Sunday, January 23, 2011


There is always that moment when the lights dim and the months of anticipation and build-up are over and now you get to find out just what the hell this new movie is all about. Because of the director Christopher Nolan has always been, Inception was clouded in mystery. Once again not only did he deliver, he delivered flawlessly.

Its been over six months since I first saw Inception and I’m still surprised that such a non-conventional idea would be the basis for a summer blockbuster. Dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams lead to some fascinating storytelling. Its all in the details of each dream sequence; the introduction of the world through the Cobol job, Cobb and Ariadne witnessing the world folding in on itself then stepping from one plane to another, Ariadne moving mirrored doors in the middle of the street, the suddenness of the train running through the street, the hallway fight with shifting gravity, the snowy mountaintop fortress location, and just everything about the final level. Nolan is such a gifted filmmaker that he makes such amazing choices seem run of the mill in his hands. Arthur’s fight in the hotel hallway can’t be compared to anything else. It was seamlessly filmed to the point that something so unreal looked completely realistic. I could watch that sequence over and over again. While all of these memorable images are appearing on the screen, maybe the most consistently important part of Inception is the score. Every single moment is punctuated by this reverberation that was incredibly powerful. It was absolutely perfect.

The amusing thing about Inception is that even with all of its crazy-ass ideas this was just a by-the-book heist story. An impossible job is taken on, a team needs to be put together, a rookie needs to be shown the ropes, the leader is tortured but thinks this job will fix his life, you see the job being planned but then it all goes to hell, and then you end the movie with the heist. But who cares? The heist storyline was just the path Nolan was following in order to explore his fascination with the world of dreams.

Its starting to become obvious that Leonardo DiCaprio is incapable of attaching himself to a bad movie. Ten years have past since he relaunched himself with Gangs of New York and every single time he steps in front of the camera it is with some serious material to work with. He completely nailed Cobb’s slipping grip on what is real and what isn’t within the dreamworld. Leo was the anchor for the entire film. This allowed all of the talent around him to just dominate when they had their chance. I’ve been a champion of Joseph Gordon-Levitt since Brick so it was fantastic to see him do his work in such a high profile film. Ditto for Ellen Page. Well, switch Hard Candy for Brick and that sentence makes a bit more sense. The sleeper of the heist gang was Tom Hardy. He's been in a bunch of British gangster movies (and Star Trek: Nemesis ... whoops) but he took advantage of the big stage and just ate up the scenery like no one's business. That still leaves Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, Cillian Murphy, and Dileep Rao. Yes that Tom Berenger. And Michael Caine, there will always be a place for Michael Caine.

Inception's open to interpretation ending was the only way to properly end such an examination of reality. Since I have a dark mind, I appreciate not being spoon-fed a happily ever after conclusion. Either way you choose to view it, Inception is the new peak of Nolan's career ... I think. Damn its becoming tough to separate these perfect films.

10 out of 10

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