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"AWW MAN! Was that top gonna stop spinning or what?"
Yes, we all asked that same question walking out of "Inception," and give Christopher Nolan some credit for holding a summer blockbuster audience spellbound by a tiny metal top.
With the DVD release it's our turn to really examine this movie with a fine-tooth-comb... Does more than that metal top hold up?
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a brilliant thief who specializes in extracting information from a subject's mind during dreamstate. When this sleepytime Thomas Crown takes a job involving inception, or planting an idea in someone's mind, he and his skilled team take a magic carpet ride through many mental matryoshka doll layers, experiencing multiple conflicts in simultaneous dream states.
Probably the smartest thing writer-director Nolan did was create legitimate stakes, where if characters die within the dream they turn into vegetables trapped in mental limbo, so they don't devolve into gun-toting supermen like Neo in "The Matrix." As Mystikal said, "DANGER, talkin' bout DANGER!"
The story itself is not bulletproof, as besides its inherently convoluted nature, you have huge plotholes like the biggie pointed out in this internet meme. Still, you gotta love the beautiful dissonance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt discussing the vagaries of reconciling a man with his father in the middle of a gunfight with AK-47s.
Creating a world so immersive both the characters and the audience are unable to discern whether what they've experienced is the true reality is a concept famously explored by authors like Philip K. Dick in books like "Ubik" and in films like "Total Recall" and "eXistenZ"; "Inception" can hold its own with those mind-f**k classics.
Marion Cotillard's character of Cobb's wife is the biggest wild card when it comes to discerning whether the whole film is a dream, continually telling him he is not experiencing reality. Then there's Michael Caine (who plays Cobb's father) and the old man who runs an opium-den-esque dream basement, who also drop hints that Cobb might just be dreaming.
The biggest clue of all is that Cobb's top, the "totem" that's supposed to confirm his reality, didn't even belong to him, but to his wife. When its final spin comes, it's up to you to decide whether it's all a dream -- but we know for sure it is just a movie, and a wicked cool one at that.
EXTRAS! Amazon named this their Blu-ray/DVD of the Year, and in three different modes (Extraction, Dreams, Inception) you'll find cast & crew behind the scenes, an examination of modern dream research, and an animated prologue.