Sunday, July 18, 2010


Film: Inception (2010)
Dir: Christopher Nolan
Rating: ****1/2 out of 5 stars

Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Since Ben is dead and this is my review, allow me to throw in a third certainty - Christopher Nolan's ability to make amazing movies. He has yet to let me down, and I suspect he never will. His latest mind-bender Inception is not my favorite of his movies - probably not even in the top three - but it is still an exciting heist film and a fun exercise for the mind.

Fugitive and thief Dominic Cobb (Leonard DiCaprio) specializes in hijacking people's dreams and robbing their minds of secrets and ideas. When a powerful businessman offers him a job and a clean record, he has no choice but to accept. However, the goal of this job is not to steal an idea but to plant one - a principle known as "inception". To do this, Cobb must assemble a talented team and dig deep into the target's subconscious. This proves to be no easy task as they face militant dream projections and risk slipping into a permanent state of unconsciousness.

breaks the audience down into three distinct types: 1) people who do not understand anything that is going on; 2) people who get it and love it; 3) people who get it - or claim to get it - but hate it because simply type #2 loves it. These snobs complain the movie is excessively convoluted, and then bitch about the missed details. Make up your minds! I fall in the second category. I get the general idea and the basic concepts, and I appreciate what they mean. If you spend the whole movie nitpicking the little details, you will miss out on all the fun.

There is no denying the film is complex, but it is not just for the sake of being complex. Dreams are complex. Heist movies are complex. Just look at the elaborate schemes Danny Ocean and his crew come up with in those films. So when you have crime professionals breaking into the human mind, things are gonna get complicated. Besides, it is more fun that way - like solving a puzzle.

The complexity is not some gimmick to trick audiences into thinking this is high-class art. Just like Memento's backwards non-linear storytelling was not a gimmick - it was directly related to the story and what the protagonist was experiencing. In both films, Nolan puts you in the perspective of his characters, whether they be haunted by fleeting memories or a complex, nothing-is-what-it-seems dream world. This same argument is why I defend Inception's already-infamous ending, but I won't go into that here.

Visually, Nolan delivers unique and beautiful imagery as always. It is complemented by a haunting Hans Zimmer score. Inception combines some of the best elements from Nolan's other work - the moody emotions of Memento or Insomnia; the mind-trickery of The Prestige; and the glorious action sequences of The Dark Knight.

Furthermore, the cast is fantastic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hardy particularly stand out, but I truly loved everyone in the film. Between this and Shutter Island, DiCaprio has finally earned my full respect as an actor. No longer does he look like a teenager in his father's clothes. He has matured into a formidable thespian and he truly owns this role.

If you go into this film expecting your mind to be blown, you will probably be disappointed. It may be a thinker, but it is not so much profound as it is a fun puzzle. Nolan gives us a completely unique concept and spins it into one exciting heist film. I'm sure he wants us to stress the how's, why's, and what-if's, but if you do, just don't let it stop you from enjoying the ride.


Hitmandj said...

Great review, completely agree, a lot of people have been giving this flack in the same since of other films, they see it they love it, then a good amount of time goes by and because it gets so hyped they change their minds and state how shitty it is and overrated. Despite that they loved it previously. They should realize they can still be a douche bag and love it "Oh yeah, I loved it first!" so to speak....needless to say, great review completely agree, I do think Leo was good in Departed as well among many others.

Definitely one of Nolan's best films(you know just like all his other films).