Movie Review: Inception
It is extremely rare for a film with as much hype surrounding it as Inception to somehow exceed expectations. It’s even more rare for a film this aesthetically stunning to have its technical prowess matched by an equally brilliant story and concept. Inception is that rarity. It’s an absolute masterpiece.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who was great in Shutter Island earlier this year, fairs even better as the similarly tormented Cobb in Inception. He’s a thief who specializes in extracting ideas from the minds of others through shared dream experiences. A new job offer from a powerful businessman (Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai) asks him to do something even more complicated: inception. That is, to actually plant an idea into someone’s mind. That mind, in this case, belongs to the son of a dying oil tycoon (Cillian Murphy, Batman Begins).
Thus, he forms a sort of “Ocean’s Eleven” of dreamscaping with Joseph Gordon-Levitt ((500) Days of Summer) serving as his right hand man. Juno‘s Ellen Page is a bright young architect who is hired to design these dream worlds and Tom Hardy (Bronson) is a forger, which means he can alter his appearance once in the dream state and take on the persona of someone else.
The femme fatale in this sci-fi noir is Cobb’s late wife (Marion Cotillard, Public Enemies), who represents a personal conflict that constantly pops up to haunt him in his dream state. The further Cobb dives into his own subconscious, the more difficult these appearances are to fend off. Tom Berenger and Michael Caine round out the stellar cast.
Inception is so imaginative that it makes The Matrix look like child’s play (no, that’s not a reference to the great ’80s slasher flick… I’d hate for the Chuckster to come after me because he felt offended by my review). Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) never allows the film buckle under the weight of his own ambition, crafting a film that is deep and complex without ever becoming confusing or difficult to follow.
As in other recent movies (Watchmen certainly comes to mind) Inception often utilizes slow motion simply to make things look cool. That it certainly does, but other times it serves as an integral narrative device as the film plays with the compression time and the manipulation of gravity within the various levels of dreaming. Hanz Zimmer’s relentless score never lets up from the opening moments of the film, coming in multiple crescendos that make almost any moment feel like it could be the turning point in the film.
It’s an amazing thing to see a summer blockbuster that has its audience discussing so freely, thinking aloud to one another following the show. People are going to keep talking about this one for a long time because when all is said and done, Inception might be the year’s crowning achievement.
RIYL: Minority Report, Blade Runner, The Matrix.