Director: Christopher Nolan
It’s been a fair few years since a movie has been so universally praised by critics and average-joe viewers, so when the early buzz for Inception leaked through, I was a little dubious as to whether it was really as good as they said it was. Well, loyal readers of humble RA, I can tell you on good authority (mine..) that you won’t see another film this year that surpasses it in excellence.
After viewing, I was questioned about how I was going to write this review without giving too much away; as you know, I usually start with a basic summary of what I thought, then write the plot, then go deeper into detail. It’s the structure I use for all my reviews: go ahead, check out another one. I’ll wait.
So here should be the plot. But I’m not going to give it to you. Well, not in detail anyway. Because it would spoil the intrigue of finding out the narrative and subplots for yourself.
But basically, Leonardo Di Caprio stars as Dom Cobb, an “extractor” who, along with his team who specialise in different aspects of the job, is hired to invade dreams and steal information from their subconsciousness. But he is persuaded to undertake the task of inception, a highly risky job that involves planting an idea into somebody’s head, rather than taking information out. And that is all i’m giving you.. which even then may be too much information.
For the first time in his career, Di Caprio does not carry the whole weight of the movie alone; it’s the entire ensemble cast that collectively keep this masterpiece so engaging. Joseph Gorden Levitt is exceptionally great in the role of Arthur, the brains behind the whole operation. Credit also goes to Tom Hardy (better known as Charles Bronson in… Bronson) who brings humour to the proceedings.
The special effects were always going to be a talking point, as they are with most “dream” movies. They have to look realistic, or the viewer just doesn’t buy into the whole “dream world”. The Matrix is an excellent example of this, and Inception‘s effects are actually simpler compared to that. But they are still awe-inspiring; the scene depicted in the image above is jaw droppingly beautiful, and executed exquisitely. It’s not just this one scene though, and the beauty of it all is Nolan doesn’t go overboard on the sequences, and although the story takes place in dreams, he still maintains a level of reality and control over events.
It’s all well and good having impressive effects, but they mean jack squat if the story isn’t good. If you haven’t guessed by now, then yes. The story is good. Real good. Oscar Winning good. The intricacy of it all is astounding, and even from the opening scenes it grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A word of warning though: use the toilet before it starts. Because you’ll kick yourself (and your bladder will hate you) for leaving, possibly missing something vital to the narrative in your absence.
What I really admire about the script is that it doesn’t reveal all its cards in the first act, like the majority of films nowadays. Even over an hour in, you’re still not aware of the entire story, or the grand scheme of things. It’s brain melting, confusing, and fantastic.
If I had to pick a fault with it, and it’s taken me over a day to find one, it’s that the climax seems to drag a little. But that really is a minor point, and you will most certainly be too engrossed to notice. I did, because I had to, for you lovely people.
Simply put: Inception is unlike anything you’ve seen before, or will ever see again. It’s the culmination of years of filmmaking trial and error, knowing what works and what doesn’t, and all those “works” have been perfected to create this iconic piece of film. Nolan deserves all the credit that he gets, and is a true national treasure.
While a film this perfect may seem like a dream, you certainly won’t want to wake up.
(Credit for that little zinger goes to Mr Walkley)