Wednesday, 21 July 2010

INCEPTION (2010) - 4 STARS

"Never recreate from your memory. Always imagine new places"
'The dream is real' was the tag line accompanying the title of Christopher Nolan's mind-boggling and surreal masterpiece which enables those who watch it to realize how the mind can become involved in a crossroads through what we can imagine in our dreams. From the very start, Nolan's plot (written by himself as well) opens up the film through introducing us to the methods of which, our dreams can be formed together and extracted as Leonardo Di-Caprio's character Cobb finds himself with in his profession. The world itself is futuristic and it allows technology to enter the human mind through the mind being invaded. Cobb is a highly skilled thief who enters people's dreams and extracts them in order to create semi-consensus and to allow these dreams to become reality. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-Inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime.
Cobb forms his team of specialists to help him with a task considered impossible, assisted in the film's beginning by naive Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and defiant but suspicious Saito (Ken Watanabe). However Cobb himself holds the key to succeeding with this mission but he is a complicated character who from the opening scene, can be seen as having a dark past and is eager to get the job done but ends up recollecting with guilt about the mysterious death of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) who was also a dream thief. This guilt stops Cobb from trying to forget the circumstances surrounding her death and instead affects his job of trying to complete this task so he can be reunited with his two children. As the film progresses Cobb is also able to hire student Ariadne (Ellen Page), who becomes a key catalyst with discovering more about Cobb's past, Eames (Tom Hardy of BRONSON fame) and businessman Robert Fishcher (Cillian Murphy) who holds the key with trying to take part in the dream-within-a-dream-within a dream method that holds the story together. The group come across several paradox situations which threaten to complicate the mission through the visual and surreal spectacle of the film including an imaginary freight train which barges through traffic in one of the alternative dreams in Cobb's mind, the gravity inducing fight between Arthur and a group of projective agents and the best visual part of the film, the three way dreams coming to an end in such visual amazement.
As stated earlier, there is a great sense of familiarity about Di-Caprio's character and his personal predicament that is recognizable with another one of his films released earlier this year; Martin Scorsese's psychological drama SHUTTER ISLAND, where his role as Teddy Daniels shows him as another complicated man with an even darker past that also involves other family members. That was one particular feeling I thought which denied this film the perfect five stars being that the central character's background is almost too similar to Scorsese's film. This being further complicated by the lack of major sympathy towards Cobb and Mal's relationship while nothing is really drawn out more about Cobb's children. However Di-Caprio's star persona continues to get better and this being his first major action film since TITANIC (1997) has enabled him to gain more various roles whether it be action or drama. Ellen Page also adds naivety to her role which despite the bizarre name is still able to add her maturity to the character and show that she too, can move away from teenage girls films. The secrecy around Cotillard's character doesn't detract the beauty of the French Oscar-winning actress who adds trauma and complacency to her character. Gordon-Levitt is also another actor able to vary his roles and is continuing to become one of Hollywood's rising stars where his commitment to helping Cobb's team is proven. Small roles for Michael Caine, Pete Postlewaithe and a first major film role in years for Platoon's Tom Berenger also add experience to the film's terrific cast accompanied by the productive writing of Christopher Nolan. 

Once again Nolan has come up trumps with his surreal phenomenon adding to the successes of his crime drama MEMENTO (2001) which also messes with the mind and of course the two recent Batman films which if assisted by a third film may feature a couple of actors from this film that will continue Nolan's strategy of casting well known and talented people to his films. Hans Zimmer's music also deserves praise for its brass but thumping score that sets up the tone for digging deep into the mind. Come the ending of Inception, there is a more satisfying feeling about the ending though like Shutter Island, has a climax which leaves the audience to decide whether it's real or not. The choice as to whether we can remember our dreams will surely become a factor for us upon watching this and if we can even think of what was going on in the dreams we had last night, it would be hard for us to think where to start......

4 Comments:

At 21 July 2010 at 22:21 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey thanks that was a really good review :)

i was unsure about seeing this film i thought i looks good but a tad confusing!

But im Deffo going to see it now :)

 
At 22 July 2010 at 12:41 , Blogger Jay Norris said...

Great review mate :) Here's what I reckon to the ending, those who haven't seen it yet look away now...

*Spoilers*

At first I thought Cobb was awake because his spinner began to make a topple noise, if he was dreaming it would've continued to spin with no toppling noise. Furthermore we see him get off the plane and even check in through customs and greet his dad. Here's where Nolan messed with us now ;)
Things that shattered my opinion over Cobb's conscious state were that the lighting in the house and the position of the kids were the same as in his dreams, even his clothing was the same and when they say in dreams you move from place to place with no question it shows him suddenly in the house with Michael Caine. Another thing as well is that in all of his dreams you never see the kid's faces but in the end you do. Bit of a mind bending ending and more open to interpretation than the ending to, say, Shutter Island (which was also a brilliant film).

 
At 22 July 2010 at 14:39 , Blogger Matt Downey said...

Good review Craig! I've become a fan of dicaprio recently he's done some great films. Have you seen Body of Lies and Blood Diamond? Two other good films with him in!
I've been a fan of Hans Zimmer for years too, he's a legend and has done some awesome soundtracks!

 
At 22 July 2010 at 15:47 , Blogger Craig Kell said...

Alright Matt, yeah I saw Blood Diamond a couple of years ago and enjoyed Di-Caprio in that as well, need to give it a re-watch but from what I remember of it, it was exhilarating to watch and a stirring story, haven't seen Body of Lies though I heard mixed things bout it....

 

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