It is hard to quantify how good Inception is. It is a two and one half hour roller coaster ride with enough thrills and chills to keep you glued to your seat - when you are not perched on the edge of it. Inception is full of good actors doing good work, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
DiCaprio gives another fine performance confirming himself as "the actor" of his generation and, for anybody who hasn't already seen his indie work in films like The Lookout (2007), Levitt is surprisingly good. He gives a steely performance that is lean, sinewy and remarkably balletic. Add to this heady stew Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. She is chillingly affective as DiCaprio's dead wife and dream nemesis.
To the aforementioned trio, Nolan brings his favorite players from the Dark Knight franchise for which he is most famous. There is Michael Caine as DiCaprio's father-in-law and mentor, Cillian Murphy as the rich industrialist/mark, and Ken Watanabe as the murky client who sets the whole enterprise in motion.
Full of action and fantastic but seamlessly integrated and organically woven-in landscapes and dream-scapes, Inception is a cinematic recitation on artistic inspiration, the nature of dreams and questions about what is and is not real. We explore dreams, yours and mine, their necessity, their siren call and the dark, murky depths hidden just beneath.
It is mind-boggling and mind blowing and yet, at its core, it is a Hitchcockian story about love, lost and redemption that is both harrowing and heartwarming. Through it all, Nolan is our Morpheus, our dream-weaver, a benevolent and malevolent conductor who takes us on a mystical, magical tour of the dream world and all its environs.