Thursday, May 12, 2011
In this monumentally silly movie, wherein director and writer Christopher Nolan channels his inner Doctor Strange, some people -- chief among them Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) -- have the ability to enter other people's minds and create dream worlds that seem completely lifelike. In exchange for ridding him of a false murder charge, Cobb agrees to assemble a team to help a client wipe out the competition by planting the idea to break up the company in the mind of a dying man's son (Cillian Murphy), who will inherit the business. [One imagines this illegal and utterly immoral enterprise is supposed to be made more palatable because said son will be able to find his own path or some such bullhickey.] Things become especially confusing -- and quite tedious -- because there are several different dream levels, meaning some of the sequences occur in dreams within dreams, and after awhile you don't know which is which and couldn't care less. Attempts to create pathos via a love story between Cobb and his dead wife -- whom he sort of keeps alive in the dream world -- fall flat because the characterizations are paper thin. The unlikable characters never question the morality of what they're doing to a completely innocent young man. Worse, whatever its pretensions for the dumb and gullible, this is essentially a comic book super-hero movie that isn't any fun at all. The acting is okay, but the best contributions come from composer Hans Zimmer and Guy Hendrix Dyas' striking production designs. The scenes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt [who should pick his film projects more carefully] bouncing around the ceiling in a hallway like Spider-Man are unintentionally comical. Some good ideas wasted in a pretty bad movie. For a science fiction film with a zany premise that works, see the far-superior Fantastic Voyage.
Verdict: Could have been called Insomnia except Nolan already used that title. *1/2.