Nolan’s Masterpiece Will Have You Entranced Or Asleep!
Stunning visual effects and imaginative and challenging ideas combine to make Inception the most interesting concept film in recent cinematic history. Nolan’s long-awaited and much-anticipated masterpiece delivers on almost every level.
Review by Debbie Davies
Genre: Science fiction/fantasy
Running time: 2hrs.28mins
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Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Peter Postlethwaite, Michael Caine and Ellen Page.
Director: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
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Stunning visual effects and imaginative and challenging ideas combine to make Inception the most interesting concept film in recent cinematic history. Nolan’s long-awaited and much-anticipated masterpiece delivers on almost every level. Enough action to keep you riveted to your seat and more than enough cerebral exercise to keep you talking long after you’ve left the cinema. The film is about dreams, or more accurately, dream invasion. Cobb (DiCaprio) and Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) are hired to extract information from people’s dreams – a sort of psychological espionage. Extractors wire themselves up to the dreamer, via a sedative, in order to explore the subconscious mind and extract information. Sound fanciful? Well, it is. You need to leave reason and logic behind at the popcorn counter and enter the cinema prepared to embrace, but not necessarily follow, a plot that explores the unimaginable in multiple layers.
So that’s extraction explained, but the plot of the film is about the inception of dreams and that’s a different thing altogether and it’s highly dangerous. When the extractors are approached by a Japanese businessman (Ken Watanabe) to plant an idea (inception) in the head of a business rival, we enter an abyss of ideas, notions and profundity that will either blow your mind or have you nodding off.
To complicate things further, Cobb has a personal history and a whole host of bad dreams or terrible memories (it’s not all that clear which) to contend with. For Cobb, inception is the clich�d ‘one last job’ as he wants to get back to his children who are either stuck in a dream or waiting for him at home (again, you have to try and work out which)!
When you reach the part in the film where you nudge the person next to you to ask ‘who’s dream is this?’ or ‘is this a dream within a dream?’ you will either be entranced or wishing you had gone to watch Toy Story Three.
The special effects are cleverly done; folding Parisian streets, lots of water and mirrors and walking on walls and some neatly done James-Bond-type cliff hanger stuff that will at least ensure the sleepers in the audience are woken from their slumber.
I did say the film delivers on almost every level and where it didn’t measure up in my view was the characterisation. Nolan should have given us the characters a film of this magnitude deserves.
Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) played the part of the rich kid who never really measured up for his dad to the point of boring non-entity. Cobb’s ‘dead’ wife (nothing is an absolute in this film, but I’m pretty sure she was actually dead) whines so much that by the time she is dangling on a window ledge threatening to jump you really wish you could enter the dream yourself and give her a push.
The role of Ariadne (Ellen Page) was confusing. She looks like a schoolgirl, but ends up being Arthur’s love interest and joins the team because she’s good at puzzles! She struts about a lot and doesn’t bat an eyelid when asked to share drugs in a warehouse with strange men who want to dream with her.
Michael Caine has a couple of minor scenes and, again, his role in the film is not clear and he looks and sounds out of place. Pete Postlethwaite’s appearance is all too brief, but he does die well.
I’m not a Di-Caprio fan, but with none of his usual posturing I warmed to him and ended up feeling desperate to see him have his happy ending.
Inception was billed as the film to save the cinema; I’m not sure Christopher Nolan can do that all on his own or whether this film will have the mass appeal necessary to start the ball rolling let alone sustain the momentum. But Nolan has given us a film that, love it or hate it, will get people talking about films and the cinema and that’s a good place to start any revival.