Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review: Inception - What dreams may come

Butterflies would be the only way to describe how I felt before, during and after watching Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010). It really isn't too often when you watch a film and immediately want to watch it again because there is so much more to understand. He's now past the hat-trick, leaving me in this state on four straight occasions, constantly asking myself; did I miss anything, did I get it? The movie going experience has always been enhanced two folds when he is handling things; camera work that leaves you with goose bumps as much as it leaves you dizzy, intricate plot structures and scripts drenched in ambiguously subjective themes, just enough magic realism to make his movies seem real, settings of epic proportions matched by equally epic production outfits. To say he's the entire cinematic package (and more) would be painfully cliche and yet completely appropriate.

When The Dark Knight (2008) got released, it became Heath Ledger's Dark Knight... I cannot disagree with this because Ledger's Joker well and truly owned the movie - yet it was sad that Nolan's credit got lost - he was after all responsible for taking Batman (and the Joker) where he did. With Inception however, the stellar cast matched by their stellar performance is completely and utterly secondary. The real winner of this movie is Christopher Nolan and his vision - take into consideration this is a script he has worked on for over a decade. Throw in heavy themes dealing with the mind and it's functions, the power of dreams and the effect it has on life decisions; throw in corporate espionage, the demons of a widower, deep seeded daddy issues and what you have is without a doubt a contemporary, psychological, action packed classic. 

In so little words, Inception is a visual embodiment of the human subconscious and the effect when you have a sneaky group of colourful characters who are able to immerse themselves into it. It takes lucid to a whole new level, where the protagonist and his team, control and manipulate their counterpart's psyche through the medium of dreams. The process revolves around the notion of planting a simple yet life altering idea in one's being, resulting in a complete change in the way one will live out his or her life. 

From the perspective of creating a movie, the concept is vast and infinite. When you are thrust into the dream world setting that our lead characters put themselves in, you are given a visual extravaganza that is literally breathtaking - not so much surprise as you are dumbfounded with what is being shown to you. Paradoxical labyrinth architecture that embodies infinity and the dream world (you're climbing up and yet being led below) is the star of this movie, it's what will stop you from blinking, it's what will keep playing in your mind, it's what will blow you away. From an imagery perspective, this isn't just clever, it's bloody genius. Taking the setting and dialogue into consideration, it's remarkable the way in which Nolan is able to connect his viewers to their own dreams and subconscious aspirations - you can't help but feel an affinity because a lot of what is discussed and what we see is an explanation to questions we constantly ask ourselves when we awake from slumber. 

One can imagine Hollywood actors literally wetting themselves with anticipation at the thought of working with Christopher Nolan - which is why the casting in this movie is ridiculously strong. I've had my say about Leo in my Shutter Island (2010) review from last month and yet again he delivers. Here he is a little more restrained. Compared to his past roles, his character Dom Cobb is subtle and the intensity is within - it really works given the context of the movie. Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the controlling roles well, they made for relieving and didactic elements in this highly charged movie... the former coming of age and the latter really leaving his mark as a heavy weight. The Scarecrow, Cillian Murphy gives an understated performance as the team's target - you couldn't fake his inner battles with his father. Marion Cotillard was haunting as the deceased Mal Cobb and nailed the femme fatale role... she was powerful. Watanabe was a bit dopey and I felt a bit of a weak link compared to the other supporting roles. He was a bit flat - his character in this is just as important as his character in Last Samurai (2003), thought he should have done more with it. A big oi oi, must go to our Desi brother Dileep Rao who stars as 'The Chemist' Yusuf, who is responsible for inducing the characters into sleep for the mission - he along with Tom Hardy who plays 'The Forger' Eames, were effective in bringing in the humour and gluing the chemistry between Cobb's team of mind manipulators.

Inception is a culmination of an outstanding script, brilliant directing, powerful acting and awe inspiring visual effects. Step aside James Cameron, Christopher Nolan is here and even Kubrick would be impressed. Watching his movies is like reading a Dostoevsky novel; a dense, complex story telling process where a tragic anti-hero's obsessions are morphed into his surroundings; matched, visualized and created in a medium rooted by the author's obsession with detailing in imagery, dialogue and character development. He has essentially achieved a form of art where the visual medium carries the same weight of meaning that only a book could achieve.

With Nolan, the viewer is no longer a spectator but a participant - there's always a strong sense that everything is up for interpretation; are you a good or bad person, an optimist or a pessimist, a believer or a non-believer, these are usually the questions you ask yourself when the credits start rolling up at the end. Essentially, it's your own answers that determines the eventual outcome of the movie and when that happens, it's nothing short of magic. 

Watch.Inception.NOW. You're late already. Five movie reviews in and I've hit 9/10. Watching it on Monday again, might have to notch it up to 9.5. A massive kudos to the distributors in India, technically we were one of the few nations to catch this movie FIRST. :) Epic release date for India. haha. IN YOUR FACE AUSSIES! Will this lead to a Matrix type trilogy/franchise? We can only hope so.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "He has essentially achieved a form of art where the visual medium carries the same weight of meaning that only a book could achieve."


  3. It is insanely brilliant, a true masterpiece of 2010. Brilliant performance by Leonardo and the review provided is just good enough for the movie. Thanks for sharing the information.

  4. I kind of think that Leonardo looks like a boy with a beard. Despite that, he'd done a pretty decent job on Inception.

  5. inception jacket

    When you have a cast like Leonardo DiCaprio every thing gonna be great as we see in this movie


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