Inception: Movie Review
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In a summer movie season rife with '80s remakes and sequels, Leonardo DiCarpio's Inception delivers a totally original and entertaining film experience. Written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan, the uber-talented guy who made Memento, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight, this film is the culmination of a 10-year creative process, taking us on an incredible journey through the recesses of the human mind via dreams.
Well casted, well directed, and well shot, Inception is this year's main attraction. It's a summer blockbuster action film that doesn't offer up an average story with a litany of violent scenes. Its fast-paced action and emotionally engaging storyline will delight and confound those who see it on the big screen.
The Movie in a Minute
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief – not of possessions or wealth, but of secrets. Skilled at accessing a person's mind through their dreams, Cobb is a wanted man in the corporate espionage business. His line of mind work changes slightly when he's offered a chance at redemption and reuniting with his family. Cobb must pull off the perfect, and almost impossible, crime known in his trade – inception. This time around, he isn't stealing, but planting an idea in his target's subconscious.
What Works – and What Doesn't – in Inception
From the ingenious mind of British filmmaker Christopher Nolan, Inception begs these questions: what if you could share a dream with someone? What can the mind really create? And, as we discover the intricacies of the mind, what is the root of inspiration?
An action movie based on a sci-fi premise, according to director Nolan, Inception is his attempt at creating "a story in a world that embraced all different types of human experience, all the different types of grand scale Hollywood entertainment." Filmed in six countries and in extreme weather conditions, this new action sci-fier goes extra lengths to make the dream/reality unfolding on screen as tangible as possible. Nolan did not want to leave too much for the special effects team to create on their computers – as evidence in the real blizzard and avalanche they captured on film. It's a film that will not only boggle your mind, but one in which the inventive action scenes excite your senses.
Nolan worked with an exceptional cast in Inception, including three-time Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond, The Aviator), Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (Le Vie en Rose), two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine, Academy Award nominee Ellen Page (Juno), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins), Academy Award nominee Tom Berenger (Platoon), and Academy Award nominee Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), and Tom Hardy (RocknRolla).
Two standout performances are accomplished in Inception. Somewhat expected, French actress Marion Cotillard steals the show as Cobb's wife, Mal. The tormented, yet beautifully emotional persona Cotillard adds to the film is unforgettable, very much like her portrayal of Edith Piaf in Le Vie en Rose. The girl can act. The other impressive performance came from child star turned dramatic actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Cobb's dream-extracting associate Arthur. Coming as a complete surprise, this familiar face matches the talent of Inception lead Leonardo DiCaprio. Not sure how he would do with this action role, Gordon-Levitt proves doubters wrong with a strong presence on screen. More from him please.
Total runtime coming in at 2.5 hours, it's advised that moviegoers not go to see this film late at night or when they're the least bit tired. Eyes, ears, and minds must be completely open to grasp the essence of this well cultivated dream world. Woven in the fabric of the storyline is the concept of shared dreaming and the origination of true inspiration. But it also deals on a very personal level with Dom Cobb's inner demon – guilt. At the encouragement of his new colleague, dream architect Ariadne (played by Ellen Page), Cobb must forgive himself and confront his nightmare.
Rated PG-13, Inception contains sequences of violence with action throughout. Though level of violence never reaches bloody or gore stages, parents should know that it is likely to be too much for kids, especially considering how heady the story is itself. People of faith would also be interested in knowing that though obscenities aren't a problem, profanities are uttered. From the lips of Cobb, you will hear the Lord's name taken in vain. While the cinematic quality of Inception is excellent, this deserving movie is knocked down to a lower rating because of this offense.
In the End
Interestingly, a featured song in the film, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien", may be familiar if you watched Marion Cotillard's Le Vie en Rose. The famous Edith Piaf song about having no regrets encompasses main character Cobb's personal struggle and one of the takeaways from the film. He must learn to let go of the life-altering mistakes of his past. And dream or not, the reality is that inspiration cannot be faked or forced.
Going beyond what the film explicitly eludes to we, as Christians, realize that it initiates the discussion of the mind's complexity and that true inspiration and our creative powers come from The Creator – God.
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