As much as I want to describe in meticulous detail the ways upon ways that I loved Christopher Nolan's Inception, there's a part of me that almost wants you to not read this until you've seen the film itself. Not unlike Warner Brothers' marketing campaign has suggested, it's a film that benefits from knowing as little as possible about it before seeing it, because its individual twists and turns are almost as exciting to discover as their cumulative visceral, intellectual and emotional impact. In which case, I will do my best for those continuing to read further to avoid too many spoilers or specifics in the service of proclaiming Inception a stunning achievement and the most completely entertaining film I've seen in years.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, an expert in what the film calls extraction, the theft of secrets or information from the subconscious mind. After botching a job thanks to the intrusion of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), Cobb finds an unlikely opportunity for redemption from one of his former victims: Saito (Ken Watanabe), CEO of a flourishing multinational, offers him amnesty in exchange for planting an idea – known as inception – within the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), one of Saito's competitors. Enlisting the help of teammates Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne (Ellen Page), Eames (Tom Hardy), and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), Cobb reluctantly agrees to the mission, only to discover that the mind's defenses are more formidable than any physical threat he could face.