Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Movie Review: Inception
It all begins with an idea; an eagre of emotions, a sudden jolt, and a bold new inception that gives a whole new meaning to the word "you." In Inception, Christopher Nolan has created a masterpiece, an audacious and invigorating saga that links the conscious and subconscious, the real and the dream in such a fascinating way that at the end of the movie you wonder if what we see around us are real or just a "shade," a passing fancy. Inception hits the movie scale somewhere between the greatness of Ben-Hur and the incredibleness of Gladiator. Ultimately, Nolan has successfully created a movie, and in the process has totally surpassed himself. Inception sets a right pitch with his previous monumental creations, like Memento and The Dark Knight, and shows the audience, once again, the master strokes of Nolan's brilliant auteurism.
Inception, which is part action thriller part science fiction, and part psychological drama, deals with the nebulous world of human brain. A forever mystical organ the brain has been, and Nolan has successfully hacked into this mythical organ and done the impossible. This nail biting motion picture is definitely worth a ride for all those who are fascinated by dreams.
The movie, which boasts of the complicated plot of the century, comes in a handle-with-care package. It is highly intricate in details, and details are what matters most to the plot. As for the story, it almost doesn’t have one, and even if it has it, it is too complicated to explain. In a nutshell it deals with the life of Dom Cobb (Leonardo Dicaprio), a master thief with a vague past, who is absolutely unparalleled in the field of extracting secret information from the subconscious levels of the mind. He is an international fugitive, a leader in corporate espionage. Dom meets a mysterious business tycoon, Saito (Ken Watanabe), who gives him a task of the Titans. He is entrusted with one last act, which will give him his long awaited redemption, and unite him with his family, provided he succeeded. But it is a mission impossible, an unreliably tricky job that not only requires skill, a great amount of careful planning and expertise as well. Cobb unleashes a group of highly skilled personages to unravel the puzzle, but no planning is enough when one is fighting with his mightiest adversary -- his own self.
Although the movie might seem pretty straightforward in approach, it deliberately obfuscates the incidents, and ends up confusing the audience. In the series of incidents it portrays, starting from the stages of the dream-invading to the coming to life and waking up, it often contradicts itself. Nolan transmogrifies contemporary dream theories, and creates a new world of imagination where the possibilities of tomorrow are a staple of today. The indefatigable story takes you to the deepest depths of the subconscious; the unknown world of mingled memories, unreal projections together with conscious reality create a brilliant screenplay. However, one has to follow, that is, if one wishes to continue with it at all, the minuscule details, the meaningless bits and pieces here and there, and start creating her own solution in her mind as she watches the movie unravel. The movie has a fascinating ending that re-mystifies the final thoughts you get and leaves you with a deep after feeling of satisfaction. After an epic two and half hours of cinematic experience, the watcher wins a Pyrrhic victory by somewhat getting the plot and leaving the theater with an I-knew-it-would-brilliant-all-the-while smile.
From the very beginning, an ardent moviegoer knows Inception to be another classic Nolan creation. All the characteristic Nolan stuff is here: the darkness, the creepy and intense plot, the apparently impossible problem that ultimately finds a solution and Michael Caine. The majuscule drama adumbrates great refreshment for bogged down 3D-tired moviegoers looking for a real deal.
As far as depth and acting goes, Inception fails at certain levels. The plot is skinny-deep, and fails to show the profundity of human emotion; it just awes at it, but doesn’t dare define it. It is more of a step-by-step mathematical problem than a real-life dramatic execution of a crisis situation. I felt that the character of Dicaprio has been well expressed. He seems repressed and schizophrenic, but that is what Nolan intended for him. As for the others, they all look like they are stuck in Leo's dream, and come as mere shadows with exceptional ability, yet carefully restrained performances. Ellen page delivers a good performance as a bright architect; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur and Marion Cotillard as Mal are brilliant, too.
Overall, Inception is a fabulously executed, artistically seamless, and creatively exceptional movie. It is breathtaking, exhilarating and mind-boggling; a definite no-no for chick-flick enthusiasts, flibbertigibbets and pococurante movie-hoppers, however.