I don’t think words can describe my reaction walking out of Inception, the new film from Director Christopher Nolan. They can’t describe my reaction, because there are no words. For the first time, in a long, long while, I was left utterly speechless at the end of a motion picture. That should tell you what I thought about Inception.
The film is a uniquely elaborate heist movie, wrapped together in a science fiction package, and has a delicious center, in the form of a tragic love story. Inception concerns Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), whose main job is to invade the minds of people while they’re dreaming, to steal ideas from them. After a particularly messy job, Cobb is hired by a powerful individual known as Saito (Ken Watanabe), to implant an idea into the son of a wealthy businessman, which may or may not destroy the company the
son works for. If Cobb accomplishes this, he will be able to walk into the united states unharmed, and be able to see his kids, whom he has not seen for 2 years, since the death of his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard). To do this, he puts together a team, which consists of an Architect (Ellen Page) who can construct dreams, a Point Man (Joseph Gordon Levitt) who is like a protector of sorts, and a Forger (Tom Hardy), who can take on the guise of anyone when in a dream. What happens next, is for you to find out.
To say that the film “grabbed me by the throat and never let go”, would be a cliche. However, it’s the truth. For the entirety of the films 148 minute runtime, I was glued to my seat. It apparently took Nolan 10 years to write the script for this movie, and it shows. Not because it was a hodgepodge of half-assed ideas that looked like they were tacked on, but because Nolan had to construct something that had to be absolute perfection, with no flaws, and no holes. Whether he succeeded or not, is up to the viewer, because I cannot speak for everybody, that would be rude. In my own opinion however, he did.
Of course, having a great script means jack if the acting was bad. Luckily, Nolan isn’t the kind of person to allow bad acting in this dojo. From the talented DiCaprio, the cute-as-a-button Page, and even the utter greatness of Gordon Levitt, every cast member delivered ten fold. The three members of the cast I mentioned, were my favorites, but it’s Levitt that runs away with the picture. Playing Arthur the Point Man, Levitt surprisingly manages to exhume an air of unstoppable toughness to his character, yet having a soft side to him. A quick scene with Page, in an attempt to be un-suspicious, was a particularly hilarious moment in the film. DiCaprio, as our lead, always turns in a great performance, no matter what he does. You feel for his situation, and want him to get out, which is where his performance succeeds, by being believable. Page serves as the audience, our eyes to the surroundings. As likable as a curious individual can be, Page, to put it bluntly, rocks. Everyone else, including a brilliant turn by Cillian Murphy as Robert, the businesses man’s son, turns it great performance. Not a flaw among them.
Onto the technical side of things, the film is pretty much brilliant. Casting the similar kind of color palette The Dark Knight had, the film looks beautiful. Sweeping and grand shot, loaded with nearly seamless visual effects. The dream world sequences are visually stunning. A standout sequence involves Levitt taking on some goons, during in which the hallway he’s in spins around, due to circumstances I can’t explain. Almost no CGI is involved, and the scene is visceral, intense, and executed perfectly.
The score by Hans Zimmer is equally great. That familiar sound you heard in the trailers (you know, the “BRRRRMMMM!”), makes its way into the film, but is never overpowering. Like all good scores, it only sucks you into the story more, which is what the score succeeds in doing. For a film that runs dangerously close into the 2 and half hour range, it never feels that way. It’s one of the quicker 148 minute films I’ve seen, this side of Avatar. One thing I particularly enjoyed in the film was that it doesn’t explain every little detail. Things like how the machines work, who invented them, why, are never explained, probably for the better. Nolan makes the assumption that the audience is pretty smart, and is willing to take things at face value. Ariadne (Page), never asks these questions, and being the relate-able audience character, we don;t have to ask them either. It’s like a Lost effect, if the characters don’t question certain
things, why should we?
If there is anything to be somewhat negative about the film, it’s the ending. No, I will no spoil it. For all the film’s technological complexities, it’s a fairly straightforward narrative. However, the ending makes an attempt to be ambiguous, throwing the audience in a shocking loop. Though people who play remarkably close attention to the final moments will realize that it’s not an ambiguous ending, and the people who don’t will argue day and night over it. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Nolan leaves the audience on a discussion worthy note, but in a small way, it was kind of a cheat as well. But this is a fairly minor quibble, considering that this part of the film may or may not have negative ramifications on the viewer.
Basically, it all boils down to this; Inception is a masterpiece, plain and simple. It’s an engaging, complex, and thrilling film, that will stay with you for days, maybe months, maybe even years. It’s fantastic piece of cinema that will be talked about in film schools, by professors, by everybody, until movies are no more.
So yeah. In case you were wondering. I thought the film was pretty good.