Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger
Cobb: Dreams feel real while we’re in them…it’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.
Cobb (DiCaprio) is the best dream extractor in the business. He goes into people’s dreams, convinces them it’s reality, and steals secrets from them. Cobb and his team are hired by Saito (Watanabe) to complete a much more complicated job, though. They must plant an idea in a man’s mind rather than extract one.
Is there a more consistent director working right now than Christopher Nolan? He may not make perfect movies (who does?), but you know going in that you’re going to get something interesting and of high quality every time.
He brings the goods again with Inception, a movie that seems to revel in its own complexity. Almost as if it’s taunting other dumbed down big budget action thrillers. Visually stunning, in its own more subtle way, I’d say this movie uses special effects in a much more interesting way than something like Transformers. It’s special effects used to tell a story…not to give you a headache.
I will, however, go ahead and get my criticisms out of the way.
First of all, in his last few films, I feel like Nolan has let the emotional core of his movies fade into the background a little for the sake of highlighting the intricate plots. It’s not totally absent, but it seems glossed over or less accessible. I felt the same way watching The Dark Knight as I did watching this movie at times. It looks great, the story is interesting, it has me on the edge of my seat…but the characters seem a little flimsy. At least some of them do. Cobb is fleshed out pretty well, but the others, not so much. I can’t really tell you much about Ellen Page’s Ariadne other than the fact that she’s an architect student and…well…that she has a weird name.
Now, the next few sentences might be a bit SPOILERY, so read at your own risk if you haven’t seen the movie. There may be a reason the characters seem one dimensional, but I’m not going to discuss it here. But if it was all done intentionally because that’s the story being told, then my criticism about the characters is moot.
Okay, end of spoilerish stuff.
On to my second criticism. I wish the dreams had been a little more dreamlike. I get that they are being constructed to mimic reality, but when they start to break down, I think it would have been much more interesting (and realistic) to have things just get really weird rather than having everything explode. People’s faces could get all creepy…there could be talking animals…the sky could turn green…a dinosaur could show up…anything could happen, really. I would have had fun as a writer or director coming up with crazy stuff that happens when the dreams start crumbling.
But enough negativity! It’s too good of a movie to dwell on the negative. The best things about Inception are as follows. One, it has a serious tone that is severely lacking in a lot of big movies. There’s barely a wink at the audience to be seen, and it doesn’t go for a bunch of lame one-liners. There’s one character, Eames (Hardy), that is basically the outlet for any of that, which works well because it gives his character some individuality. Second, there’s the story. As I’ve said, it will make you think. You can’t go to sleep on this movie, or you will get lost pretty quickly. Yet, despite all it’s complexities, it all comes together and seems to work in the end. There are some things open to interpretation, but I don’t think there are any gaping plot holes to be dealt with. Nolan spent a long time on this script, and it shows. Sure, he may have borrowed a bit from Dreamscape, but he’s taken it many steps forward and into much more interesting psychological realms.
So wear your thinking caps when you go to this one, people. You don’t want to get lost midway through, otherwise the big climax won’t have nearly the impact that it should have.
If you’re looking for a movie you don’t have to think about…well, I’m sure they’ll roll out another Transformers soon enough.
Getting lost in your subconscious dream world sounds kind of fun, actually…
10 – 1 for the plot intricacies overshadowing the character development a bit too much – .6 for the dreams not being dreamy enough = 8.4