Inception is an amazing movie. There is no sense in moving forward with a full review without first getting that out of the way. Christopher Nolan and his team, with a cast that is led by the sterling Leonardo DiCaprio, have made a complex, innovative, and compelling film that will be talked about for years to come, let alone is an early awards season favorite. It is likely the best film that I have seen in the last five years and perhaps longer. Yes, it is that good.
Now that the superlatives are out of the way, let me tell you a bit about the film that has been hyped on the internet for at least a year. Inception is a difficult film to define, which will leave you questioning the events you have seen from start to finish. The idea of inception, is the concept of planting an idea in someone’s mind, in order to make that idea a reality within the individual. It may sound complex, and it is, but it also is very compelling.
In the film, DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb is a master at entering people’s dream states and stealing their ideas for various uses. Cobb has a team of rogues that include Arthur (the continually maturing Joseph Gordon Levitt of 500 Days of Summer fame), Tom Hardy’s (Bronson and RocknRolla) impersonator Eames and the rookie architect Ariadne (Juno’s Ellen Page). The team’s members are all capable of interacting with one another within a dream state.
While Cobb has largely been a stealer of ideas, with the concept of inception, his goal is to plant an strong idea in Robert Fischer’s (Cillian Murphy) mind, as a favor (paid) to billionaire Saito (Ken Watanabe), so that Tom will regain his freedom and be able to return to the United States and see his children. Cobb has been living on the lam internationally since he was forced from the US upon an accusation that he killed his wife (Marion Cotillard).
Entering the mind is a challenging art as the mind has defense mechanisms built in to defend itself against theft, which is played out in the film in various forms as well. That is the essential groundwork one can know, in order to grasp the basic principles of what will take place in the movie. Almost anything else would be considered a spoiler; a slippery slope as it is. That being said, the journey that Nolan’s Inception takes you on is an incredibly immersing and creative one.
The visual effects are top notch, the creativity involved truly makes a dream world come to life unlike any film I can recall witnessing. Physics and time rules are tossed out the window (trains travel down the middle of the street, building are bent, gravity shifts – all at a moments notice), and similar to being in a dream, things happen seemingly at random until the “kick”, which is a reference to being jolted awake.
Most everyone knows the feeling of falling from a cliff in their dream and bouncing awake on their bed. Inception takes that fundamental feeling and explains how it happens.
The movie is an incredible thing to witness. You are taken on a journey across continents, torrential weather changes, shape shifting worlds where houses float and stairs end and begin as you create them in your mind. Throw that on top of the strong acting and incredible direction. If you thought The Dark Knight or Memento was Nolan’s strongest point, you can now cast such thoughts aside.
Inception is the clear-cut leader in the awards race for best picture, director and technical achievement at this juncture, if nothing else. The Oscars, Golden Globes and others will be hard pressed to find a yet to be released film to top it. A tall statement in July I understand, but one I believe will hold true nevertheless. Inception combines the striking visuals and mind bending concepts of a film like The Matrix, the action of the Bourne trilogy, with the emotional core of a film like Slumdog Millionaire and rolls them into one challenging whole. Inception is a film that demands repeated viewings and philosophical discussions for those truly trying to discern specific answers to it, but even those who leave their minds at the door can enter into a dreamlike state and just take it all in.