A spoiler-free guide to Inception

The last time people talked about a new movie this way was The Matrix.

Christopher Nolan is one of the most brilliant filmmakers of our generation. Anyone who’s seen The Dark Knight, Memento, The Prestige, or Insomnia knows this. And now Warner Bros. has given him a blank check to create a thoroughly original, true scifi epic. Which makes Inception the most highly-anticipated-by-geeks movie of the summer.

The marketing campaign for Inception has intentionally kept the film’s plot a secret, but here’s what we do know, and why you should be there opening night. Plus: a complete gallery of still images from the film.

The Story

Most of the plot details are top secret, but it’s said to be a pet project of Nolan’s that he’s been working on for about a decade. WB’s official line says it concerns a group of industrial espionage-like “extractors,” who can steal information by entering a person’s mind through their dreams. The leader of this covert group, Dom Cobb, is the best extractor in the business, but it’s caused him to lose everything he’s ever cared about. He gets one last chance to get his life back when he’s asked to do something no one has ever accomplished before: plant an idea in someone’s mind, instead of steal it.

There’s loads more to it than that, of course, but knowing anything else would be criminal. This is one of those rare movies that you should experience for yourself. Don’t wait until someone else sees it and tells you all about it — their words will undoubtedly be crude and unsuited to the task of describing such a mind-bending film. Those who’ve seen it already are describing it as Ocean’s 11 meets The Matrix, which means it takes elements of a classic heist movie and places them into an imaginative new scifi/fantasy context.

The brilliance of every Christopher Nolan movie is the filmmaker’s ability to use big-budget effects and action sequences to underscore the complex ideas and emotions at work in his characters. Expect to have lots to ponder after you leave the theater.

The Cast

Nolan filled out his cast with actors, not stars. Leonardo DiCaprio headlines a cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt (playing Cobb’s right hand man, Arthur, in a role originally offered to James Franco), Ellen Page (who said that the script was so intense, she was sweating when she finished reading it the first time), Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, and past Nolan players Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Caine.

I’m not the biggest Leonardo DiCaprio fan, but what I’ve seen of him in the trailer gives me hope that he might transcend his boyish, midwesterner drawl. He was once considered one of the most promising young stars in years, so maybe he’s finally found the role that will make people think that again. Gordon-Levitt has been hot on the indie circuit for the last few years (though the less said about GI Joe, the better), as has Page. I’m almost as excited to see this ensemble of serious actors together on screen, as I am about the story.

The Spectacle

Dreams have been depicted on screen before, but Christopher Nolan’s eye for realism and his insistence on using practical locations and props instead of all-CGI, means that we’re about to see a whole new take on dreams. Anyone who’s seen the trailers has already gotten glimpses of eye-popping cities that fold up, rotating hallways, and freight trains barreling off-rails through a downtown metro. I can’t wait to see what the trailers haven’t shown us.

Another Nolan trademark is his distaste for slow-motion. Slow-mo is a staple of the modern action movie, allowing awesome moments to linger on screen for a bit longer than it could in reality. But Nolan doesn’t like the effect, his penchant for realism again making him to strive for authenticity and truth in every way possible.

Filming took the cast and crew around the world to places like Tangiers, Calgary, Tokyo, Paris, and Los Angeles.

Inception is my “must see” film of the summer, and I’d like to hope that most intelligent geeks would agree with me. Finally, a movie has come along to rescue us from remake-and-reboot-itis! A genuinely original story! Just when I almost forgot what those are like!

Click here to visit the official Inception website, and be sure to take a look through our full photo gallery.

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Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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