Written by J.T. Johnson
Christopher Nolan, the man behind such films as “Memento”, “The Prestige” and “The Dark Knight”, takes audiences on another Psychological thrill ride. One of the biggest things that the audience needs to know is the following message: PAY ATTENTION! This is definitely not a film where one needs to get up during the middle it to go to the restroom or get more popcorn. Just order the jumbo tub of popcorn and take it easy on the soda.
The film introduces audiences to Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man who takes jobs to steal industrial secrets from rival companies. What sets Dom apart from other thieves is the fact that he steals the secrets by delving into their CEO’s dreams and infiltrating their subconscious minds. This is due to a new technology that was developed by Dom and his father (Michael Caine).
Dom uses the new technology as a thief due to the fact that he is currently on the run for something that he did in the U.S. This is where a businessman named Saito (Ken Watanabe) asks for Dom’s services in exchange for Saito getting the charges against Dom erased. But this time, Saito wants Dom to actually implant an idea into his rival’s (Cillian Murphy) brain that will cause the rival, Robert Fischer, to tear his business empire apart.
Soon, Dom forms a team that includes Ariadne (Ellen Page), the woman who constructs the dream world, and his right-hand man, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). To bring the humor to the script and bring his skills at disguising himself as someone that Richard might know is Eames (Tom Hardy). All the characters play a part in the story and all the performers bring the fullest extent of their talents.
Page has one of the most difficult parts in the whole film. Since Ariadne is new to the process of building dreams, the character gets to ask all of the questions that the audience ponders. More importantly, she learns of Dom’s secret past throughout the movie and becomes his conscience in a way. Thanks to another bit of good casting by Nolan, Page turns out to be the perfect choice to play the character and she has good chemistry with her lead co-star.
Despite the mission he must complete, though, the main story is about the personal struggles that Dom is facing. Dom’s own personal demons are even manifested in the dream world, a secret that not only endangers his mission but his team as well. DiCaprio, an actor known for playing troubled characters in films such as “The Departed” and “Shutter Island” has no problem being able to relate to this flawed character. This is another great performance and one of his best roles to date.
Nolan has always used interesting editing techniques to help tell his stories. With “Memento”, he told the story backwards in order to relate to the character’s predicament. Here, he uses techniques to help visualize the process of falling into a dream. Just as an example, if a person is in the dream, then the camera switches to high-speed in the real world to represent the different scale of time that the dream world lives by. Also, if a van rolls over with the sleeping occupants, things like gravity and weather change in the landscape of the dream.
Another great thing to see was Nolan’s take on the dream world. Since real world rules don’t apply, it leads to plenty of interesting action sequences. One of the best involves Arthur and a man fighting as gravity changes around them. At one point, the characters find themselves in multiple dreamscapes and the film becomes a juggling act that the filmmaker handles flawlessly.
With Nolan, one gets the satisfaction of knowing that along with the action, they also get the refreshing fact that the movie has a brain. Also, it will leave the audience wanting to see it again as soon as possible.