Visionary

Visionary writer-director Christopher Nolan makes his return to cinema for the first time since “The Dark Knight” with “Inception,” a refreshingly intricate and visually stimulating alternative to the prequels, sequels and slapstick comedies that constitute this summer’s lineup.

In “Inception,” Nolan creates a dream world. Dom Cobb, played with great emotional depth and ferocity by Leonardo DiCaprio, makes his living by invading the subconscious of slumbering citizens.

Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires Cobb and his crew to do his corporation’s dirty work and carry out a dangerous mission: to plant an idea in someone’s mind. This is to be performed on the son of a dying industrialist, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). While on the job, Cobb is filled with formidable memories of Mal (Marion Cotillard), his wife and the mother of his two children. Dom, in every sense of the word, cannot get Mal out of his head. Mal is a pivotal character in the film and provides the foundation for Cobb’s internal struggles.

The charming Joseph Gordon–Levitt plays Dom’s right-hand man, Arthur. Tom Hardy plays Eames, the “crook” of the team possessing the ability to change his physical appearance, a vital tool in the business. Both actors provide the comic relief in a film that is otherwise a high-stakes thriller. Ariadne, the newcomer (Ellen Page), is recruited by Cobb to work as the architect who constructs the dream world. Ariadne learns as she goes, just as the audience does, and her emotions reflect the audience’s emotions. Batman veteran Michael Caine also stars in the movie.

Inception is a piece of cinematic genius. DiCaprio brings great vigor and strength to his role. With an ensemble cast of leading actors and actresses, as well as a powerful and haunting score by Hans Zimmer, the film takes you on one hell of a ride. Fans of “The Prestige” and “Memento” will not be disappointed in Nolan’s ambitious feature.

Grade: A