My other most anticipated film of the summer finally came out this weekend. Christopher Nolan’s Inception, like Toy Story 3, salvages a very disappointing summer movie season. To see a major studio tentpole film like this is the reason why I love movies. Kudos to Warner Bros. for rewarding Nolan’s The Dark Knight success with a cart blanche ticket to craft this amazing film. Whilst many films have delved into the nature of dreams, no film has done what Inception has. Inception takes concepts of time, physics, and sleep and takes them to places I’ve personally not seen.
The rules of the dreamworld that the characters create in Inception are spelled out early and often. Perhaps the biggest flaw of the film is that it continues to tell us the rules rather than show us the rules. There is a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character (the protagonist Cobb) explicitly explains to Ariadne (the lovely Ellen Page) not to mess with the dream’s architecture she built nor build with her memories as she runs the risk of making the mind aware it’s dreaming. All the while Cobb explains this the projections of his dreams (the extras) begin to get violent. I felt this scene could have used less dialogue. It would have been much more jarring to see the dream turn violent and have Ariadne awaken in shock, learning her lessons the hard way.
No film can ever be perfect. The incredible ambition of Inception could never really be perfected. In spite of my minor quibble illustrated above, I absolutely adored this film. There was not one moment in its runtime I was not engaged or intrigued. When Ariadne begins to experiment with the physics of the dreamworld she’s training in with Cobb, the inverting and twisting city-scape is an incredible visual feast. Nolan has masterfully played with the notion of physics within this film.
The central conceit and titular idea of the film is astounding. The concept of instilling an idea into someone so that they feel the idea was naturally their own rather than a suggestion is an amazingly powerful thing to ponder. I wish Inception would have done more to examine the morality of such an endeavor but the action set-pieces were so thoughtful and engaging that I was rooting for the cast of characters anyway.
As far as the action set pieces go, they are some of the most engaging and original I’ve seen in a sci-fi film since The Matrix. The scenes where Joseph Gordon-Levitt is battling projections in a dream that has lost gravity were incredibly well done. Seriously some of the most visually interesting fight scenes Nolan has ever directed. The cinematography of Inception was also top-notch.
There are tons of layers to this film, both literal and figurative. I didn’t want to spoil too much in this film. I’ve left a lot of detail out of this review. The cast turns out excellent performances all around. The film generally strays away from holding the audiences hands which is a rare feat these days. The film is a brave cry to Hollywood that thought-provoking films can also be major summer tentpoles. Inception is another feather in Christopher Nolan’s well stocked cap. Now if the man can complete his Batman trilogy unscathed by studio meddling the world will be a better place. I’ll be seeing Inception again in the future for sure. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see something unique and engaging this summer.
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