Inception Review

This review was originally posted as part of Table 9 Mutant‘s IMDb Top 250 project then updated and reposted for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon, hosted by Tranquil Dreams and me.

Inception movie posterSynopsis
Dream extractors Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and their team are hired by Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe) to perform inception, or plant an idea in someone’s mind, on Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), son of Saito’s dying competitor.

Review
Christopher Nolan is a writer and director who is known for films that are bold, that go big, and that are completely original. One of his boldest and biggest films came between the latter two films in his influential The Dark Knight trilogy. Inception has all of Nolan’s trademark elements and, most importantly, the cast to make it work. And it works. It works in a spectacular and unforgettable fashion.

Sometimes movies try to explain their world before getting into the story, often using an overbearing amount of exposition. But Inception doesn’t do that. Rather than use the beginning to set up the technology or concept to enter one’s subconscious, it is used to introduce the notion of dreams within dreams, which becomes an important aspect of the story later on, and also simply give an idea of what it the technology does. The movie accepts that entering dream space is already an established technology so it can start with a bang. However, later in the film we do get the exposition needed to explain such a high concept technology. This information is given to us through Ariadne (Ellen Page), who acts as the bridge between the movie and the audience. But again, it is done in a way that is neither pandering nor dull, somehow making exposition exciting and entertaining.

Although there is a large ensemble, almost everyone gets their fair share of screen time. Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are the main focus but they handle the attention well and give amazing performances. They play off each other humorously and you can feel that their characters are close friends. I haven’t seen many of Cillian Murphy’s films but I’m impressed with his performance here, playing well opposite, and later along side, DiCaprio. Ellen Page is the newcomer to the team and acts a great surrogate for the audience. She offers an innocence and a bit of naivete to the group. However, I would have to say my favorite performances is Tom Hardy as Eames. He brings a charisma that fits his character perfectly.

Cobb has become one of my favorite characters in cinema. He is very complex and it’s easy to forget that he is a thief. He is an antihero but is one because of the circumstances and wants nothing more than to return to his family. Most antiheroes say they have good intentions and only become so out of necessity but secretly enjoy being a thief/killer/whatever kind of antihero they are. Cobb, on the other hand, is truly not a bad person and is only leveraging his skills in a way he believes will allow him to return to his family the quickest, even though it is not a way he would prefer.

I have mentioned many times in other reviews how important the score can be to a movie. Like most other aspects of Inception, the sound work and music beautifully complements what is happening on screen. The movie can get loud to accentuate the action going on but it also gets very quite, making these moments more intimate. Hans Zimmer is my second favorite composer (behind the wonderful John Williams) and for a good example of why he is amazing just look at this movie. His score is memorable and gives a certain gravitas to the events unfolding on screen.

There are some amazing visuals, too. Working inside a dream allows the action to be limited only by the imagination. One of the coolest is an early scene when Ariadne is learning about molding dreams. She is walking around Paris and makes the city fold on itself, among bending the streets and architecture in other ways. There is also a fight scene in zero gravity in a hotel hallway. And these are just a few! On top of that, many of the effects are done practically rather than with computer animation. Even though this film takes place in the dreamscape, it adds a bit of realism in a world that is anything but real. The effects department truly outdid themselves.

I thought Inception was GREAT πŸ˜€ Like most of Christopher Nolan’s films, it features a grand and unique concept. Even though the concept is big, it is never dumbed-down or spoon-fed to the audience. The film assumes that they can figure things out for themselves and moves on accordingly, offering marvelous and extraordinary action pieces and character moments. Each character is complex yet relatable and all the actors and actresses play well off each other. Nolan has proven time and again his place as one of the biggest and best storytellers in Hollywood today, and Inception just might be his crown jewel. So far.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Christopher Nolan – Director / Writer
Hans Zimmer – Composer

Leonardo DiCaprio – Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Arthur
Ellen Page – Ariadne
Tom Hardy – Eames
Ken Watanabe – Saito
Dileep Rao – Yusuf
Cillian Murphy – Robert Fischer
Marion Cotillard – Mal
Tom Berenger – Browning
Pete Postlethwaite – Maurice Fischer
Michael Caine – Miles
Lukas Haas – Nash

Overdue Blog Update

Hello, friends!

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I just wanted to take some time check in since it has been over a month and a half since I have actually posted anything. On a personal note, I am safe and healthy, staying at home and practicing social distancing and self-quarantine. Honestly, with the exception of a fuller pantry, it’s not much different than my usual lifestyle. I’m not sure what that says about my lifestyle, though. One thing is for sure, after this is all over with, I am not longer calling myself introverted. Instead, I am going to tell people that I am a regular practitioner of social distancing and self-quarantining.

With much of the world on lock-down, going to the movie theater is not an option at the moment. But with my extensive DVD and blu-ray collection and several streaming options, watching movies is not an issue. If you follow me on Twitter or Letterboxd, you’ll know that I have still been watching movies regularly. However, I just haven’t found myself in much of a writing mood lately. With my job, I am lucky enough to easily work from home. The one downside of working in my home office, though, is that I do not have a standing desk like I had in my work office. As a result, I have been making more of an effort to get exercise, especially by walking my dogs, to get fresh air and spend some time outside. Also, I have noticed when making dinners lately I haven’t been making as many leftovers. Instead, I tend to make enough food for that meal. Therefore I am spending more time in the kitchen over the week as a whole. These are all ways to say that by the time I have completed the work day, exercised, and made dinner, I’m not in much of a mindset to write much of anything, whether that be movie reviews or the long form posts I was hoping to do more of this year.

So that’s if for these last few weeks. I can’t make any promises that things will change in the near future but going forward, I will try to make an effort to write reviews. I’ve been low-key proud of myself because I feel like my recent reviews have been more extensive; I’m finding much more to say about the film being reviewed and moving away from the “Lightning Review” format I had adopted early on in my blogging tenure, having formally dropped the distinction not too long ago. One option I’ve been considering is to bring that format back, not in name but at least in style. Maybe writing shorter reviews will serve as a start to help me to get content out to all you beautiful readers once again.

Anyway, that’s my update. I hope to have content to you soon. I also hope you and your families are safe and healthy during this time of craziness and uncertainty.

Until next time, cheers!

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon Conclusion

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the end of the fifth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the decade we just said goodbye to than looking back at all the great and varied films that were released during it. It has been a blast hosting this blogathon with Kim from Tranquil Dreams and reading everyone’s reviews of their ultimate 2010 film. If you missed any of the entries, here they are:

Tranquil Dreams – Wandering Earth (桁ζ΅ͺεœ°ηƒ)

Drew’s Movie Reviews – Eighth Grade

John ReiberTrain to Busan

Box Office Buzz – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

18 Cinema LaneThe Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box

Police Entertainment NetworkΒ – Denis Villeneuve: Defining a Decade using Shades of Grey

Starry Traveler’s RoadFrozen and Frozen 2

MovieRobDunkirk

Flick HunterHoly Motors

The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other StuffIp Man 4: The Finale

Drew’s Movie Reviews – Inception

Tranquil Dreams – Your Name

Definitely go back and check out any of the entries that you might have missed. There has been a fantastic variety of films reviewed so kudos to our participants for reviewing films that might not have been mainstream. Kim and I enjoyed reading and sharing these entries. Speaking of Kim, here are some final words from her about the blogathon:

In a flash, this year’s blogathon has come to an end. We went through a good part of the decade that we just left behind having selections from most of the years (except for 2011 and 2014). 2010s gave us a lot of great movies and we’ve had a very diverse and international selection which highlights the changes in the past decade opening up the different varieties of movies that are more widely available around the world. Plus, there are also a lot of unique choices as well as some more mainstream picks. Its been a great blogathon celebrating the 2010s. I’d like to give a huge thanks to every one of our guests as well as anyone who dropped by to check out the reviews, liked, commented and shared our posts. Its greatly appreciated and hopefully, we will see all of you next year again for no doubt another blogathon hosted by myself and Drew.

And that’s it! The Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is official wrapped up. Once again, thank you to all of our participants for sending in reviews for the blogathon. And another thank you to my co-host Kim. Always a pleasure working with you to make these annual blogathons happen. And a final thank you to anyone who read, liked, or commented on any of these articles. Your support and participation is greatly appreciated. And hopefully you might have found a new blog or two to follow.

Until next time, cheers!