Inception

Well, everybody’s bloody talking about it. I suppose I’d better review it like the good little sheep I am. Of course, I merely wrote that to cover up the fact I have been literally counting down the days until Inception came out. But that pretence has now been shattered thanks to the preceding sentence and this sentence confirming it. Foiled again by my love of the neater looking six line paragraph…

Inception (2010)
Dark Knight, Dark Knight, Dark Knight. I really love The Dark Knight. There. Now that’s out of the way I can get on with actually reviewing Inception without any fear of my bat-love taking over and turning this review into another bat-wanking sesh. They’re different beasts anyhow. Any comparison would be a bit of a moot point and take up valuable reviewing space. Speaking of which, any real discussion of Inception could be considered spoiler material and I’m not going to invisotext the entire review, so proceed with caution. I’m not going to spoil the big stuff though, so no worries there.

“You’re asking me for inception. I hope you do understand the gravity of that request.”
The film centres around the concept of being able to steal ideas and secrets from a person’s subconscious dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio, looking like a shoo-in for any possible Christopher Nolan biopic) is a skilled Extractor, a man who does just that. However, when Cobb is approached by businessman Saito (Ken Wantanabe) about inception- the supposedly impossible process in which ideas are planted on a subconscious level, Cobb is forced to consider as if he succeeds, he can be reunited with his estranged children. The plot is actually deceptively simple, but undeniably great. Leonardo DiCaprio is annoyingly good as usual and has great support from a stellar cast including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page and Michael Caine.

If I had to glibly label Inception, I’d say it was like a heist film set in somebody’s brain. All the hallmarks of a heist movie are here- an eclectic bunch of people all with vastly different skills and personalities attempt the biggest job they’ve ever done so as to quit the heisting business. There are times where Inception does veer dangerously close to Clichésville, but Nolan keeps it on the ol’ straight and narrow. The characters are interesting enough to keep them from being cardboard cut-outs, merely used for the occasional supposedly funny line or to demonstrate some plot convienient ability. My only real qualm was with Ellen Page’s character who seemed to exist purely to have the plot explained to her (and therefore, us). However, it’s a small gripe and pretty essential to a complex story such as this.

Once I heard Nolan banging on about Inception being a “contemporary sci-fi action thriller set within the architecture of the mind.” my eyes rolled. It sounded like the sort of bullshit idea a fresh graduate from film school would have. However, in practice it’s spellbinding. The central idea of dreams and dreams within dreams is a fascinating one. I loved the effect of certain stimuli on the dreamer’s world. For instance, when we enter Yusuf”s (Dileep Rao) dream, it’s raining because he has a full bladder. The attention to detail is remarkable.

The effects are genuinely amazing. There were certain physics-defying parts which had me wondering how in Satan’s glorious name they pulled them off as I left the cinema, scratching my head in an unbecoming, ape-like manner. Inception is one of the few contemporary films where it seems like the effects are there to help the story, not to show off what an entire army of nerds can do with the latest computer technology. Inception isn’t a completely flawless film though. There’s a definite lull, funnily enough during a big action sequence, in the third act. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s due to the fact that after seeing folding cities and the like, a normal run-and-gun sequence seems a bit conventional. If the scene was in any other action film it’d be the highlight, but in Inception it seems a bit unimaginative compared to some of the crazy shit seen leading up to it.

“Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realise something was actually strange.”

Inception is fantastic. It’s a mindfuck of a film, but in a good way. I get the feeling Inception is going to be one of those films that inspires a whole new wave of filmmakers. It’s basically The Matrix for the iPad generation. See it on the biggest screen you can find. You won’t regret it.

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