As a movie, “Inception” needed the technical achievements of the Computer Graphics Industry (CGI) in order that the plot could be brought to a dream life on the big screen--which is to say that if Director Nolan had been denied a bit of digital wizardry, he might have had a more thought-provoking movie that would also have made more sense. I suspect that ninety percent of any audience witnessing this movie would be hard pressed to give a coherent plot diagnosis without a nimble secretary, dim lights, and a glass of good wine. This movie is not a master-piece, in fact it’s not even a minor-piece but proof that the CGI is able to produce almost anything that a writer or director can imagine, in stunning reality.
It seems that walking among us are folks who are technically adept at entering anybody’s dreams to steal secrets ranging from memories of scandal to combinations for big safes full of industrial secrets. DiCaprio plays such an agent. But he’s hired not to steal a secret but to implant an idea into the victim’s head, something that is described in the plot as almost impossible to achieve. Of course any scriptwriter of merit would quickly point out that stealing a secret is far harder to do than implant an idea. Why look at most of today’s politicians to note that any idea (short of interpretations of string theory) can be picked up and regurgitated by any member of most any party, but seems to be easier with the Senate than the House.
In "Inception" there are three levels of dreams: The top level moves along at real time, while deeper into the unconscious mind, for every hour by the clock, a day has passed. But enter the third level and you can live a lifetime, winding up walking strange cities, holding your partner’s hand, the fingers wrinkled with 80 years of age.
DiCaprio puts together his own private gang of thieves, including an architect to insure that any dreamscapes are true enough to reality that the dreamer is convinced everything it real. There are some great shots including a scene (American Express did it first in a TV commercial) where Dicaprio and his chosen architect (Ellen Page) are seated at a café in Paris, when suddenly everything around them explodes and files through the air--tomatoes and brioches to mention a few--while the two calmly sip their coffee. Or in a later scene the entire city rises up at the horizon then yawns overhead, with sky bound traffic wheeling along at a swift speed, defying the laws of gravity. And there’s one great set piece of a white panel truck that drives off of a bridge and falls for over twenty minutes while the sleeping gang inside dreams with even deeper sleep.
Of course, it’s all great fun but like most dreams, once you wake and walk from the theatre, you’ll have to try hard to remember what happened for the last two hours.