For those who have not seen Inception and don't want to be spoiled, do not peak below.
We have not seen many movies at the theater this summer, but with the kid at camp, we went to see Inception. Both my wife and I were not entirely enthused, but this movie was the one out that we could see and not worry about post-camp trauma. So, we went in with reasonable rather than high expectations, especially since the director, Christopher Nolan, made a very illogical previous movie--Dark Knight. On the other hand, he also made Memento, which was a terrific albeit confusing movie.
So, a movie about dreams is going to be dizzying, confusing and a mess, right? Um, no. This movie was incredibly linear. Sure, dreams may have multiple levels, but, in this movie, there is a straightforward connection between each level. I don't think this really represents dreams realistically if that makes sense, but serves the purpose of the movie.
One thing this movie does is explain everything all along the way, starting with the first scenes which show their attempt to steal an idea and that you may end up playing at multiple levels. The Ellen Page character serves as our entree into everything since she is a rookie and a skeptical one, and has to have stuff explained to her. That is, until she figures out stuff better than everybody else and then forces Leo DiCaprio's character to explain stuff to her and us.
Along the way, there is good action--one of the dreams apparently takes place in the midst of an Alpine James Bond movie while Joseph Gordon-Levitt demonstrates that he would have been an able Spiderman. And some good humor, especially with the aforementioned JGL providing the punchlines.
Was it the best film of the year? Not sure, but we have not seen that many great movies this year, so the pickings are slim. It certainly is in the running right now. Is it Oscar-tastic? Probably not, as better movies may come along. Is it better than the most recent Batman movie? Well, in terms of plot, certainly. In terms of performances, no. Is it transformative? No, not at all. We have seen the special effects portrayed here before, although this one does a better job than most of amping up the tension, something I am perhaps valuing more than in the past.
And it does look that Ellen Page can and will be playing high school and college students for the next twenty years.