Christopher Nolan (Momento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Dark Night) has written, directed and produced the riskiest, most intelligent and most independently-minded huge budget (US) holiday movie in as long as anyone can remember, with not only admirable but downright jaw-dropping results. Surrounded by sequels (literally, Inception, along with Knight and Day, is one of the very few big-budget studion flicks being released during the American summer that is not part of a larger brand), the incredibly original psychological thriller is being marketed almost entirely, not on it’s star Leonardo DiCaprio, but on Nolan, placing his in the stratosphere of very, very few directors whose identities are used to sell mainstream films. Unless he loses his marbles (which is possible given what his imagination is capable of!), hits the drink and drugs (not that that’s killed off many a great director) or has a flop, he is unlikely to ever come down off that pantheon, as Inception is something of an instant classic, and one that has already opened well enough in the US ($60 million opening weekend) to prove good the marketing gambit. Word of mouth will only propel this film to greater heights, because it is truly excellent in the ways original thrillers should be: it is suspenseful, keeps you guessing, has great levels of mystery, twists and turns, is scary, creepy, intense and strange. It boasts pitch-perfect performances from an astoundingly good ensemble cast: DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick), the brilliant and ever-more-beautiful Ellen Page (Juno), the next ‘Mad Max’, amazing British breakthrough Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger (surprisingly good) and the unbelievably stunning Marion Cotillard (yes, I have a crush on her) who gives a completely surprising – and very satisfying –turn. Even a couple of tiny, old-geezwer roles are played by Pete Postlethwaite and Michael Caine! No doubt all these thoroughbreds were attracted to working with Nolan, who, in bringing this massive film to the screen, its many mysteries and layers of meaning, deception and complexity intact, has pulled off one of the singularly largest works of art in years (think about it: Scorcese inevitably uses other screenwriters, as do Spielberg and Peter Jackson; all three mainly use or develop scripts based on popular novels. Nolan is the sole credited screenwriter on Inception – this vastly expensive and ambitious film is very much the singular work of his imagination). Essentially a story of corporate espionage by way of filching executives’ ideas through their dreams, the film delves into much darker areas of the powers of the mind, including boldly taking on manifestations of the brain’s subconscious, repressed memories, and id and ego. It is not giving away too much to say that much of the film takes place within dreams, but its interior logic is very sound, and placing his story in a dreamscape is not a cheap ploy to let anything happen – the structure is much sounder than that, the plot too tightly bound to its own boundaries. This is a dream movie that satisfies in an enormous way. It is long and certainly complex: you’ll want to be wide awake and alert to get into Nolan’s beautifully realised dreams.