Sorry to say it, but Inception is not one of those films.
I was pretty pumped for it. It has Christopher Nolan, one of the great filmmakers. Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the great actors. Unfortunately, it falls flat.
I’m going to get into a very spoiler-filled discussion of the plot, so if you haven’t seen this piece of dreck you should stop now.
The movie opens up with Michael Caine and DiCaprio watching the Robin Williams film What Dreams May Come. DiCaprio says, “Robin Williams is a hell of an actor.” Caine replies brusquely, “Yeah. He’s a much better actor than your dead wife!” The two of them get into a well choreographed 25 minute fist fight which features swords, nunchakus, pyrotechnics, and a laser light show. The fight itself is amazing, but it does nothing to move the plot forward. Also, the realism is affected by the fact that Michael Caine’s stunt double is a black guy.
After DiCaprio bludgeons Caine with a bust of Beethoven, ending the brawl, he looks directly into the camera and states, “Now that I just pwned Alfred, whaddya say we go steal some dreams?”
DiCaprio travels to his office, where his company has the not so subtle name of “DiCaprio’s Dreamstealers,” even though DiCaprio’s name in the film is Cobb. There, we meet his staff: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, and an unexpected cameo from Ben Kingsley playing the same character he played in Shutter Island. As DiCaprio fills out some tedious paperwork (another twenty minute block of the film), he looks up at Kingsley and says, “Hey, did you ever find those invoices I asked you about?”
“Uhh, no,” says Kingsley. “It’s as if they evaporated…straight through the walls.”
DiCaprio gets so pissed that he fires Kingsley on the spot. Before Kingsley leaves, he launches into an impromptu Gandhi impression, seemingly just to prove that he’s a superior actor. Several members of the crew attempt to restrain him and pull him away. They’re unsuccessful until a key grip smacks him over the head with a boom mic. One wonders why this whole exchange wasn’t edited out of the final cut.
With Kingsley’s departure, DiCaprio is forced to interview a new assistant. He brings in Ellen Page. As DiCaprio asks her the standard interview questions, he breaks into a stirring rendition of Gary Wright’s Dreamweaver. After he goes through the song three or four times, it becomes clear that the script isn’t complete and they’re just killing time. More evidence of this: Gordon-Levitt openly checks his watch, and Tom Hardy yells out, “Maybe we could play Jenga or something.” DiCaprio waves this suggestion off as he kicks his chair away and launches into a spirited version of Billy Ocean’s Get Outta My Dreams (Get Into My Car).
Once the film hits the hour mark – the minimum amount of time required to make a feature length film – Chris Nolan emerges from behind the camera dressed in a Batman suit made out of $100 bills. He lights a cigar and says directly into the camera, “Y’all should check out Memento. Now that was a hell of a picture.” He chuckles softly to himself, repeats the refrain: “A hell of a picture!” and walks off camera.
And that’s pretty much it.