While some use rollercoasters and other such expensive and simulated near-death experiences to get their adrenaline rush, I watch Christopher Nolan movies. And I’m pretty sure I have the better end of the bargain.
Now, I have a lot of directors I like. But among all of them, he stands out as one of my absolute favorites. In terms of complex and tightly-architected plots, killer actions sequences, jaw-dropping visuals, and pure adrenaline on the grandest scale, I don’t think he can be rivaled.
I saw Inception yesterday. What is my reaction, you ask?
Well. Now that we have that slightly embarrassing outburst out of the way, perhaps I’ll talk about this superb movie in a more rational manner.
I’m not going to reveal much about the plot, in case someone who stumbles upon this decides to see the film. It definitely is more enjoyable if you unravel the puzzle for yourself while you see it for the first time. Suffice it to say, it’s about a team of technologically advanced thieves who break into the dreaming subconscious to steal ideas. Or to implant them.
If your reaction to that is “… uh, that sounds kind of dumb…” then Inception probably isn’t your cup of tea. But if your reaction is “That is totally wicked!!!” then you should book your tickets now, because it most definitely is.
Nolan always assembles a completely amazing ensemble of very skilled actors. This film is definitely no different in that respect. Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Caine are all at their best.
Remember the epic Semi-Truck-Flip in the Dark Knight? There are dozens of jaw-dropping moments like that in Inception… dozens. My favorite scene was probably the one in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character takes out bad guys in a tilting hallway in a shifting-low-gravity action sequence. But it’s pretty hard to pick a stand-out scene in a film so full of what I really hope will become iconic images.
This is probably making Inception sound like an average summer blockbuster… big-name stars, mindless, exciting, intense, pure entertainment. But it’s not just that. It’s smart – too smart to be taken in fully on just one viewing. The plot is incredibly complex. It gives whole new meaning to the phrase “dream within a dream”… within a dream, within a dream, within a dream.
It’s pure brilliance and by far the best film I’ve seen this year.
Inception is a masterpiece. It’s the perfect blend of complex narration, thought-provoking themes, incredible visuals, and lots of things exploding. Everything is superb, from each performance from the (stellar) cast, the exhilarating score, the incredible (and thankfully non-3D) effects, to the (very frequent) intense action scenes.
There were so many times I wanted to jump to my feet and applaud, although I restrained myself for fear of provoking any more odd looks from the almost exclusively male, middle aged audience.
I suppose it wouldn’t be a real review if I didn’t admit that the film has some flaws. It is a bit “talk-y”. There is a lot of time spent on exposition. The dialogue isn’t entirely realistic, because like a lot of Nolan’s films, everyone seems to have incredibly eloquent and intelligent musings and speeches on hand for every occasion. But despite this it never comes across as dry or boring.
Also, Inception is a movie very much about emotions – about grieving and dealing with loss. It’s on such a grand scale that it can’t really be intimate or close. We recognize Cobb’s grief, his denial, and his ultimate acceptance. We understand how it motivates or hinders him, and how it fits into the plot. But we the audience are like the team within the dreams: we are given insight into someone else’s psyche, but we are always outsiders looking in, never taking part and never truly feeling it ourselves. Until the climax, it’s almost cold and analytical.
But these are only slight issues that don’t really impair the film at all. Inception, much like The Dark Knight, leaves you both exhilarated and drained. And also like Dark Knight, it’s the sort of film that you walk out of knowing that you’ll enjoy it more and more on each repeated viewing… of which there will definitely be quite a few.
I can’t wait to see it in iMax.
I can’t recommend it enough.
And I’m already excited for Batman 3.