It will blow your mind!
***More mind melting fresh images here***
The H-Bomb: Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an Extractor, someone who goes inside people’s dreams in order to steal their secrets and ideas. Naturally, his most frequent clients are shady corporate types looking to commit various kinds of industrial espionage. After his latest job gets bungled, Cobb is commissioned by a Japanese business man, Saito (Ken Watanabe) to perform an Inception. What is an inception? It’s the opposite of an extraction, of course. Instead of stealing someone’s idea, it’s the act of planting an idea into someone’s mind through a dream.
Most in Cobb’s line of work believe that inceptions are impossible, but not Cobb. Why? Because Cobb has performed one before. That’s just one of the many dark secrets of Cobb’s past that are buried inside his mind and his dreams. Another being a mysterious Brunette (Marion Cotillard) who constantly turns up in Cobb’s extractions as a threatening force. Who is she, and what is she to Cobb? Wait… I’m getting ahead of myself here.
The other members of Cobb’s extraction crew include Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his icy right hand man, Eames (Tom Hardy), his forger- someone who can disguise himself to look like other people in a dream- and Ariadne (Ellen Page), an architect who designs the inside world of the dreams and the latest addition to Cobb’s crew. It’s during her recruitment that Cobb explains to her (and us) the rules of the dream world. First, never design a place in a dream based on your own memories, it will make it harder to establish what’s real and what isn’t. Second, if you die in a dream, you will simply wake up, but if you die when under sedation, you will sleep into an even deeper dream state from which you may never wake. Third, the background characters in a dream are the subconscious projections of the person having the dream, and if they find out there are outsiders inside the dream, they will attack and kill them.
Now, for the sake of not giving away spoilers, I won’t delve any further into the specific plot of the film. I’m also going to avoid any kind fancy critic talk and just say straight up, I fucking loved this movie! In this dire age of filmdom where it seems everything is either a remake, or a sequel, or a sequel of a remake, or a remake of a sequel, it is unspeakably refreshing to see a movie bursting at the seams with this kind of intelligence and imagination. It’s one of those films where I felt exhausted at the end of it… but in a good way.
Much like with his epic “The Dark Knight” (which is the BEST comic book film ever made, I don’t give a fuck what the being-contrary-to-sound-hip naysayers say), writer/director Christopher Nolan has cooked up another complex, cerebral film that is of course embraced by critics, and that is also palatable and exciting enough for typical moviegoers to enjoy. He manages to match the thrilling spectacle of both of his Batman films, and create a mindfuck that equals the intrigue of his breakout film, “Memento”. In my oh-so-humble view, I think he is one of the single most talented, intelligent filmmakers working today, and he could be the next Spielberg in how he makes movies that have both brains and Box Office muscle.
An interesting thing I noticed was how Nolan took two themes from his previous films and reversed them. “Memento” was about a man with a very rare form of amnesia, and in this film, the protagonist has memories that could potentially harm and destroy him. “Insomnia” was about a cop with said sleep disorder, while this film is about characters who, one could argue, sleep too much. Just something that occurred to me on the drive home from the theater.
If there’s one area that Nolan has truly grown as a visual director, it would be the action. He has finally learned how to shoot action scenes in a way that doesn’t just rely on quick cutting and shaky cam, though there was a notable improvement between “Batman Begins“ and “The Dark Knight“. The gunfights and chases are thrillingly shot, and there’s a sequence in a hotel hallway that I thought was truly fantastic. There’s also a scene set on a snowy slope that may conjure up fond memories of the old school James Bond films for some viewers.
Moving on to the performances, DiCaprio is terrific in this movie. He suffered the stigma of being a pretty boy after “Titanic”, but he has always been a gifted actor, and I would put this up there with “The Departed” as being one of my favorite performances of his. He plays a very complex, conflicted character with a painful past, who we learn more and more about as the movie progresses, and he hits every note just right. I won’t go out on a limb like I did with Sandra Bullock and say that he will win the Oscar for this, but I think he’ll certainly be nominated.
Nolan not only gave Leo a great character to chew on, but he’s also loaded the film with some top notch thespians who have emerged in recent years. Gordon-Levitt kills it as Cobb’s super cool number two. He actually makes a more convincing bad-ass than I thought he would. Page is very good in her sort of audience surrogate role, once again giving us her geeky, girl next door charm. Cillian Murphy, who plays the target of the inception, is given a number of great moments to shine, and he does, in spades. Watanabe and Cotillard I had trouble understanding in places, because of their accents, but they were both quite good as well.
Now on to my minor quibbles, which are indeed very minor, the first of which being the movie’s length. It’s very well paced, and there’s more than enough happening to hold interest throughout, but it is two and a half hours long, and towards the end, I was starting to feel its length. Again, it didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the film, but it could have been tightened just a little. Another slight grievance is that, as stated, it’s a very complex film. A very complex film with a complex plot set in a world with very complex rules, almost too complex for it’s own good. If you don’t catch every single piece of information thrown your way, you could find yourself getting lost completely. Even if you do catch it all, you could find your brain getting twisted into a knot just trying to keep track and keep up with it all.
Again, these are very minor. At the end of the day, what we have with “Inception” is something that only pops up on the rarest of occasions, a popcorn movie with a brain. There are points where this will remind people of “The Matrix”, but this is truly its own film, and a far better one, in my view, at least. This is one that I definitely intend to go see again, and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve had enough of vampire-werewolf soap operas and talking toys, then I highly urge you to go check this one out.