Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Inception follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb as he and his team agree to use their dream-invading technology to plant an idea into the mind of a CEO (Cillian Murphy’s Robert Fischer) – with the risky plan made all-the-more difficult by Cobb’s ongoing issues with his deceased wife (Marion Cotillard’s Mal). Filmmaker Nolan delivers a predictably labyrinthine narrative that admittedly does take a while to get going (and contains a first half suffused with perhaps just a little too much exposition), and yet there’s little doubt that Inception, for the bulk of its 148 minutes, comes off as an engrossing thriller that’s overflowing with memorable and completely captivating set pieces – with, especially, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s now-infamous gravity-defying hallway fight certainly standing as an obvious highlight within the proceedings. The picture’s decidedly complex bent, which forces the viewer to pay serious attention to every little aspect of the production, ensures that Inception only grows more and more intriguing as it progresses, and there’s little doubt, ultimately, that the final hour, set within four separate levels of dreaming, is just about as compelling and eye-popping as anything Nolan’s ever done. The superb performances – DiCaprio’s typically intense work is matched by a solid supporting cast that includes Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, and Michael Caine – effectively cement Inception‘s place as a thoroughly top-notch bit of blockbuster filmmaking, and it remains fairly clear that there are few directors operating on Nolan’s level within modern-day Hollywood.

***1/2 out of ****

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