It's nice to see Christopher Nolan again. Despite a solid couple releases under the Batman franchise and the rather hit or miss "The Prestige", I wanted to see Nolan reach the height he set with the brilliant and beastly "Memento" and "Inception" had the means to. It did. Now that I've had about half a day to let the film sink in (honestly, its going to take a few more viewings to truly let it hit its stride I think), its time to reflect on this mindfuck of a film and the brilliance it was. Let's start appropriately though with a synopsis.
Cobb (DiCaprio) has the biggest job of his life before him. Cobb and his partner Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) are extractors, thieves that perform corporate espionage by stealing ideas from another person's dream. But their latest gig is a new attempt and step in their careers. They have to plant an idea into someone's head in an act called inception. So they gather a team together to pull off their biggest act yet, with a prize for Cobb that means he can finally overcome his own demons and finally go home for good.
"Inception" is fucking intense. Yeah. I'm pretty sure through the last 40 minutes or so I never blinked. It was so good it was painful. Right away we are thrown into Cobb's world of dreams (literally we are since there is no opening credits) and for the first half of the film we are delivered the rules of being a dream architect and the dangers and pride of doing their job. As Cobb and his partner build the perfect team, whilst dodging corporate hit men, we are introduced to these rules mostly as they learn the ropes. We are also privy to learn about Cobb and his struggles with the dream scape and real world that he lives in giving us insight and questions about how real is real.
Its this slick and fast paced script that layers itself beautifully around a wonderful Science Fiction based idea. This is truly the highlight of the film (Nolan's many many years crafting it helped I'm sure) and by the end when we find our team in true danger and dreams within dreams within dreams, its impossible as it is for the characters to pull out and just like they are you are stuck through until the end.
The film also balances the intelligence of the concept with some intense action sequences. Many times I was thrown back to the feelings of awe and intensity I felt when I first watched "The Matrix". Gunfights, chase sequences, and a massively impressive rotating gravity fist fight all make appearances throughout the visually stunning epic and greatly balance the deep character work and dialogue heavy explanation moments.
As for our characters and the badass cast driving them, "Inception" like the previous "Shutter Island" is truly a DiCaprio showcase. He, even with a stellar supporting cast, carries the burden of most of the film and ably does so. The supporting characters don't get some of the depth that one could have hoped, but it never draws away from the overall story. This is Cobb's struggle and his story and that is what you will get with "Inception".
This film is a visually stunning masterpiece of dream like quality with a raw edge enough to also throw a lot of mind food at you too. Its balanced almost perfectly with high energy action and tons of intelligent dialogue and story and of course, executed in grand form. This is definitely the highlight of my movie theater experience thus far in 2010. Highly recommended for anyone that is a fan of film making.
BONUS RANT: Nolan does need a swift kick in the ass for the ending and final shot of this film. I won't give it away (its too damn good to be that mean) but it did get a response from someone in front of me screaming "You've got to be fucking kidding me!!" and I felt the same way. Its a clever shot, but damn it was a final mindfuck to top off the rest of the film.
Written By Matt Reifschneider