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Monday, 16 July 2012

Inception - Film Review

Inception - Movie Poster
Inception movie poster

The Dark Knight Rises is literally about to hit the big screen, and with a good bunch of it's main cast having previously appeared in Christopher Nolan's 2010 masterpiece Inception, this is as good a time as any to re-visit the film.

Sadly, my busy life has prevented me from having the chance to re-watch Inception at this time, so I won't be writing a retrospective post here just yet - I'll save that for another time.  Instead, this is a good opportunity for me to resurrect my Inception film review, which I originally wrote during the film's release.  I have updated it slightly, but its essentially written from the point of view of having just seen the film for the first time.  Enjoy.

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Inception is a tricky one to review as I don't want to give away too much and want to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible.  Do you remember the line "No one can be told what The Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself" Inception is very much like that.  And just as The Matrix was meant for the big screen and all the surround sound that goes with it, so is Inception.  There is no doubt about it, Inception was the Movie event of the year in 2010.  Not since Avatar had a film demanded to be seen on the big screen with an audience.

It was July 2010 and the Summer blockbuster season was in full swing, the cinema was packed and for the whole two and a half hours not one person shuffled in their seat, let alone leave to go to the bathroom... Much like a good book that you cannot put down, this is one of those films where you simply cannot tear yourself away even for a second.

Writer/Director Christopher Nolan and the producers were brave enough to make a film where they actually assume that the audience has intelligence and can work out what is going on without having to stop to have a break in the action to explain everything.  Its much like Nolan's earlier film Momento in that respect, Nolan is fast earning a reputation for actually respecting his audience and treating them like grown-ups.  

Inception was the first summer blockbuster to reward the audience for paying attention since The Matrix way back in 1999.  There's no doubt about it, this is one of those movies that you don't just watch, you experience, and if you were lucky enough to see it in the theatre it almost feels as though you are taking part yourself.

Action scene in heavy rain in the movie Inception
Action scene in heavy rain in the movie Inception

Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's characters use a technique of entering into a person's dreams while they sleep, taking control of the dream environment with the intent usually to steal information from a person's mind.  It could be an idea, or a bank account - whatever.  The concept of the main plot of Inception is not so much to steal something from a person's mind but to actually place an idea there.  Its an attempt to make that person do something in the real world when they wake up.  

DiCaprio's character - Cobb is encouraged to take on the complicated and dangerous mission that forms the main plot of the film not for money, but for the freedom to return to the USA without being locked up for causing the death of his wife (Marion Cotillard).  More importantly, he will be re-united again with his children.  The mission is to plant the seed of an idea into the head of Cillian Murphy's character.  Sounds simple right?  But then that would be boring wouldn't it - and this film is far from boring.

Ellen Page is always a pleasure to watch (unless she's castrating some guy), she is bought into the team to help complete the mission. She is the architect who will essentially design the worlds where the dreams will take place.  The early part of the film consists of a recruiting and training period where Cobb assembles a team to complete the mission which also includes Tom Hardy - soon to be seen kicking Batman's ass in Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.  Michael Caine is also a welcome addition to the cast list, but his part is relatively small and he only appears in a few scenes.

Things get more complicated and interesting when the characters start entering dreams within a dream. "Who's head are we actually in now?"  Like The Matrix all those years before when Neo and Trinity go into the Matrix with "Guns, lots of Guns!" - this is where most of the action takes place.

Time slows down with each level of dream state that you go down, so 5 mins of sleep time might give you an hour in the dream world, this time increases dramatically every layer you go down (a dream within a dream).

Amazing fight scene in rotating hallway in the movie Inception
Amazing fight scene in rotating hallway in the movie Inception

In the dream worlds we get some fantastic action sequences, most notably Gordon-Levitt's fight scene in the hotel as the whole world is turning upside-down and rolling over.  The actors are bouncing off the walls and ceilings in the middle of the fight... All of this was shot for real on a rotating set, its absolutely brilliant and made all the better for Hans Zimmer's incredible music throughout the film and action sequences.

In Conclusion

Inception is an easy 9/10 and may even be upgraded to a 10 with a second viewing. Its arguably the film of 2010 and its not surprising the film was Oscar nominated (winning 4 Academy Awards).  Its no doubt thanks to the success of The Dark Knight that Chris Nolan was pretty much allowed to make whatever he wanted without the studios breathing down his neck saying "You can't do that, its too expensive, it too complicated - you need to dumb it down for audiences".

Lets hope that the success of Inception, means we get more films in the future which actually treat the audience as though they have a brain.  I'm sure that Nolan will be the man to do it, now that The Dark Knight series has all wrapped up.  I for one am definitely looking forward to seeing what he cooks up next.

By Chris Russell


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About the Author: Chris Russell has a passion for movies, films and cool TV shows and loves to share that passion here on Movie Retrospect where readers can join the discussion in the comments below or directly to Chris though his profile. If you enjoyed this post, please follow @MovieRetrospect on Twitter.