Summer Blockbuster Preview: Inception

In the latest summer blockbuster preview, we ask: can director Christopher Nolan match the storming success of The Dark Knight with his next film, Inception?

Inception

What Is It?

Not much is known of the film’s plot, but here’s what we’ve got. Dom Cobb is the best there is at what he does, and what he does is steal ideas. When business bigwigs lapse into a dream state, and are thus at their most vulnerable, Cobb and his team are able to establish a fine and lucrative line in corporate espionage.

It’s also turned them into international fugitives, and left Cobb in mourning for the life he used to have. There might be a chance to get all that back after one last job. Rather than stealing an idea, it’s down to Cobb and co. to plant one instead.

Against an enemy that can predict their every move, the team battle within the infrastructure of the mind to pull off the perfect crime: inception.

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With the script under close guard by Warner Bros., much of Inception is shrouded in mystery, a mask that its director is all too happy to preserve.

Who’s Behind It?

You’ve just directed one of the biggest summer box office hits of the decade, even despite the production being retrospectively marred by tragedy. And even better, said mega-hit was a bloody Batman film, immediately putting you in a pantheon of sheer cinematic bad-assery. What do you do?

While other huge gross directors like Michael Bay rest on their laurels and go straight for the sequel, Christopher Nolan is following The Dark Knight with his first proper foray into science fiction, if you discount the more fantastical and Bowie-related elements of The Prestige.

He’s assembled a stellar cast for the job too, including Leonardo DiCaprio, adding yet another notch to his bedpost of world class directors, if he’s got room amongst all those Scorsese collaborations.

Supporting DiCaprio are Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, alongside some of Nolan’s collaborators on Batman, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine.

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Why Should We See It?

Even if you don’t like Nolan’s Batman films, there’s a wealth of intelligent and expertly assembled material in his filmography, and the mind-bending ideas we’ve seen thus far from Inception makes Memento look as straightforward as your average Teletubbies episode. There isn’t a single more thought-provoking summer blockbuster scheduled for this summer than Inception.

If any other director was making it, I’d think it was a riskier prospect, but as soon as the punters see that “From the director of The Dark Knight” strapline, they’ll probably be sold. I speak from experience. The low buzz of audience chatter before a screening of Kick-Ass fell completely mute when that credit showed up in the trailer.

More than just intellectual and narrative gymnastics, though, Nolan has always had a real commitment to dazzling an audience. His last film shot sequences entirely in IMAX, had an 18-wheel truck flip arse over tit and explosively demolished an entire hospital, and this time he has an absolutely massive budget to play with, reportedly over $200m.

With Inception, the maddeningly reticent trailer has already given us glimpses of a city folding up geometrically, a room flooding with water from nowhere and a hallway that spins like a giant hamster wheel during a shootout.

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Make no mistake, there’ll be plenty for the eyes as well as the brain.

If it all goes terribly wrong and lands on the wrong side of pretension, as some have suggested, audiences may see it as no more than a stop-gap between The Dark Knight and its inevitable follow-up. Personally, as one of the biggest Batman fans going, I’m just psyched that we’re getting a new Christopher Nolan film this summer. And you can’t rush that next sequel anyway, so all the better.

Inception is already piquing curiosity well in advance of its release. In vast contrast to the oversaturated marketing of Iron Man 2, we’ve barely seen a thing from it, and if Nolan matches the utter amazement I felt after watching his last film two years ago, we’re in for something very special, indeed.

UK Release Date: July 16thUS Release Date: July 16th