Movie Review: Inception


Inception is a really good movie, but despite the rave reviews and personal recommendations from people whose opinions I trust, it took me way too long to actually get around to watching this movie. Good or not, it’s far from perfect, and lies heavily upon some pretty sketchy premises, but those don’t notably impact my enjoyment of the story, or the movie as a whole.

I will say though that  the biggest cultural impacts this movie had where a new word becoming synonymous with complicated and confusing, or the inception noise which debuted in this movie, but appeared in a bunch of other movies following Inception’s release.

I will also unabashedly say that I preferred The Simpsons parody of this movie over the actual movie itself. However despite it being over-hyped, and bogged down by a lengthy run time and heavy handed symbolism it’s still something I’d pick off the shelf to watch over and over again.

Despite saying up top that this is a good movie, and one that I personally enjoyed, I feel like each subsequent sentence has been about what’s wrong with the movie, and I’m afraid I won’t break that trend too right now. I think that my main problem with the movie, is that it didn’t ease you into anything, you just keep getting presented with ideas and details, in an expositional onslaught. It’s just a bit much, especially considering how much is happening, and the core idea of the movie, the actual inception. I will also add that I understand suspension of disbelief as a concept, and my issue with the movie isn’t that it’s implausible or unrealistic, but rather that it is forced upon us at each point to get to the next stage of the movie, it’s done so inelegantly, and even approaching the conclusion, the movie is still racing to explain things to us.

So I think it’s fair to say that up to this point my opinion of the movie seems less than stellar, yet I asserted up front that not only is it a good movie, but also one I personally enjoy watching. I don’t therefore want to give the opinion I have have negative feelings towards the movie, in fact there are some aspects of the movie I would prefer to be real. For instance, I’ve always loved the notion that we have entire worlds within our minds, granted it’s a romantic concept of the human consciousness, but it’s one that theoretically holds water, because their is an ineffable quality to the human brain that speaks of great inner complexities, but enough pontificating for now. I guess i just love the idea that somewhere inside, waiting to be unlocked, is a world of imagination and fantasy, it’s very enticing as a writer. I suppose however, and the movie goes to great length to show it, that being lost inside your own mind isn’t exactly a dream come true, pardon the pun.

Let’s discuss casting for a moment, Leonardo DiCaprio (who plays the main character, Dom Cobb) is no longer young enough to play the doomed teenage heartthrob that he did in Romeo & Juliet and Titanic, he’s certainly grown up into a very talented actor, and see Catch Me If You Can, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street just to name a few if you need evidence of that, but he’s hardly my idea of a typical action hero, he does however make a surprisingly good one. Side note, prior to landing on DiCaprio, the role was offered to Brad Pitt and Will Smith, both of whom potentially have the skill to have successful helmed this film, but for some reason I can picture neither actor in the role.

Something I was curious about, in the movie, they explain that when you see destruction in the dream world such are buildings shattering apart, that it represent either some deep inner turmoil or external physical damage. So I was wondering if you purposefully damaged something, for example broke a window, how would that affect the person’s mind, because it was self-inflicted would there be no result at all, or would the suddenly forget their 15th birthday party or fall into a state of catatonia.

So Inception had many of its viewers questioning their own reality, and I think that something as simple as a spinning top being enough to drive people nuts for two and a half hours is ingenious. Also is it really that difficult to implant an idea in someone’s head, I mean all I have to say is don’t think about pink elephants, and invariably at least a few, if not most of you reading this review, will end up thinking about pink elephants. Plus advertisements have been using liminal and subliminal methods of ingratiating an idea into someone’s mind for decades, so I feel like investing time, technology and resources in literally sending a team into someone’s head seems like a waste of time.

Back to casting again, it was interesting to see Cillian Murphy in this movie (playing Robert Michael Fischer) because most recently to that I’d seen him in Batman Begins (part of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy) as Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow a character with an intimate connection to psychology, consciousness and mental manipulation. Also, I really admire the work he put into the role, having researched the children of wealthy media mogul Rupert Murdoch, to quote “add to that the idea of living in the shadow of someone so immensely powerful”.

I also really liked Ellen page’s role in this movie as graduate student and dreamscape builder, Ariadne. She’s smart and highly impressive, controls one of the most interesting elements of the narrative, namely the dream reality, and as an outsider she is our conduit for the information we need to understand the movie fully.

Tom Hardy is equally good, he plays Eames, a ‘fence’ although that doesn’t accurately describe his role, which is far more akin to forgery or identity theft. He’s such a fun character, who reminds me a little of Jonathan Carnahan (played by John Hannah) Evelyn’s older brother from The Mummy franchise (1999 – 2008). I was already aware of his acting chops from his roles as Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road just to name a few but he further impressed upon me his skill, with his role in Inception.

Something else that occurred to me, not only is Cobb’s character a rather tragic figure, but he’s also very similar to the character DiCaprio himself played in Shutter Island (as as U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels). Both have issues confronting reality, both have dead wives and both are clinging to versions of reality rather than face the truth. I don’t really have a point to make about that, it’s just something that I noticed.

Also something else I noticed, but with a modest amount of tweaking, this could easily pass as a James Bond movie, I mean it has all the hallmarks, from excessive gun-play, to various foreign locales, it even has a scene where our main characters are being chased down a snowy mountain top, see Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me and Pierce Brosnan in The World is Not Enough for examples.

Earlier I was quite critical regarding how the movie explains things to us, however they did provide an explanation for something that was actually satisfactory. To explain that statement a little further, movies will often play with time, for example the whole ‘bomb will explode in 5 minutes’ thing, very rarely if ever does just five minutes elapse, it seems more like a suggestion, and we are supposed to just chalk it up to suspension of disbelief, but in the movie, they explain that dream time works differently, that there is a distinct time differential between events inside and outside of a person’s subconscious, which I suppose makes sense.

So those are just some thoughts and musings on Inception, it was overall a really enthralling movie, which I feel was well worth a watch, but it was undeniably hampered by a complicated overarching plot, expositionitis and too much initial hype. So I think with all of that in mind, I am going to give the movie a 6.5/10.


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