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To write much about Inception might be to rob you of its pleasures. Perhaps that's just an idea planted in my head by reading many other writers express that sentiment. It's hard to tell for sure, and that's the trick of Inception.

Don't let the hype fool you completely - though this is a film of many colors, easily the smartest big budget blockbuster made since, well, Nolan's last film, The Dark Knight, Inception can be enjoyed on a couple of levels.

For those looking for a science fiction film, Inception is that. Despite much of the film looking pretty much like our time and place, I don't think Dominic Cobb's (Leonardo DiCaprio) occupation of "Extractor" actually exists. Oh, lord, please no. Yet the conception of all that job must be is extremely thorough and cool. Stick with cool and you're fine, but if you want to go deeper, it's there.

If action movie is more your speed, then Inception offers that, too. Nolan has often expressed interest in directing a James Bond movie. Consider this an audition piece, because the writer/director handles violence better here than he did in his Batman films. Two bravura sequences, one involving an assault on a snow-covered base, are tightly paced, complex yet easy to track. They're so good, I'd watch a G.I. Joe movie if Nolan directed it.

Plus he makes an action star out of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Unsurprisingly, the guy makes a strong mark in this movie, holding his own with DiCaprio and stealing huge segments for himself. But only because Nolan lets him.

Should psychological thriller be your cup of tea, then let Inception brew in your head for a while. Yet again, that's only if you let it. It is brainy, but Nolan lays out the plot clearly enough that it can be followed without having to ponder the deeper meaning of what's going on here. But come on, you're going to want to ponder.

It has a couple of weak moments in relationships and motivations left unexplained. Though Michael Caine's glorified cameo helps move the plot along, the logic of it is a little flimsy. Then again, that helps keep us off balance while assuring us that we are, indeed, balanced.

It's an all-star parfait, an assemblage of actors who all can and should headline their own films. Marion Cotillard makes a stronger impression here than in last year's Public Enemies, and Ellen Page finally moves away from being just a verbally clever young woman, softening herself to be our way into the exposition. Aside from Gordon-Levitt, another actor poised to headline is Tom Hardy, the man who will be Mad Max.

Nolan also reaches back to resuscitate 80's stars Tom Berenger and Lukas Haas, here in character roles that they could have walked through, but don't. Both make strong impressions, and their presence reminds us that they don't make them like this anymore, though of course they never did but they are now.

Suffice to say that Inception is the movie for adults to see this summer. You may never dream the same way again.

Derek McCaw

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