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Inception: movie review

Leonardo DiCaprio plays an espionage expert who taps into people’s dreams to steal secrets in 'Inception,' Christopher Nolan's latest noir narrative.

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Leonardo DiCaprio plays an espionage expert, in the new movie 'Inception.'

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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Writer-director Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” is about an espionage expert, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb, who has a highly specialized way of stealing corporate secrets: He extracts them from within the dreams of his targets.

Depending on your taste for narrative logic, Nolan’s penchant for delineating dream states carries either a built-in advantage or a huge liability. If you don’t mind being tossed about in a state of high confusion for 2-1/2 hours, as dreams enfold within dreams and subconscious states are poised in an infinite limbo, then this is your dream movie.

I found myself more inclined to sympathize with Cobb’s notion that, in limbo states, hours can turn into years. After one too many dreams-within-dreams-within-dreams, I was feeling in limbo myself.

Which is not to say that “Inception” isn’t a compelling thrill ride. It’s just not much of a fun ride. Nolan, best known for his “Batman” movies and the time-shifty “Memento,” is very big on noir. For him, black is beautiful – i.e., horrible. When Cobb starts hunting dream worlds, he never encounters anything transcendent inside anybody’s noggin. The darkness of this movie, as was also the case with Nolan’s “Dark Knight,” is magisterially oppressive.

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