CATEGORIES Reviews
InceptionThis summer has been jam-packed with sequels, remakes and, in Hollywood parlance, "material based on existing characters". Inception is the first summer blockbuster out of the gate that comes from an actual original idea. A very original idea, as it turns out.

From the strange imagination of Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan - and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page - comes a world in which technology allows you to plug into another person's unconscious state while they are asleep, stealing information from their brain.

Find out after the jump what we thought of it...
InceptionInception (12A)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Running time: 148 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here

The plot: This summer has been jam-packed with sequels, remakes and, in Hollywood parlance, "material based on existing characters". Inception is the first summer blockbuster out of the gate that comes from an actual original idea. A very original idea, as it turns out. From the strange imagination of Dark Knight director Nolan comes a world in which technology allows you to plug into another person's unconscious state while they are asleep, stealing information from their brain. The challenge for dream hijacker Dom (DiCaprio) and his team of experts is to worm their way into the head of an energy billionaire (Murphy) and plant an idea that will change his future behaviour. It proves a difficult and dangerous task.

What's good about it? Inception is an exhilarating thrill ride that sends your brain racing as you run to keep up with Nolan's ingenious plotting. Very few films have ever commanded this level of commitment from the viewer, and none at this high budgetary level ($175m). It's also a feast for the eyes, as the fluid architecture of the dreamworld sets whole Paris streets in motion and sends shockwaves of explosion and collapse. The class cast includes Ken Watanabe as the businessman who hires Dom; Gordon-Levitt as the latter's right-hand man; and Tom Hardy as the "forger" who can shape-shift and deceive within the chosen target's dream.

What's not so good? We've seen it twice now, and are still struggling to make sense of a confusing action climax on an icy mountain. Nolan cleverly ensures that there is plenty at stake for his characters, despite the action occurring within dreams, but the rules of life, death and limbo are hazy. And despite the tragic back story of Dom's ex-wife (Marion Cotillard), the film's attempts at emotional depth fall flat.

Verdict: While every other studio has played it safe this summer, Warner Bros has made a gutsy gamble that audiences will be willing to follow Nolan down his brainy rabbit-hole. Definitely not recommended for the concentration-averse, but a wholly immersive and thoroughly cinematic experience for anyone hungry for more than empty popcorn pleasure.

Rating: 9 out of 10