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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Inception

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Michael Caine and Leonardo DiCaprio star in "Inception."
With "Inception" (Warner Bros.)—an action film resting on a science-fiction premise—writer-director Christopher Nolan achieves a tour de force of spectacle and suspense. But, like many a less-sophisticated offering in the action genre, this ingenious brainteaser is rife with explosions and gunplay.

The price of admission to this wild ride includes accepting that, by the use of a mysterious gadget, characters can enter and share other people's dreams as they sleep. The master of this futuristic art is Dom Cobb (played with striking intensity by Leonardo DiCaprio), a corporate spy who uses his skills to intrude into the minds of high-powered executives and extract their most treasured secrets.

But Cobb is also a fugitive whose tempestuous past—the details of which are revealed to us only gradually—has left him haunted by the specter of his deceased wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), and unable to return home to his two young children.

So when Japanese CEO and behind-the-scenes string-puller Saito (Ken Watanabe) offers to have his legal slate wiped miraculously clean in exchange for a successful mission targeting Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), heir to a rival business that threatens to undermine Saito's empire, Cobb accepts.

Instead of tricking Fischer into disgorging information, on this particular raid into the subconscious, however, Cobb must plant an idea in Fischer's head and make him believe it to be his own, a nearly impossible undertaking, which those in the know refer to as "inception." Cobb is assisted in this by his longtime partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and by a team of new collaborators—architecture student Ariadne (Ellen Page), experienced dream traveler Eames (Tom Hardy) and shady chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

With Mal, meanwhile, getting into the habit of making unexpected and unwelcome appearances in Cobb's dreams—her incongruous presence could immediately destroy the elaborately constructed illusion he and his crew have prepared for Fischer—Cobb is increasingly caught between his professional aptitude and his personal instability.

While taut, complex—by the latter stages of his drama, Nolan is deftly shuttling among four different adventures unfolding simultaneously at various levels of Fischer's consciousness—and undeniably crafty, "Inception" engages the imagination more than the heart. Thus, though the Freudian-style conflict between Fischer and his dying father is at least intermittently affecting, the bond between Cobb and Mal never quite rises to the level of a touching romance.

Still, adults in search of challenging fare, and not adverse to some (mostly stylized) mayhem, will likely find this cinematic Rubik's Cube quite intriguing.

The film contains much action violence, some of it bloody, several uses of profanity and a few crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.




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James: This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20). 
<p>James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani. </p><p>Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can’” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!” </p><p>The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life. </p><p>On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them...” (Luke 9:54-55). </p><p>James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a). </p><p>This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.</p> American Catholic Blog Walk the talk. Show, don’t tell. Values are caught, not taught—all variations of one theme: A good example is essential for good parenting.

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