Friday, July 30, 2010

Movie Review - Inception

Well, it was worth a shot.

"Inception," believe it or not, is in fact a real word, not merely a really cool sounding title made up by Christopher Nolan. It means a beginning, start, or origin. And, unsurprisingly, the title describes the film quite well. Much has been said, and probably still will be said, about Inception, and rightly so. Inception, in case any of you have been living under a rock for the last month or two, is probably one of the best movies of 2010, if not the best, if not the best movie of the decade. It is truly a beginning, an origin, an original idea. It is simultaneously the most amusing type of escapist film and self-referentially intellectual to the point of philosophy, and this is where it derives its grandeur.

The film is first and foremost designed to entertain, and it fulfills this function beautifully, whether that’s with fantastic shifting-gravity fight scenes or simply watching Eames (Tom Hardy) demonstrate a dream-escaping Kick by tipping over Arthur’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) chair. The secondary characters feel like the best stock characters from your favorite action-adventure movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is superb as Arthur, the quintessential sidekick, so superb that he almost entirely steals the comic side of the movie from dour main character Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). Ellen Page is also distractingly entertaining as Ariadne, a genius student recruited by Cobb to be the team’s Architect. Eames (Tom Hardy) the wisecracking Forger, and Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) the unwitting target of the master heist round out the cast of characters for the delightfully complicated con job that is the supposed main plot. The gleefully impossible visuals, including upside-down cities, Escher-like staircases, and infinite mirror corridors, show us clearly that this is not a film that worries overmuch about reality.

But the film also has a darker, more intellectual side which keeps fans discussing the more confusing elements of the story and watching the movie over and over again to try and understand. This side of the story is the one that centers on main character Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) and it borders on a serious drama. Leonardo is excellent for this role, and those who want to see high-caliber dramatic acting are in for a treat. Besides the drama, there is also an extremely intellectual side to this thriller. Many is the fan who has come out of the theater after seeing Inception with one burning question: what happened? The questions of the nature of reality and the brilliant self-referential comparison of the dreams in Inception to movie-making itself make Inception a thought-provoking movie. Indeed, the self-referential nature of the dreams alone makes the movie brilliant and ground-breaking, as at every turn it seems to be nudging the audience into the movie. Cobb tells Ariadne that one way to tell you’re in a dream is to ask yourself how you got where you are. The movie, like dreams, seems to start right in the middle, leaving you never quite sure how you got there, but like a dream it all makes perfect sense anyway.

By far the most fascinating part of Inception is the ending. Now, I’m not going to give the ending away, since this is just a review, but it is perhaps the perfect ending for a movie like this. Throughout the movie, you are always wondering whether the characters are dreaming or not, whether you’re in reality or not. Inception also leaves you wondering whether it was an escapist thrill, a psychological drama, or a philosophical parable. The ending merely answers your questions with a question: who cares? I suspect people will be attempting to figure out Inception for a while to come, but I say who cares? In the end, what mattered was that I thoroughly enjoyed watching Inception.

Overall review: Like.

Death and Glory,


  1. So do you think you might allow guest reviewers? I mean, someone just HAS to review Grown Ups. Has to. You know what I'm saying.

  2. We do allow guest writers, but Grown Ups... Ummmm...

  3. What about just guest people? Or at least a profile on me. C'mon, why not?

  4. What about just guest people? Or at least a profile on me. C'mon, why not?


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