Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout.
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Inception is a 2010 science fiction heist thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. DiCaprio plays a professional thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets. He is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for a task considered to be impossible: "inception", the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout
Dominick "Dom" Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are "extractors", who perform corporate espionage using an experimental military technology to infiltrate the subconscious of their targets and extract information while experiencing shared dreaming. Their latest target is Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe). The extraction from Saito fails because of the memory of Cobb's wife Mal (Marion Cotillard). Saito reveals that he was actually auditioning the team to perform the difficult act of "inception": planting an idea in a person's subconscious.
To break up the energy conglomerate of ailing competitor Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite), Saito wants Cobb to cause Fischer's son and heir, Robert (Cillian Murphy), to dissolve his father's company. In return, Saito promises to use his influence to clear Cobb of a murder charge, allowing Cobb to return home to his children. Cobb accepts the offer and assembles his team: Eames (Tom Hardy), a conman and identity forger; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist who concocts a powerful sedative for a stable "dream within a dream" strategy; Ariadne (Ellen Page), an architecture student tasked with designing the labyrinth of the dream landscapes, recruited with the help of Cobb's father-in-law, Professor Stephen Miles (Michael Caine). Saito accompanies the team to verify their success. When Ariadne shares a dream with Cobb, she learns that his subconscious recreates Mal, frequently as a hostile force.
When the elder Fischer dies in Sydney, Robert Fischer accompanies the body on a ten-hour flight back to Los Angeles, which the team uses as an opportunity to sedate and take Fischer into a shared dream. At each level in the layered dreaming, the person generating the dream stays behind to set up a "kick" that will be used to awaken the other sleeping team members from the deeper dream layer. The plan is for Yusuf to drive off a bridge in the first dream layer, Arthur to use the elevator in the second layer, and Eames to create an explosion in the third layer simultaneously. While death in a dream would normally cause the dreamer to wake up, the powerful sedatives needed to stabilize the multi-level dream would not allow that. Thus, death during the mission will result in entering "limbo", an expanse of infinite raw subconscious from which it is very difficult to escape.
In the first dream layer, the team enter Yusuf's dream of a rainy Los Angeles. The team abducts Fischer, but he has been trained to create a team of bodyguards who wound Saito. Eames impersonates Fischer's godfather, Peter Browning (Tom Berenger), to suggest Fischer reconsider his father's will. Yusuf drives the van, pursued by the bodyguards, as the rest (including Fischer) are sedated into the second level.
In the second layer, a hotel dreamed by Arthur, Cobb convinces Fischer that he has been kidnapped by Browning and that Cobb is his subconscious protector. Cobb persuades him to go down another level to explore Browning's subconscious (whereas it is actually a ruse to enter Fischer's).
The third layer is a snowy mountain fortress dreamed by Eames. The team has to infiltrate it and hold off the guards as Cobb takes Fischer into the equivalent of his subconscious.
Yusuf, under pursuit in the first layer, accidentally drives off a bridge and initiates his kick too soon. This removes the gravity of Arthur's level and causes an avalanche in Eames' level. Arthur is forced to improvise a new kick that will synchronize with the van hitting the water. Cobb's projection of Mal kills Fischer, and Saito succumbs to his wounds; both fall into Limbo. While Eames sets up a kick by rigging the fortress with explosives, Cobb and Ariadne enter limbo to find Fischer and Saito.
Cobb reveals to Ariadne that he and Mal went to limbo while experimenting with the dream-sharing technology. There, they spent fifty years constructing a world from their shared memories. When Mal refused to return to reality, Cobb implanted in her mind the idea that the world was not real, using a rudimentary form of Inception. However, when she woke up, Mal was still convinced that she was not in the real world. In an attempt to "wake up" for real, Mal committed suicide and framed Cobb for her death to force him to do the same. Facing a murder charge, Cobb fled the U.S., leaving his children in the care of Professor Miles.
Through his confession, Cobb attains catharsis, makes peace with his subconscious's Mal and remains in limbo to search for Saito. Ariadne finds Fischer and wakes him up with a kick. Fischer is revived at the mountain fortress, where he enters a safe room to discover and accept the planted idea: a vision of his dying father telling him to be his own man. All team members other than Cobb and Saito ride the synchronized kicks back to reality: Ariadne jumps off a balcony, Eames detonates the explosives in the fortress, Arthur blasts an elevator containing the team's sleeping bodies up the shaft, and the van hits the water. Cobb eventually finds an aged Saito in Limbo, reminding him of the agreement. The two wake up on the airplane, where the entire team and Robert Fischer have awakened.
Upon arrival at Los Angeles Airport, Cobb passes the U.S. immigration checkpoint and his waiting father-in-law accompanies him to his children. Cobb spins his small top, a totem for verifying one's dream state, but leaves it spinning on the table to join his family in the garden.
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Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible - inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.
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