INCEPTION MOVIE REVIEW: It’s that time… time for all of you to go out and experience Inception. Some of you may have seen the film, others not, I have tried my best to keep any and all spoilers out of this review while still talking about the film as a whole. If you haven’t seen it, you should be fairly safe, if you have, there’s plenty for you to argue with me about as this is a rather massive review to reflect my enormous opinion about it.
Without anyone more pointless babble, lets get to it…
- Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan
- Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (Cobb), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur), Ellen Page (Ariadne), Tom Hardy (Eames), Ken Watanabe (Saito), Dileep Rao (Yusuf), Cillian Murphy (Robert Fischer, Jr.), Tom Berenger (Browning), Marion Cotillard (Mal), Pete Postlethwaite (Maurice Fischer), Michael Caine (Miles), Lukas Haas (Nash)
- Cinematography: Wally Pfister
- Music: Hans Zimmer
Lets not talk about that shall we? The less you know about Inception the better (though that’s not to say that’s it’s hard to understand once you’re in the film ).
- The Overall Idea: This is one big concept to tackle. The idea of our dreams and how one effects them is a risky topic to tackle because it’s endless and quite complex. Nolan makes it not only easy to understand (in terms of the story) but raises many interesting debates on “mind travel” that will leave you arguing in comment sections on blogs for weeks to come!
- The Visuals: I don’t think I need to go in depth on this one. If you’ve seen a poster, a trailer, any artwork from this film, you know you’re in for a visual treat. It’s a beautiful film to watch especially certain scenes…
- The Fred Astaire Throw Back: Absolutely amazing. In case the the “Fred Astaire” reference didn’t made sense to you, the scene I’m referring to (don’t worry it’s on posters and in the trailer) is the one with Joseph Gordan Levitt and Co. fighting in the hotel hallway — it’s a high-tech, action packed, and a direct throw back to when Fred Astaire walked up the wall for the first time and blew audiences away. Somehow Nolan has found a way to bring back that sense of wonder despite all the decades of special effects that have dulled audiences. I believe this scene was shot the good ol’ fashioned way with a rotating hallway and some wires. There is something about using camera techniques instead of CGI that is so much more fun to watch and gives the film a sense of integrity and wonder that most blockbusters wouldn’t both with.
- The Supporting Cast: This is for the Nolan new comers mostly — Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and the rest all felt right at home in the film. They added to the acting credibility and gave us more than just one-liners. That being said, below I will talk about the problems with some of the repeat casting…
- The Attempt: Despite how big of a director Nolan is, studios want him to make what works, not take any risks or attempt something out of the box. It would have been so easy for him and he would have been so loved by both audiences and studios for jumping into another Batman right after The Dark Knight. To add to that if this movie flops it could be detrimental to the sales of the next Batman. Nolan stepped away from a guaranteed hit and took a big risk on this film by following his dream and making something reminiscent of Memento but on the studios summer-action film dime. He’s ballsy on all levels and despite what I think about his film, I have to respect his decision to make this film, his process and for the most part the outcome of Inception. It wasn’t perfect but that’s because it wasn’t safe, he took a chance and came out successful. Which leads us to…
- Lack of a Wow Factor: Don’t crucify me yet, give me a moment to explain. Before I saw this movie I heard people making comments like “wow this movie is mind-blowing” and “I love walking out of a movie not fully understanding it” and that made me SO excited! I thought it was going to be like the Matrix all over again, where you have to watch it 10 times and write an essay to fully grasp it. That being said, I got this movie about half way through and there was no real surprise or twist for me. Once you get the character, who is quite simple, it’s all there and the story never contradicts it.
- Dialogue/Script: Once again Nolan is great at the grand concepts and this movie is about as big as one can get and I applaud him for going there, but with a limitless world, there sure was a lot of repeat dialogue and a lot of interesting things not discussed. Something tells me this was because someone got nervous about this film not having “mass appeal.” The fact is, this film would have been better with half the dialogue, not as much marketing spelling things out and letting the audience figure out some of the characters for themselves
- Leo in the Lead: Although in many ways his character Cobb is a “noble” character, at the heart of it all, he’s kind of a sap. Yes, it’s sweet that he loves a women, but he’s not fighting for anything that I really care about or can side with. It’s nice that “he wants his family back” and that’s only enough to make me pity him, not enough for me to follow him through anything and risk other characters lives who I find more interesting. He’s not fighting for humanity, the world, he’s just fighting for himself and in a movie of this scale, you need to care about more than just some selfish dude. That coupled with Leo constantly delivering the same lines and once again, his boyish good looks getting in his way, I never really bought his character nor cared about what happened to him.
- Repeat Casting: Yes I LOVE Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy but the fact is, I kept feeling like I was in the wrong movie and it was distracting. I wanted Murphy to go mad and poison people, and Caine to pour some hot tea and give Batman some advice. Although they are amazing actors, Nolan would have been better off finding a whole new cast or at least making them look different or changing their accents! Their dress and demeanor was too similar and therefore confusing for the audience.
Nolan takes an incredibly hard concept to grasp and tries to make it understandable for mass audiences (something I’m sure the studios wanted in order to make back their massive budget), but in trying to make it both a mind blowing experience and easy to grasp for everyone, it lost its luster and falls short of a complete mind-blowing experience. Nolan is capable of taking this film one step further, cutting the unnecessary dialogue and shaping it into a mind-boogling and yet entertaining film. He’s done it before with Memento, he did a great job at handling Batman, and in this one I feel like we get Nolan at 80% and I can’t help but wonder what he could have done if he would have gone all the way.
I don’t know what the cause was, the script, the hero, the cut, or the studio, but something held this film back. This is a good film and enjoyable to watch, but not great and there was the potential in this to be something epic.
Inception will be in theaters July 16th!