (The Dark Knight) concept gets cluttered — and where insomnia finds its new cure.
Pun definitely intended, Leonardo DiCaprio heads an acting dream team: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Marion Cotilliard, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and the not-often-seen Tom Berenger.
DiCaprio’s crew has developed a technique where they can pop into a person’s dream, introduce an idea, control its direction and then pop out. One person dreams up the dream’s landscape.
When the mark is asleep, it is planted in that person’s mind. Others on the team then inhabit the dream along with the planter. They then move the mark through a series of dream events designed to get them to the right conclusion.
Conflict comes from characters in the invaded mind. They’re dreamed up by the mark’s subconscious to defend the brain. That defense is to kill the invaders. When one of the invading team dies, they wake up — unless you’re on the wrong level.
Dreams are also hard to control. DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, is battling the loss of his beautiful wife and children. That complicates the story and puts his team in even greater danger.
Did I say complicates? Convolutes might be a better term.
Nolan adds levels of Dreams 1, 2 and 3 to his plot. Three is a very dangerous place that can send you to 4, which is some sort of permanent limbo. Getting from 1 to 2 to 3 is complex. It’s a dream within a dream within a dream.
Corporate espionage dream-style is a stretch. Nolan loads his movie with layers of dream mumbo-jumbo, quasi-scientific theory and pop psychology.
Because it is Christopher Nolan, some are going to automatically love it, over-analyze what he’s trying to say and think this is a deep, brilliant premise, intelligently written and thought-provoking.
Call me stupid. Nolan lost me in the first act.
The hook in the trailer is the effects. They’re stunning and are what will get you to buy a ticket. In places, Nolan has you believing his characters are weightless and able to maneuver the dream universe in unique ways. In other areas, he folds one section of a city on top of another. Great effects, however, can’t overcome a script that has some exceptional actors sleepwalking through their parts.
Inception is so slow and so confusing that you may actually fall asleep. Or wish you were really dreaming and could wake up and dream another movie.
Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, July 16 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.