Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are Warriors of the Subconscious in Christopher Nolan's Inception
. Secret agent Cobb (DiCaprio) enters peoples' dreams to steal knowledge and ideas. He's then hired to try something considered impossible---implanting an idea (and one that can change the world). Regarded even before its release as the saving grace of 2010's weak blockbuster lineup, the reality is ambitious if less flattering. Nolan has always paid generous attention to theme, and has a strength in uncovering buried ideas in genre tropes. In Inception
, the plot's labyrinthine contortions give him a lot of room to explore. But it's essentially Neuromancer
with cyberspace replaced by dream states---the screenplay plays as one based on a novel everyone says is "unfilmable." Despite dazzling effects and a couple tight action scenes, over half of Inception
's length is made up of characters explaining the movie to each other. Philosophical soundbites about dreams have humanist resonance, even as the subjects speaking them do not. Inception
never quite makes the leap from willful mindfuck to adequate storytelling.