Dream Within a Dream - TopTenMM Heist Movies

Nominee #13 - Inception (2010)

When a thief who steals corporate confidential information through dream-sharing technology is given a task, he must plant an idea into the head of a C.E.O


Christopher Nolan Writer:

Christopher Nolan Stars:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page

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Inception is not a heist movie by definition, it doesn’t involve anything being stolen in fact ironically, it’s quite the opposite. Set in a reality where we have the technology to infiltrate minds Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a highly-skilled thief, possibly the best in the business. A fugitive from his country and on the run, Cobb is willing to do anything to find a way back home, to his children. When he’s offered an unusual job, one that involves planting an idea instead of stealing one, inception, Cobb is given his first real shot at redemption.

The audience is invested in the process, we are part of the heist.

Christopher Nolan spent ten years writing the screenplay for Inception, ten years delicately crafting one of the most cerebral, intricate and original plots ever put to film. Inception is a beautiful maze, and much like the plot of the film, the audience is guided through layers, slowly and gradually approaching the resolution. Like Roger Ebert writes in his review of the film here is a movie immune to spoilers: if you knew how it ended, that would tell you nothing unless you know how it got there. The journey through the plot requires the utmost attention and Nolan is not going to hold our hands, Inception trusts its audience to find the answers the same way the protagonist carve their way through dream and reality.

At its heart, Inception operates like any other heist movie. The detailed planning, the engineering, finding the perfect crew, the preparation for the unexpected. Inception is a movie that cares about the process, the audience is led through every step of the preparation, we become as prepared as the crew, therefore the execution requires no explanation and when things start to go wrong, it matters as much to us as it does to the characters. The audience is invested in the process, we are part of the heist.

Just like every great heist movie, Inception establishes unique, important characters that we are attached to immediately. Arthur (Joseph Gordan Levitt) Cobb’s associate, someone he trusts, Eames (Tom Hardy) a man known for his skills of deception within a dream, Yusuf (Dileep Rao) a chemist and the newest recruit to Cobb’s crew, Ariadne (Ellen Page) a prodigy architect, a job which Cobb can trust no one but someone as good as he was, or perhaps better. Our characters are given specific and well-established duties for the heist, each plays a role and the machine doesn’t work unless they’re all involved, no one is expendable.

Inception could have fallen prey to numerous traps with a plot as complex as it is. To begin with, the fact that the majority of the film takes place in a dream or outside the realms of reality should remove any element of danger. Yet Nolan manages to set the stakes high, despite being distant from reality the dangers are still very real. Secondly, with a plot that weaves between reality and dream the film can very quickly become a convoluted mess. Despite being considered one of the most confusing films made, Inception leaves no question unanswered even its controversial final shot can be interpreted, and while it might require a second viewing to completely comprehend, its sophistication should not be misinterpreted as confusing.

Inception is a brilliant heist movie elevated by an intellectual, intelligent and original plot. It is a Nolan classic, directed with a master’s hand and written with passion, care and attention to the slightest details. It’s a cerebral experience with some of the most impressive and practically filmed action sequences supported by a strong cast and a sweeping score by Hans Zimmer. Inception may be one of the greatest heist films, but it really transcends being labelled any one thing except perhaps a masterpiece.

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