Inception is a 2010 American science fiction film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a thief who extracts information from the unconscious mind of his victims while they dream. Unable to visit his children, Cobb is offered a chance to regain his old life in exchange for one last job: performing inception, the planting of an idea into the mind of his client's competitor.
Development began roughly nine years before Inception was released. In 2001, Nolan wrote an 80-page treatment about dream-stealers, presenting the idea to Warner Bros. The story was originally written as a heist film, inspired by concepts of lucid dreaming and dream incubation. Feeling he needed to have more experience with large-scale films, Nolan opted to work on Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight. He spent six months polishing up the script for Inception before Warner Bros. purchased it in February 2009. Filming spanned six countries and four continents, beginning in Tokyo on June 19, 2009 and finishing in Canada in late November of the same year. Composer Hans Zimmer scored the film, using parts of Edith Piaf's song "Non, je ne regrette rien".
Inception was officially budgeted at $160 million, a cost that was split between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. Nolan's reputation and success with The Dark Knight helped secure the film's $100 million in advertising expenditure. Released to critical acclaim, the film grossed over $21 million on its opening day, with an opening weekend gross of $62.7 million.
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), along with point man Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), are on an extraction mission within the mind of a powerful Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe); a form of corporate espionage through dreams. Pain is felt in dreams, but death results in awakening. Cobb carries a totem in the form of a spinning top which originally belonged to his deceased wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), to determine whether he is dreaming or awake, which spins unceasingly or topples, respectively. The extraction fails due to the intervention of Mal, whose memory haunts Cobb's mind and sabotages his missions. Saito reveals that he is in fact auditioning the team to perform the act of inception: using dreams to implant an idea. He promises to have murder charges against Cobb cleared so that he can return to the U.S. and visit his children, in return for the mission's success.
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