Inception is a 2010 science fiction action thriller film written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan, and co-produced by Emma Thomas. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a professional thief who steals information by infiltrating the subconscious, and is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for the implantation of another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious. The ensemble cast additionally includes Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.
Dominick “Dom” Cobb and Arthur are “extractors”; they perform corporate espionage using experimental military technology to infiltrate their targets’ subconscious and extract information through a shared dream world. Their latest target, Saito, reveals he arranged their mission to test Cobb for a seemingly impossible job: implanting an idea in a person’s subconscious, or “inception”. Saito wants Cobb to convince Robert, the son of Saito’s competitor Maurice Fischer, to dissolve his father’s company. Saito promises to clear Cobb’s criminal status, which prevents him from returning home to his children.
Cobb accepts the offer and assembles his team: Eames, an identity forger; Yusuf, a chemist with a sedative for the “dream within a dream” strategy; and Ariadne – an architecture student of his father-in-law, Professor Stephen Miles – tasked with designing the dream’s labyrinth. Ariadne discovers that Cobb’s subconscious houses an invasive projection of his late wife, Mal. After Fischer dies, the team accompanies Robert on a flight where they sedate him into a shared dream. At each dream level, the person generating the dream stays behind to set up a “kick” to awaken other team members from the deeper dream. These kicks must occur simultaneously, despite time flowing faster in each successive level.