Reel Shorts | Inception

16 07 2010

This review first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These!
There are very few directors who have the ability to not only create art, but to also impact the culture. After redefining the comic crime genre with 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” Christopher Nolan’s latest film, “Inception” is a cinematic tsunami bursting with visual creativity and unbridled imagination. To simply call it a movie minimizes Nolan’s visionary achievement. “Inception” is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you — even into your dreams.

Nolan’s most ambitious film to date centers on corporate extractor, Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who heads a unit that excels at dream espionage, sharing dreams and stealing precious information from inside the deep dark recesses of the minds of unsuspecting people. Living abroad for an unspecified number of years because of a crime, Cobb longs to return to his old life and two children.

After a routine extraction goes wrong, Cobb is approached by a Japanese energy tycoon (Ken Watanabe) who makes the talented dream agent an intriguing proposition . . .  instead of stealing information, he offers Cobb the opportunity to implant a simple thought, an inception, into the mind of a business rival’s heir (Cillian Murphy), which hopefully will destroy his company. “Planting a seed in someone’s mind could define a man; change him,” replies a skeptical Cobb, who reluctantly accepts the assignment as the means to “get back home.”

But the sought-after extractor has other matters on his mind, namely his deceased wife (Marion Cotillard), who repeatedly appears in his dreams. Cobb and his long-time point man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) assemble their “dream team,” which includes a young architect (Ellen Page) to design the project, a forger (Tom Hardy) who can transform his identity to match a given situation and a chemist (Dileep Rao) to sedate the team so that they can explore dreams at multiple levels for an extended period of time. As the team discovers that downward is the only way forward, they soon realize that the deeper they go through one character’s thoughts, the deeper they also go through Cobb’s.

One of the smartest devices Nolan employs in the film is Page’s character, who acts as the voice of the audience. She is used to explain the more complex parts of the story that otherwise would confuse viewers. Cobb and his team make preparations for an adventure that will defy gravity, challenge your visual knowledge of what is possible and make jaws drop when the full complexity of the tale finally is unveiled.

The challenge to articulating the far-reaching, ultra-creative tale is that it pretty much begs multiple viewings for the audience to truly understand the many story dynamics. While the actors give solid performances, “Inception” is really a showcase for Nolan who wrote the screenplay, produced and directed one of the year’s most intelligent and visually arresting movies. Inviting Cobb to “take a leap of faith or become an old man filled with regrets, waiting to die” largely echoes the memorable, “you either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” mantra from Nolan’s previous smash, “The Dark Knight.”

After considering both Brad Pitt and Will Smith for the lead, Nolan settled on DiCaprio who is in rare form as a tortured artist who refuses to abandon his former life. His journey runs parallel with the larger narrative, but the only knock is that audiences may want more of an emotional payoff that probably was overlooked amid the imaginative visual effects and storytelling complexities. But that minor complaint aside, Nolan’s thoughtful concept of “exploring the idea of people sharing a dream space,” makes his trippy mind-bender one of the most imaginative, original and utterly fearless films released this year and a dream come true for audiences in need of a big-screen kick.”

Grade: A+

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2 responses

18 07 2010
zad carlos

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20 07 2010
zerole

Great review of the movie Inception. Here’s my Inception Review. Definitely a must watch.

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