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Inception teaser poster

A 2010 movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

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A Dream You Don't Want to Wake Up From

  • Jul 16, 2010
Rating:
+5
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 is a much needed breath of fresh air.  The idea is so interesting, and the layers of story amusing that it'll keep you engaged.  Inception isn't your typical summer film entertainment. 

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a thief who often goes into people's minds and steals their ideas.  He's used to diving into the minds of others and knows how to navigate the territory well.  One day a business man named Saito (Ken Watanabe) comes to him asking for the impossible.  Instead of hiring Cobb to extract an idea from someone, he wants Cobb to plant one.  In the mind of a business competitor.  This is called inception.  And if Cobb can do what Saito wants, Cobb will be handsomely rewarded.  Can Cobb actually do this?  He's going to try.  He'll have to assemble a well experienced team to do it.  First there's Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a skilled fighter and perhaps Cobb's closest friend.  Then there's Eames (Tom Hardy) who is good at deception.  Then there's Yusuf (Dileep Rao) who knows exactly how to go into the deepest layers of the mind.  And then there's the newest member of the team: Ariadne who knows how to construct the architecture of one's subconscious.  Together they will all embark on a dangerous mission.  Each of them playing their part.  It won't be easy.  And the deeper in they go, the more dangerous it gets. 

It's actually hard to talk a lot about Inception's plot.  It's not simple.  It's extremely complex with several layers.  You'll see characters going into dreams... going into dreams within dreams... and going into dreams within dreams within dreams.  In the midst of this it's amazing how well Nolan juggles what it is he's presenting.  That's not to say you won't get lost in Inception.  You can.  Especially if you neglect to pay attention.  Much of the first half of the film is explaining the kind of world we've stepped into as well as showing us the basic gist of the film.  Once we get over that hurdle (which is the first hour) the movie really begins to dive into it's plot.  Those easily distracted may have to sit through multiple viewings.  This is because Nolan keeps the tension rising once the action begins, and doesn't pull any strings.  He throws in a lot of conflict to raise the stakes, and is constantly trying to make sure the audience is keeping up.  There's a lot to swallow within Inception.  And despite how much Nolan throws into the plot, he manages to make it all come full circle.  It's not easy to grasp everything, however.  This isn't a simple popcorn flick.  You actually do need to pay attention.  Otherwise whole snippets of Inception could go over your head simply because you neglected to pay attention to specific scenes.  And Nolan is quite meticulous with it.  Making sure that everything has a purpose.  Just when you think that something doesn't make sense, Nolan will show you just how and why it does.  In short, it's not the kind of movie where you want to miss a beat.  Especially within that first hour when you're learning about how the mechanics of the film work.  Missing even just a tiny bit of this might make certain scenes in the second half make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

That isn't to say Inception isn't fun.  It's loads of fun.  Once the preliminary stuff is taken care of and the action begins there's hardly any slow down.  It's very intense and heart-pounding.  You'll be kept in suspense throughout.  This is partially why it's almost impossible to spoil the movie.  Even if I revealed one of Inception's key scenes, you'd be scratching your head wondering what in the world I was talking about.  The crafty plot is pretty good at keeping things going.  And the action manages to be at the top of its game.  What really deserves credit, however, is the editing.  It keeps the tension high, but it also makes sure you don't get lost.  Even when going into a dream that's already in a dream.  Because each "dream" you dive into is remarkably different... but the way it keeps cutting from one moment to the next is done breathtakingly well.  Just when the action begins to slow down, it ramps up again.

And in the midst of all that, it never abandons its plot.  There are a lot of thought provoking moments within Inception.  A lot more than you'd guess.  It's a well paced film overall.  In particular, Cobb becomes an emotionally appealing character the more we learn about him.  There are plenty of talks about dream and reality, but Nolan throws in quite a big doozy to really make us start paying attention.  In short, the dialog you see here isn't simply filler until the next action sequence.  It's important to understanding the story as a whole.  It all comes together to make Inception more than your typical summer movie.  It's creative stuff.  And Nolan makes sure to explain everything.  Even the bad guy's guns aren't blazing for no apparent reason.  As I said, the script is very meticulous.

Another thing worth noting is definitely the special effects.  There are plenty of moments in Inception that seem to pop.  They feel very real.  Watching as the corridors shift around the characters, or how water holds still as a glass begins to tilt just looks amazing.  Those who are skeptical will be happy to know that a great deal of the special effects in Inception were done without the use of CGI.  Even within a dream, a lot of what you see on screen just feels real.  It's hard not to be drawn into the world that Inception takes place in because the crew behind the film has done so much to make sure that the world you're looking at is real.  Even moments such as an entire city folding on itself looks very real.  The most impressive of Inception's visuals, however, has to be how they manage to make zero gravity an entire plot point.  There are so many thrills and such well written moments that you don't even realize the movie is two and a half hours long.  Much of it flies by because the movie is just so absorbing.

If there was any real flaw with Inception it would be that not all of the characters are as absorbing as Cobb.  We meet his team, but there isn't too much time to get to know them.  They're charming in their own way--especially Tom Hardy as Eames.  Yet it's a shame the movie doesn't dive into the supporting cast quite like it does Cobb.  It can be forgiven to some extent, however, because Inception has more important things to worry about.  Such as how the dream world works.  Only Cobb's story is really important.  At least the film makes sure you want to care about the other characters.  They aren't nearly as well developed, but you still like them.

The other flaw with Inception isn't really a flaw at all, but it's worth talking about briefly.  There's a lot to swallow.  So much so it might be a good idea to see it a second time just to pick up on whatever it is you might've missed.  Even in the scenes with guns blazing, the film is throwing a lot at you.  Missing one piece of the puzzle in some areas can really throw you off in others.  If you have any burning questions after the credits have rolled, it might not be because Nolan didn't explain something... it might be because there was so much coming at you you might've missed it.  In short, it's a movie that really challenges its audience.  It's not everyone's cup of tea.  If it is your cup of tea, however, you won't be disappointed. 

Much of the summer has been filled with sequels, remakes and adaptations.  Just when it seems like Hollywood is running out of ideas, along comes Inception.  A movie so absorbing visually AND mentally that once you get sucked in you don't really want to come out.  Inception is one dream you don't want to wake up from.

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March 02, 2012
This is another considerable review!
 
August 15, 2010
This is a sensational review, Sean. I love Christopher Nolan's work, and I look forward to seeing this movie. Thanks for your tips, explanations, descriptions, and evaluations. Like Lynch's "Inland Empire,' it sound like we need all the help we can get. Congratulations. I pysched. :>)
 
July 18, 2010
I've been reading reviewers who didn't like Inception, so I'm glad to read such a thorough one that give the other side. I look forward to seeing the movie on your recommendation.
July 18, 2010
I think a lot of critics were expecting far too much from Inception.  It has a lot of hype and they keep getting too focused on the fact that Nolan wrote and directed The Dark Knight.  I think it's a brilliant movie, but I would suggest tempering your expectations and be prepared to take a lot in. 
 
July 17, 2010
Good job, Sean. I saw it too and rated it 4 stars...my review is over in the Forbidden Planet community. I completely agree about the lack of development in many of the characters, but I guess my brain was so busy trying to soak up everything that was happening that it bothered me less than it would have in another kind of film! :)
 
July 16, 2010
Ok, I am back--I skimmed through your review and saw your rating before I left to see it. We have similar observations in the film; It is definitely a plot-driven affair, and I really appreciated the brilliance it exercised in restraint. The visuals would have easily rendered a Michael Bay flick silly, Nolan knows how to execute, I really liked this movie! Ok, I was going to see SORCERER'S APPRENTICE tonight but I think I'd better wait, no way will that movie have a hope of being seen fairly after I just saw this.
 
July 16, 2010
Sorry, I fell asleep on my laptop last night, but got your message about this review this morning! :P I read everything except for the plot summary and WHOOOA, I need to watch this! Great review as always, Sean. Thanks for sharing!
 
July 16, 2010
Great review. Wow, I am impressed. I had a feeling that this film wouldn't live up to the hype or that Nolan's winning streak of superb films would eventually come to an end, but now my hopes are up again. He really has stepped into the forefront of the world's best directors, particularly for his generation. Can't wait to see it. : )
 
July 16, 2010
Great review, Sean! This film does sound like a fantastic watch. I know I've been wanting to view it. Who knows when I will get to the theaters for it, though. LOL!
 
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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 . July 08, 2011
this movie rules and is better than i can rate it!
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 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 more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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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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