Leonardo DiCaprio can’t elevate Christopher Nolan’s latest film
Inception, the latest film by
Christopher Nolan (The DarkKnight), goes on and on like that.
DiCaprio plays Cobb as a noirish private dream detective, a spy for hire in the
more infernal regions of corporate espionage. His job is to steal secrets by entering
and manipulating the dreams of his targets—until Saito makes him an offer he
can’t refuse. The tycoon will fix the legal problems that prevent Cobb from
returning to America
if the nocturnal sleuth successfully plants destructive ideas in the dreams of
his rival at a British corporation vying for control of the global energy
sounds fascinating, and yet it’s not. The logic of dreams Nolan tries to
replicate by jumping between scenes and settings would benefit from more
surrealism and less computer-generated pyrotechnics. And since, like a mediocre
sci-fi flick, Inception insists on
explaining every step by reference to convoluted science cooked up for the
occasion, much of it between Cobb and his youthful new sidekick with the mythic
name of Ariadne (Ellen Page), it’s little wonder that the movie drags along for
nearly two-and-a-half hours. In The
Matrix, probably an inspiration for Inception,
the necessary explanatory words clocked by at turbo speed, seamlessly
integrated into the action. And the stakes were much higher in The Matrix, which questioned the nature
of reality itself. By contrast, Inception
is more of a quasi-intellectual puzzle without much heart or soul.
A performance as wildly over the top as Heath Ledger’s in The Dark Knight could have elevated Inception. DiCaprio’s protagonist manages only to look like a morose gumshoe on an assignment he wished would soon end.