Last night for the first time this year at the cinema, my mind was blown. Inception is fantastic. Be warned, I may not be able to review this movie without some minor spoilers.
From the opening scenes right through to the exhilarating finale, this is a movie that will have your eyes glued to the screen, as long as you have the attention span to keep your focus. One of the best things it gets right is in not losing its way – it could so easily have become a confusing mess of interchanging timelines and subplots, but it doesn’t at all. Christopher Nolan has written a truly original idea and directed it in an accessible and thoroughly entertaining way.
The basic premise is about a man who enters people’s dreams in order to steal their secrets. This is how it starts, anyway, but no sooner have you comprehended this awesome idea, Leonardo Di Caprio’s character is offered a job requiring him to do the exact opposite: can he secretly plant an idea in somone’s mind instead? Somebody described Inception as ‘The Matrix meets Ocean’s Eleven’ and I can kind of see why – its definitely a science fiction action thriller, but its nowhere near as confusing and self-indulgent as The Matrix, and the way in which a set of characters each with a specialised skill have to work together to crack the target’s mind did remind me of George Clooney’s crime caper. But Inception is way more than a mash up of those two movies.
The first segment of the film serves to explain the rules and its logic, and Ellen Page’s character gets introduced to her role as the ‘architect’. Her job is essentially to build the dream world for the rest of the team to work within. Cue truly awe-inspiring special effects as we see entire cities build (and explode) around them. Very few movie-makers seem to understand how to use CGI to benefit the story, rather than simply being there to look pretty. The fact that most of this film is set within numerous dream worlds means that weird stuff can happen, and it feels entirely natural and totally exhilarating to watch. There’s plenty of slow motion and neat camera angles showing off Nolan’s flair for visuals, and they never feel cheesey or out of place.
The characters are all well cast and entertaining to watch, with Tom Hardy providing some amusing moments and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I’m not too familiar with, was clearly having fun during his character’s solo scenes. The nature of their mission is morally grey at best, and downright wrong when you truly think about the implications of what they are doing, yet you find yourself rooting for them all the same. Cobb is a deeply troubled man and his tale is gradually explained through various memories which we get to see quite literally as we enter his mind. As he slowly loses control of his subconcious, the tension escalates as we know the dangers the entire team is in.
Once the mission has been planned, and the target in their grasp, the final hour or so of the movie is a non-stop thrill ride as the team carries out their attempted ‘inception’. We end up following 3 seperate dream worlds, one within the next. The locations of these are usually quite ordinary, yet each setting is infused with the weirdness we can associate with a dream. Theres an urban shootout, some modern looking offices and bars, plus an extended scene in a hotel. This latter has one of the coolest fight scenes in recent memory, as gravity shifts and tosses the characters around as they struggle to keep their footing. To tell you why would ruin the experience of seeing it yourself, but it was definitely one of the most memorable moments of the entire film.
Ultimately, Inception offers viewers a very outlandish series of ideas presented in a way that requires your attention to follow, but the story manages to stay coherant and exciting all the way through to the absolutely perfect ending. Go and see this film.