The films Dreamscape and Inception have something in common: they are both about how dreams can be potentially used for harm. In the 1984 film, Dreamscape, a shadowy government conspiracy plan is to kill the President of the United States because of fears that he'll weaken our country due to his desires to start nuclear disarmament talks. They apparently did not know about inception. Fact is, inception has nothing to do with dreams, but in director Christopher Noland's film, inception is the idea that you can plant a thought in person mind through a complicated, conspiratorial process.
The plot, on the surface is quite easy: Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) and his "dream" team must plant an idea in the mind of Robert Fischer, Jr., a multibillion dollar oil company heir. Fischer's father is dying and he is preparing to assume control of his father's vast empire and a competitor wants him to dissolve the companies once the father has passed. That is were the simplicity ends. The film is like a dream itself, with many layers, levels and interpretations. This may be one of those films that requires multi-viewings to come to a better understanding of all the directors complexities. Leaving the complex plot aside, this film joins films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Matrix, as films that cross the visual line as we know it and move us into a new experience, at least visually. We have seen some of this before, in Alex Proyas overlooked Dark City and even the directors own, Memento. Inception is a flood of visual images, dreamlike, violent, startling, and frequently beautiful. What a difference thirty years make as the f/x effects in Dreamscape are about as corny as they get, and in Inception, they are state of the art.
What Inception makes up for in visual impact is lack of an emotional one. The plot partially revolves around Cobb's dead wife, beautifully played by Marion Cotillard (it should be noted that Edith Piaf is very much part of the soundtrack), but there are so many levels and layers within their relationship, that we are never quite sure what part we are watching is dream or reality. This lack of distinction, on the visual level makes this quite unlike anything we have seen (we've seen fragments).
Christopher Noland is most known for reinventing the Batman franchise with The Dark Knight. He also directed The Prestige, a wonderful film about dueling magicians and Insomnia. He will be directing the untitled Batman projects slated for release in 2012.