I must admit, I went into Christopher Nolan's (The Dark Knight, Memento) new movie, Inception, assuming I was going to love it. And even after the theatre lost the sound, turned the house lights on, and took 30 minutes to re-start the movie, I still found it breathtaking. Nolan has been working on the script for Inception for the last decade, and trust me, it shows. He takes something as complicated and ephemeral as a dream and makes it concrete, almost understandable, and a shared experience. Something like the feeling of falling during sleep becomes a base everyone can touch on that helps bring us further into a world where hijacking thoughts is altogether possible.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a mind thief, working in the field of corporate espionage, and he is hired for the obligatory 'one last job.' However, Nolan takes familiar premises and turns them into new and spectacular feat of filmmaking within the heist framework. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the very capable sidekick, but Ellen Page wows as the newcomer who is taking a crash-course in dream burglary. Page is the audience stand-in, trying to work out in her mind what mind thieves do and how it all works, while figuring out what is behind DiCaprio's wounded backstory. The actors are as believable as the brilliant backdrops Nolan creates in this mindbending caper.
In a season that is full of 3D trainwrecks, this 2D film feels more real than any Titans in Persian Wonderland. The layered worlds come to life and pop out of the screen and into our realities with seemless CG effects and actors that move smoothly in and out of countless locales. Gordon-Levitt is somehow believable in the scene peddled in the trailers where he fights his way through a rotating hallway, and Page deconstructs her reality with booming curiosity.
Without giving too much away, Cotillard should get an Oscar nod for her role as DiCaprio's love interest, and although some reviewers (I'm talking to you, EW!) think that his traditional values ring false, he makes the love of a husband and father sincere - which in this day and age of movies, is hard to do. Anyway, go see Inception! The first screening possible! Show Hollywood that we still know what good movies are, and that movies with fight sequences don't have to cast Gerard Butler.