Leonardo DiCaprio in Cristiopher Nolan’s Inception movie, releasing July

Christopher Nolan’s psy-fi Inception, a tale of Matrix-like dream crimes, releases July 16 and expectations are high from the director of The Dark Knight.

leonardo dicaprio in inception photo

Photo: Leonardo Dicaprio in Christopher Nolan's Inception

Written, produced and directed by Christopher Nolan, the Inception movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger, Dileep Rao and Michael Caine. Inception will be released in both conventional and IMAX theaters. Related: Our older story about Christopher Nolan’s Inception

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard on the sets of Inception

Shot at a budget of US$160 million and shot in Morocco, France and four other countries, Inception is Christopher Nolan’s first foray into the realm of what can be called psychological fiction movies.

In Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a skilled thief and a specialist in a new kind of corporate espionage. Cobb works in “subconscious security,” breaking into the minds of tycoons when they are asleep and extracting valuable secrets. How does he carry out this perfect, impossible-to-track heist? He drugs the business moguls, attaches them to a sci-fi contraption and steals secrets from deep within their subconscious during the dream state.

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception

Cobb’s ability to catch dreams makes him a sought-after player for corporate espionage. No surprises then, that the spy games turn him into an international fugitive. Cobb has one shot at regaining his life – he needs to do his job in reverse: inception! Instead of a stealing an idea, Cobb and his team are hired to plant one. Can they do it? The world of dreams can be a dangerous and volatile one, they find.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are selling Inception as a Matrix meets Mission Impossible kind of movie. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime, says Inception’s tagline.

Inception promises a smorgasbord of special effects – think Matrix-style fly-fighting, Bond-style shooting, and a whole lot of chases.

The stylish Christopher Nolan has described Inception as being similar to films such as The Matrix, Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor, and his own Memento. The director rubbished the idea that Inception might make use of the “second-life” idea from movies like Avatar. He said writing Inception took him around 10 years and he relied on his experiences with lucid dreaming during moments between sleep and wakefulness.

Christopher Nolan plans to give 3D the go-by in favour of the combination of Imax footage and high-definition film – a combination he used successfully in The Dark Knight. Computer-generated imagery will also be used for a few sequences.

Altered states and untrusted perception are themes that persist in Christopher Nolan’s films. Memento (2000) was about an amnesia victim; Insomnia (2002) was the story of a corrupt cop addled by lack of sleep; The Prestige (2006) was about rival illusionists; and the two Batman films (Batman Begins in 2005 and The Dark Knight in 2008) dealt with mind tricks.

Leonardo DiCaprio feels Christopher Nolan is the perfect director to helm Inception.

Describing the story as complex and ambiguous, Leonardo DiCaprio says Christopher Nolan has been able to pull off the film, which has complex narratives that work on a multitude of different layers.

Ellen Page, who plays one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s team members, says Inception is like reading a Haruki Murakami novel – “it’s fantasy, but instead of feeling like some strange surreal world it feels very honest.” The storyline is complicated, she says, but not confusing.

Christopher Nolan, the man’s who redefining film noir, admits that he tends to be drawn to the analogy of a maze. He says he pictures the story as a maze – he doesn’t want to watch his characters make the wrong choices; he wants to be in the maze with them.

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