Inception ★★★★½

Taking ideas from many sci-fi classics & seamlessly blending it with the ambience of James Bond thrillers, Inception is an original, inventive & ambitious sci-fi wonder from Christopher Nolan that effortlessly manages to live up to its monumental hype & expectations and even today continues to be the subject of discussion amongst film-buffs, thanks to its multi-layered narration, surreal structure & ambiguous ending.

A contemporary sci-fi thriller set within the architecture of the mind, the story of Inception introduces a future where technology exists to enter people's dreams & share them. The plot concerns Cobb, a highly skilled extractor notable for stealing ideas & confidential information from his target's subconscious, who assembles a team to carry out a near-impossible task for a wealthy businessman in exchange for a clean slate so that he can get back to his family.

Finely written & ingeniously directed by Christopher Nolan, the first-half of Inception presents the director literally feeding his viewers just how everything in the depicted future & dream world works, which somehow erases the film’s complexity but then also helps it appeal to the masses. The second-half however is a steadily paced thrilling ride of surprises & wonders that finally culminates with an ending that's open for each viewer to interpret his or her way.

Coming to the technical aspects, Set pieces are grand & impressive. Cinematography provides depth & perception to the whole picture by making effective use of camera angles n movements while also capturing each moment in meticulous detail. Editing beautifully synchronises the various subplots taking place within different dream levels. Visual effects are breathtaking & admirably employ minimal use of CGI. And Hans Zimmer's imposing score is haunting, hypnotic & absolutely stunning.

Featuring an impressive cast in Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard & Michael Caine, the performances are commendable enough yet never truly challenges what these actors are actually capable of. DiCaprio is really good as Cobb and it's his emotional journey that drives this film but it's Tom Hardy who ends up stealing every moment he is in while Cotillard's character began on a really good note but only went downhill from there.

On an overall scale, Inception is a labyrinth of dreams and a cinematic maze of sheer intellect. It's an intriguing, exhilarating & brilliantly crafted sci-fi thriller that's equally smart & innovative in almost all filmmaking departments and is one of those rare films that people watch & then argue about & then, very likely, go watch it again. Expertly balancing its narrative complexity with spectacle for nearly 150 minutes, Inception is a highly ambitious cinema from one of today's most bankable filmmakers that's incredibly satisfying on both visceral & intellectual scale. Watch it twice, at least.

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