Inception Review (4.5 of 5)

In a summer sea of deficient sequels, bad CGI franchises, TV show retreads and remakes, Christopher Nolan’s Inception is a beacon of hope for what movies can be if the effort is made. Nolan has always made movies with big ideas (even if the movie had a small budget like Following or Memento) and Inception is surely his most audacious undertaking yet.

Literally this is a movie about dreams and more specifically ideas.

There are elements of many other films… Dreamscape, The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Total Recall, Nightmare On Elm Street III: Dream Warriors, various heist films and even Citizen Kane. There were even some shots of a crumbling cityscape that reminded me of the old manga/ anime Akira. As a whole, though, Nolan has managed to create something that hasn’t come before.

The premise (or my attempt to explain it properly) revolves around psychological espionage where there has been a method developed that allows someone to enter the mind of  someone else to steal their ideas and secrets. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb who for some reason is no longer able to return home to the US to see his family.

Early on in the film, a man named Saito (Ken Watanabe) offers to fix things for him to be able to return home if he does something for him that was thought not to have been possible before.

Instead of stealing secrets and ideas, he wants Cobb to implant an idea in someone’s head (Cillian Murphy’s to be exact).

He agrees to this and assembles his team to carry out the mission. And the rest you should just see for yourself. The movie has been described as labyritnhine (and it is) with it’s many twists and turns and dreams within dreams within dreams.

Some will find Ellen Page’s Ariadne character aptly named if they know their Greek mythology. There were many set design elements/details that added to the maze motif throughout.

The story at times was dizzying. The major drawback (for me) of the film was that usually in films exposition is considered a bad thing. Inception is one continuous dialogue of exposition.

Okay, there;s MORE than enough action, too...

The characters explain and explain and explain and explain. There are times when it almost seems like an episode of Lost where they’re just making it up as they go along.

In this case, I found in a lot of instances it was reinforcing a point (or plot point) that might’ve gone over the viewer’s head. It has been said by many that if you go to the restroom at any point in the film you will have a hard time catching up, so I feel for those with weak bladders. On the other hand, it may be purposeful to getting the viewer a little lost.

I don’t know if I would call this a flaw, but one thing that bothered me in the performances of the cast was Ken Watanabe’s Saito. I think he did a great job in the film, but when you combine Watanabe’s heavy accent, his ‘low talking’ to outright mumbling, and the fact that he was acting ‘wounded’ through a large segment of the film, it was very difficult to make out what he was saying. Someone mentioned subtitles could have been a solution, but that sounds sort of demeaning for some reason. I picked up most of what he was saying, but at times it was distracting.

My last minor little quibble is in the dreams everyone is still bound by he laws of reality for the most part. There are no flying people, monsters or anything else too much out of the ordinary. As far as dreams go these are pretty pedestrian. I read somewhere that Nolan has the same problem depicting the  fantastical elements of dreams as much as Hitchcock did.

But in this case, judging by the film’s final moments, the lack of too many fantastical elements in the dreamworld was deliberate. You’ll have to see for yourself. There are nice touches throughout. I’m sure details such as the Edith Piaf song that was played in the movie (at least twice) was deliberately placed.

Marion Cotillard played her in La Vie En Rose of course, so there was some reality being blurred in the filmmaking aspects as well.

4.5 of 5 whatevers. Inception is just an excellent film. It’s the best live action movie that I’ve seen all year, if not just the best film.

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3 Responses to “Inception Review (4.5 of 5)”

  1. […] Inception (A movie of ideas and dreams. The only reason I placed this at #2, was because,  like Christopher […]

  2. Crash! Landen Says:

    Thanks! For me, Inception’s one of those movies that I’ll have to see twice to see the things that I missed. The Dark Knight was not nearly as complicated as this, but I kept finding things I missed on the first viewing. I’m sure this one will be no different. After seeing the movie from beginning to end I wonder if the person in the film that had the idea implanted was the actual person that was getting the idea implanted. Or maybe I’m overcomplicating it. Great movie.

  3. Great review of the movie Inception. Here’s my Inception Review. Definitely a must watch.

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