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A 2010 movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

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  • Jun 18, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+5
At present, both the demand for and expectations of Christopher Nolan's big-budget conceptual genre offerings are equally high, and he still hasn't failed to deliver. Nolan possesses a rare talent for presenting difficult concepts and elaborate plot devices in a wholly accessible fashion; as a result, he's one of very few living Anglophone filmmakers who actually invests a modicum of intelligence into conventional stylistic forms. Here, Nolan utilizes incredible set pieces, trick photography and compositing on a gigantic scale in a lucid narrative structure to far greater effect than what's typically exhibited in most experimental film shorts.

As a pair of thieves who pilfer ideas for their corporate employers, DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt use portable technology to enter the dreams of their targets. This form of theft requires skills in the disciplines of psychology, architecture, chemistry, strategy and small-scale combat; as a result, their colorful collaborators are selected from a variety of professions. When a devious CEO (Ken Watanabe) hires them to implant a notion that will inspire the heir (Cillian Murphy) of a terminally ill corporate rival to disband his father's empire, they accept - not only for payment, but for the benefit of Watanabe's influence, with which he can easily dispel the criminal charges that prevent DiCaprio's master thought filcher from returning to his home and reuniting with his children. The complications of this task are compounded by the presence of projections - figures generated by the subconscious who defend the Super-ego by attacking intruders.

Though inherently cerebral, this could scarcely be more spectacular or suspenseful in execution. Nolan's characters explore dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams, and with the aid of his mainstay DP Wally Pfister (whose pristine photography imparts some momentous ambiance to even the most mundane locations), he grants each of these subconscious worlds its own distinctive visual character. As usual, both plot and characterization are equally essential elements of Nolan's story, which is motivated as much by underlying cognitive experience as by crashes and explosions; indeed, the former are often the cause of the latter! Because he's never satisfied with mere implication when defining the mechanics of any given phenomenon, perhaps half of Nolan's dialogue is expository, and only seems credible when voiced in the context of training, preparation and procedure. The abundance of visual metaphors that illustrated motive and technique alike in his extraordinary adaptation of The Prestige are here lessened to a few essential cues, and the earlier film's more complex non-linear narrative is eschewed in favor of a succession of simultaneous, tiered sequences deftly edited by Lee Smith, another of Nolan's regular collaborators. Hans Zimmer's score is a shade above mediocre, reminiscent of those that he composed for Nolan's Batman features. This music affords a palpable momentum to the proceedings, especially the intriguing preparatory formulations, but it's easy to wonder if a score as thoughtful as the story and its imagery could have been created by Nolan's inspired former composer, David Julyan.

DiCaprio is entirely convincing in the lead, never too emotive though always intensely involved. That would be an understatement for Gordon-Levitt and Watanabe, both of whom cleverly toe the line between steely cool and outright frigidity. Watanabe's presence and style here are comparable to Ken Ogata's in his prime; he exudes a restrained yet imperious confidence. Nolan directs Ellen Page as he did Scarlett Johansson, downplaying her limitations as an actress. She isn't granted the opportunity to revert to the snotty, vapid posturing that she's become habitually accustomed to, but she's nothing more than adequate. Were she just a few years younger, Alison Lohman - who's everything that Page is hyped as and isn't - could surely have imbued the same role with more poise and charm. Lohman's cuddly Drag Me to Hell co-star Dileep Rao is serviceably personable as the chemist of DiCaprio's crew. Both Rao and Tom Hardy, their dream-state impersonator, generate enough wry humor to offset the film's frequently morose tone. Now starting to resemble fellow Irishman Gabriel Byrne, Cillian Murphy is suitably chilly as the team's mark, though memorably affectional in a crucial, cathartic moment. Like Rutger Hauer and Eric Roberts before him, screen veteran Tom Berenger is put to impressive use by Nolan as both Murphy's godfather and the impersonation thereof by Hardy's character. Marion Cotillard fares far better than Page, totally plausible in a fervent role that could very easily have descended into shrill, annoying melodrama. Now a fixture in Nolan's pictures, Michael Caine is unfortunately relegated to a bit part.

Sharing both the same name and occupation of Alex Haw's prickly expert burglar from Nolan's first feature, Following, DiCaprio's otherwise entirely different character couldn't have less in common with him. This is just as well, as their very different methods are only a means to penetrate far more substantial themes in both films. Despite the maudlin sentiment too often uncovered at the heart of Nolan's well-crafted stories, it's great to see anything this challenging in a major American motion picture nowadays. Perfectly paced and extraordinary in its scope, there's wonder and invention here that's becoming too scarce in the medium. It closes on the sort of ambiguous note that Nolan's so fond of, denoting a vital dichotomy of possibility. It's a shame that this isn't a whit more subtle, substituting much more suggestion for exposition...but then, he does want to keep his audience.

There's not much to say for either the DVD or Blu-ray editions of this movie except that they're both of excellent quality. Naturally, the picture of the Blu-ray is far finer, containing fewer of the perceptible compression artifacts and none of the occasional posterization seen on the DVD. To this reviewer's ears, the sound mix of both discs is identical, but I'm not an audiophile. Good subtitles in English, French and Spanish are accessible, as are dubbed alternate soundtracks in Quebecois French and Spanish. Similar to those of the Prestige DVD, four short successive featurettes document the development of Nolan's vision for the film, the creation and calculated flooding of the Japanese castle set and the construction of an Escheresque stairway to nowhere and a street-bound freight train. At least as much assiduous effort was invested in the production of Inception as in its script.

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More Inception reviews
review by . July 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 ½ Stars: Christopher Nolan Creates a Dream Worth Watching...
   After the highly-successful “The Dark Knight” which defined the way comic book movies should be made, one wouldn’t be hard-pressed to expect nothing but the best from Christopher Nolan. “INCEPTION” has generated a strong buzz ever since the trailer debuted in previews and the worldwide web; after all, this film is written and directed by Nolan himself and with his “Batman” team assisting in the film’s production, it seems like the …
review by . August 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Let me start by saying i don't watch many movies, I'm not a big sci fi buff, and as I'm getting older, maybe I'm just getting a little crotchety.  I'm very aware that by coming out and being the ONLY one Lunch who is giving Inception a negative rating, I'm opening myself up to a lot of questioning and judgment... but that's okay because I know the community will respect my differing opinion and not ridicule me for expressing it.  So here goes:      …
review by . January 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There's nothing quite like it! A Paradox!
I like to watch a movie that keeps me guessing what is happening, why it is progressing the way it is, where it is going & what is going to happen next. Inception is one such movie. It keeps the audience in suspense and guessing, anxious to KNOW what is ahead.       Dreaming is something that I had always been enchanted with all my life. It is through dreams that I see God the first time in my life! Yes, I’ve been fascinated by the reality of my dreams and the …
review by . December 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Stephanie's Favourite Movies: Inception      What's wrong with this movie? Nothing, that's what. This is a perfect movie, there's nothing wrong with it. I appreciated that it wasn't pandering to the lowest common denominator like most summer blockbusters do. It actually took a few brain cells to keep up with it. Of course, you don't have to be a genius to watch it and enjoy it, but you have to be kind of smart to understand it. It's that rare summer …
review by . January 22, 2011
Inception is a rare breed of movie. Firstly, it came out in July and thus can classify as a summer blockbuster, and secondly, it does not insult the intelligence of the audience and actually takes a few brain cells to keep up with it. It's incredibly well-acted, it has an original story in a time when they are becoming harder and harder to come by, and it's a movie that will definitely be apperciated come awards time. It will probably win more awards for its technical accomplishments, and …
review by . July 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
After the wild success of  The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan reached the ranks of movie making freedom that so few directors reach.  So what did Christopher Nolan do with his golden key?  Made a movie he'd been wanting to make for ten years.  Inception.  A movie where your mind is the scene of the crime.  It's big, it's complex, it's beautiful... and it's absolutely amazing.  For those who are sick of adaptations, sequels and remakes, Inception …
review by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Before you see Inception, grab your Gingko-Biloba or whichever new age vitamin/drug will quicken your synaptic connections. You're going to need it. You SHOULDN'T see Inception if you aren't prepared to push your brain into overdrive. You're going to be thinking and trying to sort things out from the opening sequence to the twist-ish ending.       This film is, in essence, a quintessential action flick. The special effects are mind-blowing. The constraints …
review by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dreaming Without Meaning
INCEPTION Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine      Eames: If we’re going to perform inception, then we’re going to need imagination.    I knew there was a good reason I fought so hard every night to hold on to my conscious mind and not let my unconscious mind take over.  I’ve got to make sure no pesky extractors get in there to steal my highly …
review by . December 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Stylized, Ambitious, Powerful
   Going into Inception was kind of a gamble for me as my friends and colleagues apparently know me better than I thought.  I’ve been hearing this is the “one to check out” since the day it arrived in theaters this past summer and while my friends have once again proven spot-on with their understanding of the kind of fiction I enjoy, it is always worrisome when so much hype comes my way.  I have to make a very conscious effort not to get swept up in it, as …
review by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Listen to the some of the awesome Hans Zimmer soundtrack while reading:            A film like Inception only comes along once a decade, and it's no surprise it took Writer/Director Christopher Nolan over ten years to polish the screenplay into its final form. The loud and frenetic visuals in the trailer all fall into place when you see the film, which represents a masterful blend of genres and ideas, some of which have been attempted before but never …
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I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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Wiki

Inception is a 2010 American science fiction film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a thief  who extracts information from the subconscious mind of his victims while they dream. Unable to visit his children, Cobb is offered a chance to regain his old life in exchange for one last job: performing inception, the planting of an idea into the mind of his client's competitor.
 
Development began roughly nine years before Inception was released. In 2001, Nolan wrote an 80-page treatment about dream-stealers, presenting the idea to Warner Bros. The story was originally written as a heist film, inspired by concepts of lucid dreaming and dream incubation. Feeling he needed to have more experience with large-scale films, Nolan opted to work on Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight. He spent six months polishing up the script for Inception before Warner Bros. purchased it in February 2009. Filming spanned six countries and four continents, beginning in Tokyo on June 19, 2009 and finishing in Canada in late November of the same year. Composer Hans Zimmer scored the film, using parts of Edith Piaf's song "Non, je ne regrette rien".
 
Inception was officially budgeted at $160 million, a cost that was split between Warner Bros. and Legendary ...
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Details

Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: July 16, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 148 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Syncopy Films, Legendary Pictures
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