I saw this movie at the IMAX yesterday, the night of it's release. A lot of hype surrounded it, mainly because of the huge success of Nolan's last release, The Dark Knight. Being a fan of Nolan's, I also had high expectations. I couldn't be more pleased to say I was not disappointed.
The general rule in cinema is that, the bigger a movie gets (in terms of scale, budget and special effects) the more it will sacrifice in terms of intelligence and originality. I would say this is a fairly reliable general rule of thumb (for example Avatar is one of the most expensive film ever made, created with the most cutting edge effects on offer today - but it's plot is basically Pocahontas. Not to say I didn't enjoy Avatar, but it wasn't the most challenging of movies.)
But you know what they say, rules are made to be broken. Inception did it in style! And I don't just mean it had a decent plot, that would be a massive understatement. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Inception is the most cerebral and mind bending film I have seen since The Matrix. Basically, don't take your eye off the ball because it doesn't keep to the conventions of normal linear cinema.
I wont give away any spoilers because I would hate to ruin this film for anybody, so I'll just lay out the general idea behind the movie. A technology has been developed which allows people to enter a person's mind and either steal an idea (extraction) or plant one (inception.) Enter Dom Cobb (DiCaprio), a man troubled by his past (which literally haunts him) who is the best in the business and is offered the mother of all mind jobs. In order to pull off the mission he will need the help of a specialist team, each with a specialist ability - an architect (Page), a point man (Gordon-Levitt), a forger (Hardy) and a chemist (Rao).
The best way to describe this movie is a Russian doll - dreams within dreams and worlds within worlds. The mind is a paradoxical maze - Nolan creates these worlds perfectly and they are a truly beautiful and breathtaking stage for events to unfold upon. This includes a stunning fight sequence in a corridor with shifting gravity, impossible staircases and entire cityscapes which are completely malleable.
Another special thing about this movie is the ensemble cast which supports DiCaprio - who by the way has really hit his stride as a lead man after Shutter Island. Some of the brightest stars of "future Hollywood" feature in this movie. Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Brick) and Tom Hardy (Bronson, Stuart: A Life Backwards) all provide great performances. I especially enjoyed the banter between Gordon-Levitt and Hardy, it really added a streak of humour to this movie. Nolan regulars Cillian Murphy, Michael Cane and Ken Watanabe also put in solid performances.
Please make the first time you see this movie be at the cinema - the dynamic visuals and Hans Zimmer's epic soundtrack deserve that much. Inception has so much to offer - action sequences, love interests and one of the most original plots you're likely to see for a while. When the credits rolled people actually clapped and we all left the IMAX with massive smiles on our faces - it really was a movie buffs dream (excuse the pun.)
In a word - slick.