The best piece of advice I can give you is to stop reading this review and go see Inception immediately, because the less you know going into it, the more rewarding your movie going experience will be, however, if blind faith is not your cup of tea (and since you’re reading this, it probably isn’t), read on, as I share a few words about one of the greatest summer blockbusters in recent years.
The easiest way to describe Inception is to say that it deals with dreams, and people who enter other’s dreams to find, or implant, information. As we soon learn, gaining information from dreams is difficult enough, but to implant information (a process called, you guessed it, inception), is a different story entirely. If you must know the plot, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are hired by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to perform inception on Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy) in an effort to convince him to divide his father’s (Maurice Fischer [Pete Postlethwaite]) company (this, as Alfred Hitchcock would say, is the MacGuffin). After consulting his old teacher, Miles (Michael Caine), Cobb picks up Ariadne (Ellen Page), Eames (Tom Hardy), and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), to assist him and Arthur on their mission of inception. There is also a side story involving Cobb’s wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), and their two children. My plot synopsis ends here, as saying more would detract from the amazing moments you’ll witness on-screen.
Those who have seen director Christopher Nolan’s 2000 effort, Memento, will not be surprised by Inception‘s requirement of the viewer to take each scene as it comes. Viewers and critics have called the film confusing. It’s not confusing, it’s complex. The film itself is explained in detail, and without the usual boring dialog that screams “Did everybody get that?”. There’s even well-timed comedic moments that serve to break the tension. The difficult complexities of the film come from what is not seen, the bigger picture, happening outside the parameters of the movie. This is why Inception has been the subject of debate on forums, blogs, and even around dinner tables. It’s as though Nolan puts the viewer in the middle of his maze, gives them the map, then turns them loose; but, there’s a catch, the edges of the map are burned and faded.
The technical side of the film is near perfect. I can’t recall another film where the special effects and cinematography were better matched to create a visual buffet that simultaneously feeds our hungry eyes and mind. Nolan’s long-time cinematographer, Wally Pfister, has done a great work here that tells the story as well as the actors and their dialog. All the while, Hans Zimmer’s score flows throughout the film, taking us where we need to go. While Nolan and this crew juggle the technical side of the film, Leonardo DiCaprio, and his cohorts, are in full-form as we journey alongside them through dreams inside of dreams.
Inception is that rare treat that comes down the line when a studio (in this case Warner Bros.) is smart, and brave, enough, to take a chance on something great and original. If you see one film in the theater this summer, make it Inception.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Dileep Rao, Pete Postlethwaite, Lukas Haas
Runtime: 148 minutes
Country: USA, UK