Inception Review

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Review
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Inception Review

If you didn’t know by now, Christopher Nolan is a director to be very excited about. When he’s not directing remakes (Insomnia), displaying mind-bending sleight-of-hand (Memento, The Prestige), restarting a whole franchise (Batman Begins) or changing the rules of superhero films (The Dark Knight), he’s busy thinking of his dream project. That project, as it turned out, is Inception and it’s already in the running for film of the year. Maybe even the decade.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a professional Extractor, a man who manages to sedate and infiltrate a target’s dreams in order to extract information for other clients. Innocently framed for the murder of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) and plagued by visions of her, he’s spent years searching for a way to get back home to his children and now he’s been presented with just such an opportunity by Saito (Ken Wantanabe). The job is the inverse of everything he’s ever done: to get inside a target and plant an idea.

Cobb assembles his team, consisting of researcher Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), architect Ariadne (Ellen Page), forger Eames (Tom Hardy) and chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao). Together they prepare to undertake the seemingly impossible task of breaking into the mind of Fischer (Cillian Murphy), but it seems that Cobb’s own mind may be their undoing…

Inception is a masterpiece. A bold statement, yes, but definitely one that is entirely justified. It’s an action-packed sci-fi heist movie, a summer blockbuster that dares to have brains, balls and a massive heart. And heart is what gives this film its power. Not to reduce any of the wonderful ensemble cast on offer, but this film belongs to DiCaprio. His wonderfully layered, studied performance of the flawed, fractured and downright tormented Cobb is nothing less than Oscar-worthy and it’s this role that carries the film. Without an actor of his calibre, it would surely falter.

But that’s not taking anything away from his fellow cast members. Each of them are exemplary in their own unique way and, while they perhaps lack the third dimension that is so laboriously added to Cobb, they are all exceptional. The very concept alone requires a monumentally talented roster of actors to make it convincing, and it’s a fitting tribute to the film that the idea can be bought so easily within the first ten minutes alone – and without even any lengthy explanation.

Sure, there’s a lot of sci-fi twaddle and heavy-handed exposition here and there, but that really is only for the first hour. The next ninety minutes effortlessly turn into a heart-pounding thrill ride that will steal your breath with every twist of the labyrinthian plot. A falling van becomes a ticking clock, a hotel corridor turns into a gravity-defying battleground, a snowy mountainside plays host to the most over-the-top action scenes outside of a Bond movie. The sheer scale and ingenuity of the operation can be dizzying at times and if you lose track of what’s going on – even for a moment – you can easily miss whole swathes of story. Not one for those who allow their minds to wander.

Inception is a deeply intelligent, painfully crafted and beautifully realised film that deserves more than just a single viewing. Filled with explosive action, head-spinning plot turns and more emotional gut punches that rival any Oscar-garnering dramas, it’s easily one of the best films of the year. See it, then see it twice more. It’s worth it.

5 stars


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