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A 2010 movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

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Life is a Dream Within a Dream

  • Jul 16, 2010
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It's known that, while dreams are thought to be reflections of the subconscious, they follow no logical pattern and cannot be explained in definite terms. What fascinates me endlessly about Christopher Nolan's "Inception" is that, while he continuously challenges the audience by toying with perceptions of reality, he sets up dreams and dream states under amazingly intricate rules - every action has a name and a function, every image has a label. What the dreamer envisions can be freely manipulated, yet their creations still serve a purpose and follow a definite pattern. Nothing that happens is a random occurrence. It has all been a part of a grand design. It can also be a shared experience. The film is labyrinthine, disorienting, and ceaselessly hypnotic. It weaves through layers of dream and reality (or perhaps it's reality and dream), and rarely if ever is one distinguishable from the other.

Despite heavy psychological subtexts and complex structuring, the general story faithfully adheres to the conventions of a heist movie, with a group of uniquely skilled characters convening for the proverbial Last Job. The protagonist is Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who hacks into other people's dreams in order to steal their ideas. There are a host of qualifiers for making this happen. First, his clients' backgrounds need to be researched; this is where his associate, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), comes in. Second, he needs someone to literally construct the dream into recognizable physical dimensions - an architect, in other words. Third, he needs keep a personal item, or a totem, available at all times, for the way it behaves lets Cobb know whether or not he's still dreaming. His totem is a spinning top. Forth, he needs a special machine to induce all the team players into a sleeping state, since it's possible for more than one person to take part in the same dream.

Cobb is recruited by a powerful billionaire named Saito (Ken Watanabe) to infiltrate the dreams of a business rival named Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), who is the heir to his father's fortune. The catch is, Saito doesn't want Cobb to steal any of Fischer's ideas; rather, he wants an entirely new idea planted in Fischer's mind via a process called inception, which is not without risks. Cobb's newly recruited dream architect is college student Aridane (Ellen Page), who shows remarkable talent. He also recruits Eames (Tom Hardy), who, once in a dream state, can shape shift his body and appear to be someone else. Finally, he recruits Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist who has developed a special sleeping agent for this particular mission.

One of the film's more interesting plot devices is the ability to go into a dream state even when already in a dream state. Cobb, his team, and Fischer find themselves in not one, but four layers of sleep, each more unstable than the last until at last a raw subconscious limbo is reached. It's also explained that the mind works faster as it goes deeper into dreams, meaning that, with each layer penetrated, time gets progressively slower. What could have been hopelessly confusing is instead an ingenious building of suspense, Nolan successfully keeping tabs on all four dream states as they work towards their own exciting climaxes. None is more exciting than that of the first state, stretched into a nail-biting slow motion shot broken into periodic fragments. This sequence alone is a triumph of film editing.

Cobb is not merely the main character. He's also the story's emotional center, his mind plagued with the image of his wife, Mal (Marion Cottillard), and their two children, who, for reasons I won't reveal, he hasn't seen in a long time. Because of the guilt he feels, he finds that their visions are intruding into other people's dreams, which is not only detrimental to his assignments but also to his own mental health, his ability to do his job rapidly deteriorating. The mysterious nature of the plot prevents us from knowing with absolute certainty whether she's a dream participant or merely a memory resurfacing from Cobb's subconscious. Yes, it appears to be one way, but as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. What can be said for sure is that Cotillard is one of the film's best assets - the perfect counterpart to DiCaprio's psychologically fractured character.

If the ending doesn't satisfy you ... well, it isn't supposed to be satisfying. It dares the audience to reflect on what may or may not have happened and then come to the best possible conclusion. It's not about closure, nor is it about revealing what's real and what's a dream. It's all about going through a process. Although he has found success with the reinvention of "Batman" (a franchise I persist in believing he's all wrong for), it's movies like "Inception" that show Christopher Nolan in top form. Aside from being an engaging and thrilling work of cerebral science fiction, it's a masterpiece of craftsmanship - the screenplay, the character development, the plot, the visual effects, and the performances all handled with precision and care. Nolan truly believed in his idea; if he hadn't, he wouldn't have bothered to work on it for the last ten years.

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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 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 . 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 …
review by . July 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
For months, just like everyone else on Earth, I've been hearing and seeing the buzz surrounding Christopher Nolan's newest film, Inception. However, due to time constraints caused by college and other personal matters, seeing the movie wasn't high on my list of priorities. Since I just got a mini vacation from college this week, I found some time to finally watch it, and I must tell you, the movie left me scratching my head. Now don't let that past sentence fool you. I wasn't …
review by . January 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      INCEPTION      There was a lot of hype surrounding this movie when it was released and all I would hear from people was "you have see this flick". I skipped going to see it in theaters because most of the time I am let down when something is overly hyped. So like I do with a lot I waited until the DVD release to finally catch this film. I must say that I am glad I waited and let the hype factor die down because I did enjoy this movie. I also …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #2
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


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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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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