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Movie Review: Inception (July, 2010)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: July 16, surgeon 2010
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, no rx Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Pete Postlethwait, Michael Caine

Inception was an amazingly well thought out, well constructed film. For all of its hype and expectation, the movie still manages to impress. In the back of my mind, I think that I probably would have enjoyed it even more than I had had I not known how high the rating was running, which says a lot, considering how much I loved Inception.

Part of the fun is peeling away the layers, so, without giving too much away, I’ll try to summarize it a bit, for those who may want to know what exactly Inception is about. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) heads a team of extractionists who have clients who hire them to steal information from subjects while in their subconscious. After a failed extraction, Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires them to do the opposite of extraction – to plant an idea so deep in the subject’s conscious they believe that the idea is their own. Cobb decides to take the opportunity, in exchange for his clearance to be able to return home, due to him being wanted by the United States for his capture. Due to his unstable situation and his desire to return home and see his children, his subconscious is plagued by haunting memories and in turn, affects whether or not their mission will be a successful one.

Inception is a bit like Matrix meets Paprika, in the sense that one starts to lose their sense of what is real and what is not real. There are many rules that Nolan throws at us to understand what must be done, how things have to be controlled when entering the dream of someone’s subconscious, that the audience mind continues to tick, unraveling the delicious gift that Nolan has set before us to discover. Many people will say that Inception may be too convoluted and confusing, but I think everything is explained in a way that will satisfy many movie goers, and they will not only understand most of what is happening, but appreciate it and find it rewarding, as I did.

This is not to say the movie is perfect; it’s not. Though some reviewers thought that everything was paced perfectly, I did feel that some of the scenes started to seem repetitive and stretched time out a bit, as in the scene with the van, the elevator and the snow dream where we were all waiting for the kick. I understand it was a gradual build up, but felt that part of it seemed to stretch just a tad too long. Even the beginning felt a bit long, though it was necessary, due to the context of the situation, as it is pertinent in future scenes.

The acting is decent, as would be expected from such a stellar cast. I don’t think any of them would warrant Oscar nominations (though maybe I’ll reevaluate by the end of the year), but everyone is believable in their roles. I normally don’t enjoy Ellen Page, but I liked her character here (as the architect, Ariadne). Same with Joseph Gordon Levitt who plays Arthur, whom I could never attach myself to, from 10 Things I Hate About You to 500 Days of Summer (in which he garnered critical acclaim). Here though, I liked seeing him in Inception. I felt Levitt suited the role very well as the smart, accomplished forger, and I immediately liked his portrayal.

At the heart of the story is the relationship between Dom Cobb and Mal (Marion Cotillard), his wife, which drives the emotion and the wonder of the film. Though people may feel as though the film is emotionally empty and barren, I don’t necessarily think this is the case. There is a great deal of depth explored in Inception – of perhaps, negative human emotion, not ones filled with fuzziness, but it is there and it is explored in great detail in Cobb’s subconscious. So I think it is wrong to describe it as lacking emotion, as there is a lot of it, and it is at the core of the film. Everything builds, the action, the tension, the mission, the emotion, up to this one moment. The beautiful yet complex soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer simply heightens this feeling, and the feeling doesn’t let go until the movie finishes.

The fact that Nolan takes these very complex ideas, adds a very interesting story and then wraps a fairly intense thriller around it, all the while managing to engage the audience is not without talent.The idea of entering another person’s dream and being able to manipulate them through the dream is not new, but with the rules of the dream world that Nolan creates, Inception feels refreshingly … mind blowing. After the last frame of the film disappeared, there were two thoughts that entered my mind. One, that I had to see the film again, and two, I felt that I had just finished watching one great big mind f*ck (pardon my french.) The attention to detail, and how almost every scene in the film was important to the story leaves me fully impressed. I’ve so far loved most of Nolan’s work, The Prestige and the Dark Knight being my favorites. Inception however, is in a league of its own, better than either of these two movies. I look forward to seeing more from Christopher Nolan, as the bar has been set incredibly high after Inception.

Inception is, no doubt, one of the best movies of this disappointing summer filled with remakes, reboots, films made from some other source such as book or comic. It leaves this movie goer hopeful for more future projects that are unique, well acted, and well directed, and hopeful that Hollywood may take more leaps of faith with the public if Inception does well at the box office. I love action thrillers, but to put it in a format that requires some audience investment, I love it even more. I say, see Inception this weekend. Otherwise, if you have kids, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Despicable Me should suffice.

Fascinating to the very last scene – highly recommended. Enjoy the ride. 5 dreams / 5 dreams


One thought on “Movie Review: Inception (July, 2010)

  1. Great review ! You hit on the highlights of what makes this movie different, without giving too much away. I found the movie quite complex, but still easy to follow. I loved the concept of how much more can be accomplished (faster) in dream time than in real time. I agree there probably isn't an Academy Award here for the actors, but there will be nominations. Ellen Page was unlike any role she's played, and maybe that's why you liked her here. I have always liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt, clear back to "3rd Rock from the Sun" – if you haven't seen him in the 2007 movie "Lookout", check it out – I thought it to be one of his best acting jobs to date. The soundtrack is so awesome in "Inception", and I want to see this in IMAX primarily to hear the whole orchestration. I see the movie taking soundtrack and sound awards aplenty. The entire movie is a class act, and though maybe a bit slow to start, the little pieces of knowledge you gained were important. When I think my world is turning upside down, I'll think back to this movie, and remind myself that I don't know what upside down is !

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