Inception (2010)

Big-budget action movies entered new territory – namely the subconscious – with Christopher Nolan’s cerebral blockbuster about secret agents with access to our dreams.

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Film details


“Inception may be the brainiest hokum ever released in a cinematic summer. Imagine Last Year in Marienbad wandering into the orbit of producer Jerry Bruckheimer.”
Nigel Andrews, Financial Times, 2010

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) heads a team of extractors (nothing to do with dentistry) who can enter another person’s mind to steal secrets from their subconscious. Cobb has been hired to plant rather than purloin: a businessman needs the son and heir of a dying competitor to break up the old man’s empire. The idea isn’t going to pop into his head, so Cobb must insinuate it into his dreams. If that synopsis sounds dry as dust, it’s brough to life by Nolan’s imaginative sweep. The movie leads the viewer through the various disorientating levels of the subconscious with great verve.

The phenomenal success of Inception (which also won four Oscars) proves that mass audiences will flock to movies for which mental agility is not only required but demanded.

Dreamscape (1983) dealt inventively with similar material on a smaller budget. Mind-games play an important role in DiCaprio’s other release of the same year, Shutter Island (2010).

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