inception: film review

There was some hype built around this movie months before it was released. Very few people knew about it, and the few that did, had no real clue as to what it was about. And that’s exactly how Christopher Nolan wanted it.

I’m specifically name-dropping Christopher Nolan because he is a consistent, uniquely original, reliable, and expert storyteller. (See Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. There are more to this list, but I haven’t seen all his films… yet.) To date, he’s one of my top favorite film directors and most successful in Hollywood.

Enter the 8-10 year personal project called Inception. The story is Nolan had been working on the screenplay for a very long time and I certainly can understand why after watching such an intricate story. Another note: most of Nolan’s previous films have been based on other works, like comics or novels. His newest is his own creation.

So what’s this movie about anyway? And what the stank does “inception” mean anyway?

The dictionary on my phone says: (noun) an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events. The movie is about a group of thieves who break into people’s minds to steal their ideas. Nutshelling it like that makes me say “what?” and I’ve already seen it, but that’s basically what’s happening. Except, our band of mind bandits gets an offer our anti-hero (played by Leo DiCaprio) can’t refuse. His task is the opposite of his job: instead of stealing an idea, he is to plant one instead via some serious dreaming. However, in order to plant an idea in someone’s mind in their dream, it’s key for them to feel as if they came up with the idea on their own. And in order for that to happen, you’ve got to go pretty deep. Are you still with me? It’s pretty easy to understand once you get introduced to the story.

And there is a lot about this story I loved. Sometimes movies have a tendency to get a little dry or boring. You might even shy away from a 2 ½ hour movie. But this movie is dense and every scene is important. It may not make sense the first time you see a scene, but you’ll be rewarded if you pay attention and listen closely. Trust me, it’ll pay off in the end. I might need to write a spoiler version and talk about the audience’s reaction at the end. All I’ll say is usually at showings like this, there’s applause. Not this time. I think Nolan put’s M. Night Shyamalan to shame. I’m just sayin’.

Let’s talk about all the special effects you see in the trailers. There’s more in the movie. It’s also not just eye candy. It totally makes sense why people are flying around in midair or the street grows out of the ground. Let’s not forget, the majority of Inception takes place in a dream. Fortunately, everything is explained to us so we understand what’s happening while they are doing these amazing things.

With that said, what I really liked, is how plausible the whole story seems. There’s a special device and procedure to enter dreamland. It’s never really explained, and it doesn’t need to be. In fact, you don’t even think about “how does it work?” you just know that it does and whenever you see the metal suitcase, you know what’s about to happen.

Kudos to the cast too, by the way. I’m being lazy and not naming them but all of them were excellent choices. It felt like a serious and dream version of Ocean’s Eleven’s crew. Or maybe Ocean’s mixed with a little Matrix. And for the record, I might even go as far as to say Inception is superior to The Matrix. That’s tough…

This movie is worth a second viewing. I’d even say it’s worth checking out in theaters. There are some awesome and unique fight scenes and visuals that big screens take advantage of. Even though it’s rated PG-13, I recommend leaving little kids at home. It might too long, dry and complicated for them to stay interested or understand. Lastly, this is a movie I’d add to my buy list. Which is no surprise, I already want to see it again in theaters. It takes a lot for me to want to see something in the theater twice.

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Posted in movie, review, storytelling
2 comments on “inception: film review
  1. Shariff says:

    HYPE JUSTIFIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -LOVED this film…and you are starting be a go to reviewer even when I don’t agree. Normally with a movie I look at the tomato meter score, roger ebert, michael phillips, peter travers, and now INDOOB!!!

    -Please remind people that in the 1st 45 minutes THEY BETTER NOT take any bathroom/popcorn/text message break because you will be completely lost as to what is going on. My brother saw a few people literally walk out in the first 45 minutes because of frustration…It is tough intro but Nolan is completely justified in his set up…

    -I have only been in a few movies where I could literally here the audience gasping for air at the end…Nolan OWNED the room I was in for that last moment.

    -I think you would agree this movie is not for everybody…it is certainly not for those with short attention spans…

    -Sterling see Nolan’s movie INSOMNIA right freaking STAT NOW…you will love it. A crime procedural with Pacino and Robin Williams with Nolan at the helm…nuff said!

    -It is amazing that a script this good would have probably never been made if Nolan didn’t want to do it BEFORE Batman III…He was smart I am sure he just waltzed into WB Productions and they asked him “how is pre production on Batman III?” and he was like “yeah I am working on that, but I am going to need $160,000,000.00 worth of motivation for a little project about dreams within dreams within reality first” …LOL!!!

    • t. sterling says:

      Thanks, that means a lot to me being regarded in your group of professional film critics.

      I feel that everything in the film was essential and you shouldn’t miss a minute. If you allow yourself to do so, you’d get sucked in from the beginning and won’t want to miss anything.

      And I agree, Nolan had the entire crowd. This was the first time I heard a reaction at the end of the movie like that. I’m used to an applause, but this was the first gasp, groan, shock and it was awesome.

      INSOMNIA and FOLLOWING are on my list to see very soon, especially the latter since it’s Nolan’s own story.

      I’ll probably watch anything this man does, even a remake of SHOWGIRLS.

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July 2010
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