This is to all of the heralded directors that have been idolized as filmmaking gods for the past 30 years: Lucas, Spielberg, Cameron, Rodriguez, Tarantino, Coppola, Scorsese; I have six words for you. “You could not have done this.” Christopher Nolan’s film Inception is one of the best films of all time and is perhaps the greatest Sci-Fi vision ever on screen. I know this is putting a lot on the experience that Inception offers but quite frankly, it is that freaking good. Not in a long time have I had unbelievable expectations for a movie and they were shattered like glass in front of my face. I saw it less than 12 hours ago and I cannot stop thinking about it. Just as the title proclaims, it is in my mind. Nolan planted an experience in my brain and it is a pleasurable puzzle that can not be solved upon one viewing. It needs to be seen again, and again and again. Want to know more (spoiler-free) details about why it is awesome? Hit the jump to find out.
I know that I reference Hollywood in my reviews and how the creative juices of the industry are missing and are only being sold on the black market. Every year the same movies are pumped out in front of our face with a slight gimmick to pull it all together. The summer season has become the quintessential meaning of mind-numbing with nothing but explosions and scantily clad women flaunting around on the screen with shaky-cam and usually awful CGI. Christopher Nolan has changed all of that and demonstrates what a film-maker (who loves the medium) can do when inspired to create something important, something entertaining, something unbelievable. In every respect, Inception is intelligent. If you walk out of the theater upset that you did not understand it then that is not the film’s fault. It’s yours. Try watching it again on DVD with someone who has the ability to comprehend Nolan’s narrative. Two minds are better than one, after all.
Inception follows Dom Cobb (DiCaprio), an extractor who specializes in entering people’s minds and stealing their ideas for purposes of industrial espionage. In simple terms he is the world’s greatest thief and rather than cracking banks vaults, he cracks your thoughts. After a “job” goes wrong, Cobb is presented with the opportunity to achieve a clean slate and the ability to return to America and be with his children. Thus he builds an expert dream team (haha) to help him on his final heist. Only this time, rather than stealing an idea from his victim, he is planting one instead.
- The sheer brilliance of this movie starts out with the script. I swear that Warner Bros. just gave him a huge budget simply because he gave them one of the highest grossing movies of all time with the Dark Knight. In no way did they read this script and say, “DAMN! This is amazing!” I just do not see that happening. This movie is far too intelligent for film execs to remotely comprehend. I suppose that is the kicker, isn’t it? But in all seriousness, Nolan’s imagination is truly astounding. His composition of the rules of Inception are comprehensive, logical and above all absorbing. In a way, this film is a maze in and of itself for the viewer to traverse. It’s kind of like the most addicting puzzle for your eyes and brain to solve simultaneously. However, this film is not simply bound to a complex narrative of dream thieves. Instead it is also a commentary on the nature of the film medium and it’s structure in creation. Much like the architects in the movie build the dreams for their subjects, filmmakers erect movie sets for the actors. The target of dream-theft is pretty much the nature of the theater audience. Together we are misdirected into a dream world that we want to explore by the creators. All great films accomplish this objective and great directors (extractors) know how to get inside our minds and make us see the wonderful dreams that they compose for us. Jesus! Chris Nolan, you are a genius and I will bow graciously before you to tell you how unworthy I am in your presence.
- Cinematographer Wally Pfister needs an oscar nomination right now for the beauty and complexity of the visuals in this film. It directly rivals the work done on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, only greater in scale and detail. If this nomination does not peak its head then I swear that the Academy is officially brain-dead.
- The cast was outstanding! DiCaprio shattered my expectations in his portrayal as Dom Cobb. In every frame I can feel the tortures that plague his mind. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a phenomenal supporting actor as Arthur, Cobb’s closest friend and partner. It is a tie for best overall performance in this movie between Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy. Cotillard is one of the scariest figures in this film and delivers a true sense of menace and dread throughout, which is an accomplishment in a world where women are just t & a on screen most of the time. Mr. Tom Hardy, on the other hand, needs his own action movie after his performance as Eames. I would not mind at all if somehow a spin-off would focus entirely on him. And might I add that Daniel Craig is a complete shadow of what Tom Hardy’s James Bond would be like. Just saying…
- The action scenes here are so crazy and inventive that you will forget all about Keanu Reeves and that sunglasses-trench coat-I-know-kung-fu series. Nolan even purposefully toots his own horn through one of his characters with “did you see that!”
- The emotional journey of Dom Cobb is truly amazing and it rivals some of the best on screen. I have seen the film twice and both times, the audience was enthralled by his tormented psyche. Trust me, this is the driving force of the film and it is executed perfectly by the cast and crew. After you walk out of the theater, you can not help but be haunted by the dark emotions of Dom Cobb’s story. It is a feeling I will not soon forget and neither will you.
- The last frame will leave you speechless. Warning! This may occur:
- Hollywood will not produce this quality of film again for a very long time.
Inception is a film for true film lovers. It is a love letter to the medium and an example of what can be accomplished when a master is at the helm. A movie like this comes around only once in a while as it is a giant piece of magic. If there is one movie that you need to see for the next ten years, it is Inception. See it in the theater, bring friends, and tell Hollywood that we want originality in our entertainment! It seems inevitable that Chris Nolan will return to Batman but after Inception, I think there is a whole lot more he can offer our imagination.