Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Josh's Review: Inception

For a film supposedly ten years in the making, writer and director Christopher Nolan delivers a complex and engaging sci-fi/action film that's original as it is epic.

The premise is complicated but easy to understand, its a heist movie at heart but instead of criminals breaking into in a bank, Leonardo DiCaprio is breaking into people's dreams by the process of extraction. DiCaprio heads up a stellar cast of award winners and Hollywood heavywieghts including the handsome Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine.

DiCaprio is Dominic Cobb, an extractor, who specialises in subconscious security. Aided by his pointman Arthur (Gordon-Levitt), Cobb and Arthur break into a subject's dreams in order to steal their secrets. The film opens with a botched extraction of businessman Saito's (Watanbe) dreams. Saito has an alternative offer and employs Cobb to perform inception. Instead of stealing information, he has to implant information in a subject's mind, a complex and near impossible feat to perform.

After the brief set up, the film settles into its rhythm, exploring Cobb's past, his relationship with his deceased wife Mal (Cotillard) and the nature of subconscious theft. Cobb assembles of crack-team to infiltrate Fischer's (Murphy) dreams and implant the idea that dissolving his father's massive empire is a good idea.

The majority of film deals with the actual inception and the complications that arise from creating a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream. Despite the slightly convoluted nature of dreams, Nolan carefully weaves in layers of philosophy and narrative complexity. Inception is never overly difficult to understand and comprehend which serves it well but it also never reveals the full picture which kept me hooked from start to finish and constantly had me wanting more answers.

The film's gun play and action is well choreographed and always exciting to watch. Coupled with sublime editing, gripping music from Hans Zimmer and superb direction and vision from Nolan, Inception is one of the most interesting and exciting films I've ever seen. It's visually rich and beautifully shot.

Looking back at the film its hard not to slide into sensationalism and hyperbole when trying to describe Inception but the best comparison I can make is to The Matrix (and by extension Ghost in the Shell). I remember the first time I saw The Matrix and the way it drew me in with postmodern questions about the nature of the 'real' and how it candidly boiled down complicated subjects. Inception outstrips The Matrix in terms of narrative fidelity while the philosophy is still there but it isn't so overt and it seems less pretentious for it.

Ultimately Inception is one of the best films I've ever seen and it certainly is the best blend of sci-fi/action out there.

JD Douglas-Walton
Writer & Networker for Grimm Up North.

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