While the idea is straightforward, the plot is not: as the climax approaches, the heist-movie team of nöonauts* are travelling through different dreams simultaneously while trying to pull off their audacious and precisely timed plan. Director Christopher Nolan and editor Lee Smith, who also worked together on The Prestige, have once again delivered a complex plot that remains easy to follow - a number of cinematic devices, including the different colour themes and styles for each layer of reality, help with this. However where The Prestige is perfectly edited, Inception is close to perfect but slightly too long, and as a result a few scenes gain a comic edge that may not have been intended.
Casting is great whether you are a fan of Mr. DiCaprio or not - like many heist movies this is very much an ensemble piece. I was particularly pleased to see Ellen Page, the star of Juno, in a major role - an arrogant and talented architecture student and far from your typical action heroine.
Previous films such as The Cell, The Matrix, eXistenZ have explored similar ideas to Inception - travelling either into the minds of other people or into cyberspace. A common idea is that when you die, or are killed in such a state, you also die in real life. There's no obvious reason for this so I was pleased to see that Inception takes a different and more intelligent tack. Here, if you die in your sleep, you just wake up - however it turns out there are other, more plausible ways for dreaming to be dangerous.
*The term nöonaut for a dream traveller is not used in Inception but in Black Brillion and Matt Hughes' other novels and short stories of The Times Before The End Times, in which characters explore the collective unconscious and do battle with archetypal foes.