Review: Inception (2010)

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Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page

There’s isn’t a whole lot to say about Christopher Nolan’s mesmerizing sci-fi epic that hasn’t already been said, but not expressing my thoughts about one of the year’s best cinematic experiences would be doing myself an injustice. Centering around “extractor” Dom Cobb and several specialists as they attempt Inception: a process that involves actually implanting a memory into an individual’s subconscious; something that’s far riskier than the typical run-and-gun extractions Cobb and the gang are used to. While the thought of even attempting a job like this wouldn’t have crossed their minds otherwise, it turns out that Cobb, already on the lam for the supposed murder of his wife, has a chance at a fresh start and to finally reunite with his children thanks to their employer, Saito.

The screenplay for Inception, having took over 8 years for Nolan to complete, is quite literally one of the most complex, engaging and flat-out ingenious pieces of work I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing play out before my eyes. Redundancy aside, the visuals that accompany the perpetual dreamlike state a vast majority of the script is presented in are simply unmatched, allowing me to revel in copious amounts of shock and awe as one dream sequence after another bored their way into my brain and remained there firm until the film’s breathtaking climax.

While most of what I’ve just said can easily be classified as hyperbolic, I assure you that the ideas Inception puts forth as a fully engrossing piece of science-fiction are wholly original to the point where it’d be hard to mimic them even far into the future. Nolan does a superb job in creating for us this alternate reality in which Cobb and these other professionals really do possess the ability to either extract valuable information from one’s mind or, in this case, plant an idea into their subconscious that wasn’t there in the first place. Plausibility, obviously, takes a backseat as the main characters begin to create the multi-layered dream within a dream within a dream scenario that would ultimately aid them in completing their current objective. While the aforementioned ideas and overly appreciable aura of intelligence kick into full gear at this point, it’s safe to say that the only flaws Inception actually does have manage to rise to the surface as well.

Although an easily perceived emphasis on mind-blowing action and the countless details surrounding the central characters’ current objective remain front and center, the subplot involving Cobb and the truth surrounding his wife’s death end up evolving into the solitary inkling of character development Inception provides us with. As the film hurls towards its latter act, it’s interesting to see how her perpetual involvement within Cobb’s subconscious alters his and his team’s ongoing predicament, thus throwing a proverbial wrench in the works and tossing a heaping dose of suspense and additional intrigue into the mix. What this brings forth is the idea that every other character begins to simply exist for the sake of just doing their part, and previously interesting individuals such as the architect Ariadne and Cobb’s right-hand man Arthur end up being reduced to nothing more than worker bees. Seeing as how Inception‘s overwhelming visuals and increasingly complex and oft bewildering narrative are generally more appealing, I reckon most people may not even pick up on this without it first being brought to their attention.

An excellent ensemble cast further aids Nolan’s mammoth achievement in living up to the hype, and while DiCaprio’s becoming peculiarly “one mode” as of late, his efforts as the film’s protagonist are exceptionally noteworthy. Being a huge Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan, I was also interested to see how big of an involvement his character would have and, seeing as how his involvement with films of this scale is sparse, how he would adapt to such an environment. Thankfully, he does so just fine, as does Ellen Page as the young architecture student Ariadne whose job it is to essentially design the subconscious environments the team traverses whilst fulfilling their objectives. Tom Hardy and the rest of the supporting cast display palpable chemistry with all involved, and while these characters do lose but a smidgen of relevance during Inception‘s latter act, their efforts surely aren’t forgettable in the slightest.

Merely labeling Inception as a film that managed to live up to the standards of eager moviegoers everywhere would be partially inaccurate. Instead, it’s a masterfully intricate, intelligent and visually stunning cinematic achievement that’s easily the best of the year and possibly the past few. It isn’t perfect, but those not looking to nitpick will have a hard time finding anything unfavorable to say about Nolan’s blockbuster outside of what I mentioned previously. If you’re looking for an acceptable reason to spend your hard-earned dollars at the theater this summer, I highly recommend you do so for Inception.

Rating: 9/10

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2 comments on “Review: Inception (2010)

  1. LB says:

    Your review is glowing but still manages to dampen the hype so I can actually go see this already.

    • afilmodyssey says:

      May I suggest avoiding an evening showtime? Being wide awake is most definitely a plus, but the film, over-hyped as it is, will likely prove to be well worth your time.

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