, the mysterious expat Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) leads a force of so-called "extractors," who spy on the dreams of titans of industry. One such titan, Saito (Ken Watanabe), entices Cobb and the gang to carry out a nasty bit of mental espionage by promising to clear Cobb's fugitive status and reunite him with his children. Director Christopher Nolan's formidable atmospherics have audiences understandably genuflecting before the apparition of an Important Movie. In lieu of challenging notions of reality versus fantasy, though, Nolan's multilevel netherworld is a tedious amalgam of James Bond shoot 'em ups and Kubrick simulacrum. Inception
's cinematic fathers are many, and the film works best as a sidelong commentary on movie escapism. But, just as the 30 minutes of screen time it takes for a van to fall from bridge to river encapsulates the viewer's unfortunate sense of time standing still, so too do some otherwise eye-popping zero-G sequences—the movie's unquestioned visual highlight—serve as apt an metaphor for the script's weightlessness.