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Like a Recurring Dream, 'Inception' Lingers

Combining larger-than-life sets and a mind-bending plot, director Christopher Nolan creates a complex, entertaining film

By combining larger-than-life sets and a mind-bending plot, 'Inception' director Christopher Nolan creates an intelligent, highly entertaining film.
By combining larger-than-life sets and a mind-bending plot, 'Inception' director Christopher Nolan creates an intelligent, highly entertaining film.

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Penelope Poulou

In "Inception," director Christopher Nolan weaves a visual extravaganza about dreams. The much-anticipated science fiction thriller grossed over $60 million during the first weekend of its release, crowning it a blockbuster.

Dom Cobb is not your average hacker. He can travel into a person's subconscious and steal his innermost secrets. To do that he enters people's dreams.  

But Cobb is growing tired of corporate crime. He wants to live a normal life. To do that he must perform one last job for Saito, a mega tycoon who holds the key to Cobb's safe return to the United States.

Instead of extracting information, Saito wants to plant an idea into the mind of his corporate enemy. Once the idea is rooted, it would bring down his competitor. The technique is called inception.

"At the heart of "Inception," is the notion that an idea is indeed a resilient parasite. It's like a virus. It can be communicated to other people," says Nolan.

To make the film's dream world concrete, Nolan uses grand sets in six different countries. They provide a different texture for every dream and a layered dream world. He leads characters and the audience deeper and deeper into the subconscious, combining an elaborate heist with science fiction and psychological drama.

The cast adds complexity to the story. Leonardo DiCaprio plays master extractor Dom Cobb. Although he appears to maintain control in the midst of chaos, he actually crumbles under the weight of his own emotions and his regrets.  

French actress Marion Cotilliard plays Mal, which means "bad" in French. She is a malcontent, the dream-like projection of Cobb's dead wife.

Ellen Page is Ariadne. In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the princess who helped guide Theseus out of the Minotaur's deadly labyrinth.

Here, Ariadne is Cobb's architect of dreams. She is also his emotional and spiritual guide, the one who provides a reality check for him.

At its core, the film contains a heartbreaking love story and an existential dilemma

For the actors, it was demanding. They perform their own stunts, says DiCaprio.

"Well, there were a lot of situations throughout the entire course of the film whether we were all wrapped up in cables floating through an elevator shaft or whether we were being soaked by a massive water tank that was blasting around us."

By combining larger-than-life sets and a mind-bending plot, Nolan creates an intelligent, highly entertaining and dramatic film.

One may need to watch it more than once to penetrate the different layers of the human condition.

Unfortunately, too many action sequences overpower the story and its existential issues.

But like a recurring dream, this is a movie that's hard to forget.  

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