Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Inception

There is a site I visit some time called The Movie Spoiler. Just like it sounds, they specialize in recaping a movie from the beginning all the way up to the end. I go there when there is a movie I'm interested in but not quite interested enough to see. While watching Inception, I felt for the poor sap who would even attempt to summarize this movie.

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the master of a new type of corporate espionage. He and his crew (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao) go into people's dreams and by mining their subconscious are able to steal their secrets, a process called extraction. However, a client, Saito (Ken Watanabe) asks them to do the opposite, instead of taking thoughts out of the victims subconscious he wants to plant an idea into a victims head, a process called inception.

Most of the team balks at the idea, but Cobb says it is not only possible but that he's done it before. So, the team, including their new dreamscape architect Ariadne (Ellen Page) agree to go for it. An energy mogul Robert Fischer (Pete Postelwaite) has just died. Saito wants to plant the idea to break up his father's holdings into the mind of Fischer's only son and heir, Robert Jr. (Cillian Murphy).

Most of the movie is a dizzying mix of dreams, dreams within dreams, and dreams within dreams within dreams. The crew must navigate the dreams, the inhabitants of the dreams, a difficult father-son relationship and the specter of Cobb's beautiful and complicated dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) who shows up at the worst times and usually on the wrong side.

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Memento) does not disappoint directing a visually stunning, mind-bending actioner that he also penned. Just like a dream, he never lets us get our footing. The audience is kept off-kilter throughout the movie and all the way through to the end.

DiCaprio, Page and Cotillard are particularly game, giving depth, meaning and realism to a movie steeped in surrealism. The performances keep the movie grounded. I would be lying if I said I knew 100% of what was going on 100% of the time in this movie. It's a testament to the film that I stayed along for the ride even though, at times, I was scratching my head.

Like Avatar, this movie was pure eye-candy but unlike that movie, this one measured up as far as acting and story. Inception is definitely a movie to be seen in a theatre, and in IMAX if possible. Make some time afterwards to discuss the final scene!

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