Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cilian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine

Every once in a while, a blockbuster comes along that changes everything.  Just think of movies like Star Wars, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jurassic Park, The Matrix, and Avatar.  These films were all game changers that pushed big budget filmmaking to the next level.  In its own way, each film added something truly special to the world of cinema.  We all can name those films that changed the way we look at movies and can go on for hours about how much we love them.  I just want to take a little time to talk about one such film — Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller Inception.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has a very unique career, even for a criminal.  Along with his business partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), he works as a thief for hire who steals valuable information from his targets while they're dreaming.  He enters their dreams and extracts information from these targets.  Cobb is highly skilled and successful at what he does.  The only problem is his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard).  Some time ago, Cobb fled the United States because his wife committed suicide.  Her death effectively made him the prime suspect for an alleged murder and a fugitive.  Now, he lives abroad and is haunted by his memories of Mal.  His projections of her frequently sabotage his extraction missions in the dream world.

Wealthy businessman Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe) reaches out to Cobb about a new kind of mission — inception.  Saito wants Cobb and his team to plant an idea in the mind of an executive at his rival company.  However, making the mind see a foreign idea as its own is a nearly impossible task.  If Cobb were to successfully complete this extremely challenging mission, Saito would help him get back into the United States where his children await him.  Cobb accepts the offer and assembles a team that includes his business partner Arthur, identity forger Eames (Tom Hardy), chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao), and young architect Ariadne (Ellen Page).  They all join Cobb without realizing that his problems with Mal may jeopardize the mission at hand.

In Inception, Christopher Nolan does what only a handful of directors can do by creating a riveting saga that pushes the boundaries of a traditional blockbuster.  He's given us big budget world-class filmmaking in this dreamy yet gritty sci-fi thriller.  This is some of the most inventive filmmaking I've ever seen.  From dazzling visuals and infinitely creative fight sequences to a rich, thrilling story and impressive acting, Nolan has crafted a cinematic masterpiece.  If Inception did anything, it proved that The Dark Knight was no fluke and that Nolan can play with the big boys in Hollywood.

Much like Nolan's previous film The Dark Knight, powerhouse performances and innovative filmmaking outshine all the bells and whistles that come with a huge blockbuster like Inception.  Leonardo DiCaprio gives a great performance in the movie as Cobb.  He plays the conflicted hero quite well.  Marion Cotillard does quite an equally impressive job as Cobb's dead wife Mal.  She brings a seductive yet destructive presence to the film that can't be denied any time she's on screen.  The rest of the cast delivers strong performances as well, especially Tom Hardy in his breakthrough role as Eames.  Nowadays, it’s rare to find such fine acting in a mainstream film like Inception, and these performances are an asset to the movie.

Music is an underrated aspect of filmmaking, but Hans Zimmer brings his absolute best to Inception and sets the tone of the movie with some thunderous selections that add to the drama and suspense of the film.  Whether Joseph Gordon-Levitt is floating through the air or the cast is driving a van off a bridge into a river in one of the most epic slow motion sequences ever, Zimmer keeps the tension and fast pace of the film alive with some dark yet vibrant music.  Zimmer does an amazing job in this film and has put together a score that adds loads of energy to every scene in the movie.  He should definitely be commended for such fine work.

Inception is undoubtedly a thinking man's blockbuster.  Nolan does not treat his viewers like a bunch of fools who can only handle mindless entertainment.  He treats us to a film that will leave you thinking for days.  With the ambiguous ending, Nolan will leave you wondering whether the film was all a dream.  With this move, he left the door open for dozens of interpretations of the film’s plot.  I certainly have a few theories.  I don't know whether Cobb's totem dropped after the film ended, but I can say this.  If this movie was a dream, it was the best damn dream I ever had.  Inception undoubtedly deserves a sober rating.