Dom Cobb(Leonardo DiCaprio) specializes in stealing secrets from people by getting into their mind and being part of their dreams. He is assisted by Arthur(Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who researches the mark and Nash, the architect of the dream world. At present, they are trying to steal critical information from Saito(Ken Watanabe). So far, Saito has proved a formidable enemy who knows what Cobb and his team are planning. Cobb is able to extract most of the critical information when he realizes Saito has been auditioning him for a far more important task.
Saito wants Cobb to implant an idea in someone’s mind; the operation named as inception. The mark is Robert Fischer Jr(Cilian Murphy), the son of Saito’s competitor. Cobb agrees to this impossible mission base on certain conditions. After accepting the mission, Cobb hunts for a suitable architect and zeroes in on the young Ariadne(Ellen Page), who is also a student of his father-in-law Miles(Michael Caine). Once the architect is selected, Cobb convinces Eames(Tom Hardy) to be the Forger in their team who can impersonate other characters inside the dream.
Inception is not easy! In order to successfully place an idea inside the subconscious mind, Cobb will have create many levels of dream; each level deeper and longer than the previous. For this reason, he also hires Yusuf as the Chemist who supplies the sedatives needed for the operation. Since Saito is funding the operation, he also joins in their mission to see if goods are really being delivered. When the team is getting readied, Cobb has recurring and disturbing visions of his wife Mal(Marion Cotillard) and his children. The rest of the movie takes you on a whirlwind journey into minds and deeper minds.
Christopher Nolan writes and directs this thriller. He is successful in writing a thriller based on dreams, providing plenty of thrills throughout the film which perplexes and also challenges the audience. As a director, he is successful in translating the vision to screen. The movie is about dreams and dreams within dreams. So, most of the movie unfolds in surrealistic environments. In spite of this, the director never confuses the audience. He also never solves the mystery completely. Instead, he directs the audience to the path of solving it themselves which makes this a very interactive movie; where minds are engaged. The brilliance of the director can be seen during the culmination of dreams within dreams sequence. Here, action takes place at different locations. We have seen this umpteen times before where brilliant editing shifts focus from one location to another building the tempo and suspense. Now, imagine the same happening at different levels of mind instead of locations. If you are confused, it is seen to be believed. The action sequences pushes the envelope especially the one involving Arthur in the hotel room and the elevator. The slow motion which captures the slow fall of the characters into the water deserves special mention. The fall occurring at two places in the movie is agonizing slow; yet visually beautiful.
Leonardo DiCaprio puts in an excellent performance as Cobb! The whole story revolves around Cobb and Leo's Cobb is energetic, resourceful and secretive. Leo makes the audience to repeatedly question the reality. Joseph Gordon-Levitt surprises with his performance as Arthur. Arthur is Cobb’s sidekick. But instead of resorting to corny lines, Joseph delivers a powerful performance using composure in difficult scenarios. He is is in the background; but always visible to us. Ken Watanabe as selfish Saito is effective. Ellen Page’s Ariadne is an extension of her role in Juno. She is smart, quick and full of questions. Tom Berenger appears in a small role as Fischer’s godfather. Michael Caine has nothing much to do.