Inception – living the dream

Writer/director Christopher Nolan’s latest film is still looping through my mind after tonight’s viewing — it’s a tad exhausting.

In Inception, Nolan, who did a superb job re-energising the Batman franchise, casts Leonardo DiCaprio — far from the prow of the Titanic, thank goodness — as renegade spy Cobb who can enter a sleeping person’s dream and root out hidden or suppressed knowledge therein. Wanted by the law and with his wife, um, problematic, he sees an intensely dangerous mission as his one last chance of getting to live his life with his children. He leads a team of dream-shapers into a rich businessman’s dreams, not to extract, but to implant a ruinous suggestion that will earn Cobb his freedom to be a father.

There are dreams within dreams in this clever heist movie, where the treasure is an idea and the vault a man’s subconscious mind. Cobb’s relationship with his wife adds a gorgeous undertow to the movie’s arc as the action sequences, the kind we used to see in James Bond, pile up. My one negative about the flick was that there was perhaps too much bad shooting, too many shoot-outs and chases and fisticuffs that didn’t do much more than look pretty (some, very pretty indeed).

As the credits roll, we’re left with a question akin to that notably posed by The Matrix and a large section of the Philip K Dick canon: what is reality, and is it any more reliable, or preferable, than the dream?

A blog at NME suggests a few movies that cover similar terrain to Inception, and you’ll find a couple more amongst the at-times snarky reader comments (Dark City and Eternal Sunshine… were two that came to my mind quick smart, and I rate them both highly).

Another good thing about Inception was that it has completely erased (well, almost) the bad taste left by Predators, which we saw last week when Inception was all but sold out at the theatre and, well, since we were there… bad mistake. Should’ve got a takeaway and gone home to finish off Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. I had hoped Predators might breathe some life into the franchise, but it went from improbable to dull very quickly indeed.