The fluidity of time and the permeability of dreams is tested in the new fantasy/sci fi/high tech thriller Inception.
Cobb (Leonardo di Caprio) is a man who can't go home, no matter how much he wants to as his two small children are there, so he is forced to take his peculiar talents on the road, and sell them to the highest bidder. His current job can be counted a failure when he doesn't get what the Cobol Corporation wants him to steal from Saito (Ken Watababe), thanks to one of his team who sells him out. But Saito has a counter proposition - despite the fact that he has been auditioning Cobb, he wants to have him use inception, rather than extraction - to implant an idea, not steal one. Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) maintains it can't be done, but Cobb says it can, he's done it.
The new job involves implanting an idea into the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), whose father is about to kick the bucket, leaving him to inherit his fortune. The idea is that he wishes to divest himself of the holdings, break them up. Cobb needs a new architect, after the defection/loss of the last one, so he approaches his father-in-law, Miles (Michael Caine), who leads him to Ariadne (Ellen Page). Cobb reveals to her the concept of shared dreaming, and explains what it means to be an architect. He recruits two more players for his team - forger Eames (Tom Hardy) and chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao). What he has in mind won't be easy, because it involves more than just a dream within a dream - it involves a dream within a dream within a dream, which means they will be under such heavy sedation that being wakened from the dream will not be so easy as to "die". Rather, dying is highly undesirable, as it will throw the dreamer into an endless limbo from which exit may not be possible, or may take many years. Mistakes are made, and problems encountered, including the appearance of Mrs. Cobb. Ariadne determines just what a threat Cobb's late wife poses, but tells no one yet, as Cobb claims he has it all under control, but does he? When one of the team is injured by trained opposition from the mind of Fischer, the job turns deadly - can it possibly turn out right? And will Saito keep his word, will he make it possible for Cobb to be with his kids once more?
To put it simply - Inception rocks!. Christopher Nolan has done it again, with a fast-paced thoughtful film, which will keep you wondering and guessing throughout its more than two and a half hours as to what will happen. You will forget which is the dream and which the reality, as you descend the various dream levels with the protagonists. Cobb has definite issues, and the continual insertion of his late wife into the scenario does not bode well - she is trying to reclaim him to the life which they once had. She is convinced that he is the delusional one, which of them is right? Joseph Gordon-Levitt is picture perfect as Arthur, the Point Man, looking mighty good. In fact, all the guys are looking great, and kudos to the wardrobe mistress for their wonderful suits. Hans Zimmer's score is amazing - especially his use of the lower brass instruments during times of great suspense, just the right combination to tickle your nerves and keep you on the edge of your seat. Fischer has issues with his dying father. Will the implanting of this idea be a boon to him, or a disservice? The film raises, and leaves unanswered, ethical questions about what this team is doing in their invasion of another man's mind and dreams simply because they are paid to do so? The editing and cinematography are excellent! I think my favorite scene has to be with Arthur and the elevator, and his ingenuity therein. Also, the explanation of the "kick", which is demonstrated by repeatedly kicking the legs of Arthur's chair out from under him! Having seen this film twice, I would gladly see it again. Not too many films rate such repeat viewings, but this one does.