Christopher Nolan came up with the story for this film a while ago, but wanted to get a couple of big films under his belt before tackling it. Batman Begins (okay) and Batman – The Dark Knight (good, but one scene too long and with a grating voice) fit the bill there, so here we have it. He’s also directed Memento (excellent) and Insomnia (meh…).
Leonardo DiCaprio is great as the star of the film which deals with infiltrating people’s dreams – I’ll try not to spoil it by saying any more. From the word go it starts off at a frenetic pace, almost like a resume montage backstory, screaming ‘Come on! Keep up!’ at you as the concepts take root in your brain. This pace is kept up for virtually the entire film, helped massively by the score by Hans Zimmer which is brilliant. The film has a great look about it too, which I am sure is largely thanks to long-time collaborating cinematographer Wally Pfister.
The environment is coherent and generally robust and easy to follow (with forgivable exposition at some times and only the ‘limbo’ had me scratching my head a little – I don’t think I’m spoiling the film by saying that!). I also thought that it drops in terminology of the new world with the confidence of a Philip K Dick story, perhaps his work was an inspiration to Nolan. The plot mechanisms and stakes are perhaps not quite on the level of the environment and the present on reflection, at least for the rest of the gang.
It’s always difficult to keep up the interest in an action film. More often than not they end up with a stupid dull final extravagant setpiece and you disengage a bit amongst all the shooting, but I don’t think that’s true here.
All in all a great ‘wow’ film and a natural successor to The Matrix.
4 on 5
Written, Produced and Directed by : Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy
UK Release: 16th July 2010