“INCEPTION”, Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to his 2008 film, “The Dark Knight”, combines big-money action with the uncompromising smarts of his modestly budgeted brain-twister from eight years earlier, “Memento”. That film provoked intense internet debates about its puzzling story, which was told backwards from the point of view of a man with no short-term memory. “Inception” is bound to inspire a whole new level of chatter about Mr Nolan’s deceptive world of dreams.


“Extraction” is the futuristic speciality of which Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is a master—stealing secrets from captains of industry by invading their dreams. At the start of the film he is cracking open a safe in the dreamworld that he and his assistant, Arthur, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) have built to ensnare a tycoon (Ken Watanabe), whose subconscious mind will supply the safe’s contents. We start learning the rules of Cobb’s game on the fly during this breathless introduction, where reality recedes ever further with each new twist in the heist scenario.


Cobb’s next assignment is “inception”: planting an idea (“the hardest virus to kill”) in the subconscious of Robert Fischer junior (Cillian Murphy), the heir to a considerable business empire. While Cobb maps Fischer’s unresolved issues with his father, which are the key to the operation, he assembles his dream team: a master of disguise (Tom Hardy), a chemist (Dileep Rao) whose potions permit several subjects to dream the same dream, and Ariadne (Ellen Page), a gifted architecture student whose job is building the dreamworld where Fischer will be infected with the big idea.


While she learns the ropes, Ariadne takes over as the audience’s guide, a role she also plays for Cobb, who can’t go home to America because of a secret involving his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard). As a result, Ariadne is obliged to unearth Cobb’s past during the fantastic voyage in Fischer’s inner depths: an hour-long action sequence that takes place on several different levels of reality. Nolan’s strange wizardry has given rise to a psychic Rube Goldberg contraption that plays like a rousing “Star Wars” episode for smart people of all ages. Could be the start of something new.



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