Notable Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Pete Postlethwaite, Dileep Rao
Review: I put this review off because I was hesitant about writing it. Why? For the fact that I believe I still can’t write eloquently enough to do this film justice. There are movies, and there are works of art. This undoubtedly is the latter. Ever since Nolan came on the scene, he’s been creating mind bending movies that challenge the audience to think instead of just merely watching the film. Take Memento as just one example. Some people I watched the film with still didn’t understand what was going on even after it had ended. But if you can cling on the entire movie and process everything, it is a much more rewarding experience than just watching a basic time waster. Inception takes what he created in Memento, and knocks it out of the park. Nolan goes above and beyond what I thought was possible in a movie, and seriously plays with your mind in doing so. No one else could have pulled this idea off as coherently as Nolan did, and I doubt anyone else ever would have been able to.
The film’s interesting story centers around the idea that people have the capability to invade your dreams using a special machine. Mostly, this process is used for retrieving information that the victim would not normally give up. Cobb (DiCaprio) is one of the best at his job, and he is approached by a business man (Watanabe) to complete a mission no one has ever been able to do. It is simply called inception, but it takes what Cobb does to a whole new level. The idea with inception is that you no longer want to take information from the victim, but plant information into the victims mind and get out without he/she ever knowing. Basically, you are using the dream world to subconsciously change someones mind. Cobb agrees, but not solely for the money. If he completes the mission, it’s also his ticket home after he had to flee the country for a crime he didn’t commit involving his deceased wife. So he puts together his team of professionals (Gordon-Levitt, Page, Hardy, Rao) and starts devising how to go about the careful procedure. And that’s the simplified version of the plot. If you think that’s even half the story though, you’re in for a serious ride.
How can I even scratch the surface of this brilliant film? First off, let me praise Nolan for the reassurance that spectacular original films can still be made. In a time where I feel everything is being licensed just to churn out a crappy film with the name attached (GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra/Ghost Rider) or remaking a film that should just stay dead (Nightmare on Elm Street/Friday the 13th), less and fewer people are focusing on creating new material. Well, consider Nolan your knight in shining armor because he’s not afraid to put his ideas forward. I’d rather Christopher Nolan take a few years to create a masterpiece than have someone crank out some rushed piece of garbage every year. Inception is nothing short of pure genius on an originality stand-point, and is incredibly detailed. The dream worlds are just as creative as the plot and they make some pretty visually stunning imagery (for example the town being folded over in the trailer) only made better by the technology of IMAX. The detailed visuals compliment the storytelling perfectly and to the extent that Nolan takes the story is mind-blowing. He doesn’t only tackle one dream subspace, but instead multiple. He has different characters in different worlds but all interacting on the same level. It’s mind-boggling how he ever kept everything straight on paper because of the sheer complexities of the plot.
Something that always goes along with a Nolan movie is a great cast. Some of that can be attributed to Nolan too though, because he always seems to get exceptional performances from the actors themselves. It made me chuckle because I found tons of similarities between the character of Cobb and Leo’s previous role in Shutter Island, but I felt he was much better suited for Inception than Shutter Island. Every character just seems meticulously planned out in Nolan’s mind and he knows exactly what he wants from each character. I love the added touch of having Joseph Gordon-Levitt with the slicked back hair. It was such a small difference to his appearance yet it actually made his intense character believable. Tom Hardy is also an actor I recently discovered (I always knew him but it was more of a “ohhh that guy!” kind of deal) and I thought he was also perfect for his role as Eames. Screw it, everyone here was perfect and there’s no point in complimenting each actor singularly. Without such care and detail given to each character, they would each just seem like a jumbled mess. Thankfully, Nolan keeps everything clean and translates it perfectly to the screen.
I figure by now most have you have seen this film and can attest to its brilliance. Nolan created something special here that will live on for years to come as an example of what can happen with just one crazy idea. Imagine the pitch Nolan had to make to the big wigs to get the ball rolling. “Well, I have a movie where a dream agent gets sent to plant an idea in someone’s mind, but in order to do that he has to take the victim from his dream and get him into another dream…multiple times.” If I were an executive hearing that pitch I’d say one thing to Nolan: “If anyone can pull off a film as creative and ambitious as that…you can.” Inception is one giant glorious puzzle that keeps you guessing the entire film, and also challenges you to think out of the ordinary. The world that Nolan creates is very vast for the movie, and he pays close attention to every meticulous detail. Towards the end of the film, a following of scenes are strung together that play out like a beautifully orchestrated symphony, and is one of the most interesting sequences a film has produces in quite some time. I loved everything about Inception except for the fact that I think it ran a little long. That can definitely be glanced over though to truly acknowledge the brilliance of the movie as a whole.
Final Rating: 9.5 times I try to remember my dreams now out of 10