Monday, July 26, 2010
DISPUTED PERFECTION: INCEPTION REVIEW
The heavy bass from the score pounds in rhythm with your now fluttering heart as the logos from the production companies responsible for the creation of Inception rip onto the screen in harmony with the booming music. The perfected score from the legendary composer Hans Zimmer pounds the drastic nature of what you are about to expeirence into your head even before the first shot is ever shown. I can honestly say that even the lead up to the beginning of this film had adrenaline coursing through my veins readying my body for a film experience I will never forget.
Inception has been the movie I anticipated more than any other this 2010 summer blockbuster season. Actually, the last movie I was this jacked about was the 2008 mega blockbuster The Dark Knight. Not to be considered anything near just a coincidence, both were products from the movie genius mind of Christopher Nolan. With the kind of ridiculously high expectations I had for Inception, it is difficult if not near impossible to live up to that kind of hype in my movie mind. That said, Inception, like all of Nolan's movies, hurdled my expectations with ease.
This project was written and directed by Nolan and can be considered this filmmakers pet project. He has aspired to make Inception since his days as a youth striving to be a filmmaker. Inception has the look and feel of a film that has nothing but perfection in mind; a film that Nolan carefully crafted each image to fit his liking and to blow viewer's minds. Nolan worked hard to ensure that all angles were covered and the personnel involved with this project could do nothing less than to help him execute his elaborate vision. When I say elaborate, trust me, that is just skimming the surface.
The plot of the movie is far too difficult for description to anyone sitting on the outside looking in (i.e. if you have not seen the movie yet). However, worry not because this "complexity" is well described and drawn out to make the viewer comprehend quite easily. Didn't you hear me saying how "ballin" a filmmaker Christopher Nolan was above? The script is masterfully written with Ellen Page's character playing the "fish out of water" which brings the audience to understand as she too is learning the features of the dream world. I have heard countless people say Inception would be too much for them to comprehend; but trust me, it is not. If you can sit and pay attention, you can understand. Even if you can't pay attention there are enough "pretty pictures" to look at along the way to make this movie worth a view.
The details and intricacies of the dream are well conceived and well defined throughout the first half of this movie. While most of the explanations of this alternate reality (the dream world) comes from dialogue, following along is as simple as listening. Again, don't be afraid to challenge your movie mind with something different. Stimulation or entertainment doesn't always come from non stop action. Typically, storytelling via dialogue is never as entertaining as watching an event unfold. Nolan however does an excellent job of incorporating images and sequences with the dialogue to creatively bring audience members up to speed.
Inception is the most visually complete movie I have ever seen. The imagery in this movie trumps even the cinematic masterpiece that was The Matrix. The sheer scale of what is brought to the audience in the dream world is what sets this movie apart from the adventure surrounding Keanu Reeve's Neo. While the first Matrix was filled with picture perfect visuals, the filmmakers didn't try anything on the scale of Inception until the second and third films. Of course, those movies were not very good and featured some of the worst CGI manufactured in this new age of computer perfected images.
I was not only wowed by all of this film's ridiculously imaginative action sequences, but stunned, shocked, and breathless for the duration of the scenes. Joesph Gordon-Levitt (aka JGL) has a mind-numbing scene set in a hotel hallway minus gravity that captivated all my senses. Without a doubt in my mind, that scene was one of the best sequences in a movie that I have ever seen. EVER (period). The second time watching this movie I was so overcome with joy knowing what I was about to experience as this scene neared. This is only one of many overwhelmingly awe-inspiring scenes featured in this film where inside the dream, anything seems possible.
The cast is also something to be awed. With the talent and track record Nolan has, he attracts Hollywood's most notable faces. The casting director in this film, John Papsidera, is another name that needs to be highly praised. Each actor in this project was not only marvelous individually but brought something to the table for the collective whole. While the script for Inception does not give each actor equal screen time and development to match DiCaprio's character Cobb, I don't think that takes away from the performance each actor brings to their character's role. Leonardo DiCaprio has established for years his wide array of acting talent and Inception is just another notch is Leo's superstar success.
On top of Leo is an ensemble cast of superstars in their own right. All big names joined this project because of how special it was. The addition of so many talented actors boosted this film's quality ten fold. Joesph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer), Ellen Page (Juno), Cillain Murphy (Red Eye), Ken Wantabe (The Last Samurai), the gorgeous Academy Award Winner Marion Cotillard (Public Enemies), two time Academy Award Winner Michael Caine, and last but certainly not least, new comer to Hollywood stardom, Tom Hardy (Bronson).
It really is hard to choose a favorite character in this movie, but if I had to it would be a toss up between Tom Hardy and JGL. Hardy plays a role known as "The Forger" and adds some needed comic relief with his witty lines. Hardy, like JGL, is a relatively unknown actor that should be catapulted to stardom with roles like this one. Both the previously mentioned actors were so magnificent in their roles they boost the film's overall value with their presence alone. I cannot wait to see Hardy in future blockbuster type movies.
I also cannot write this review without praising Marion Cotillard's disturbing yet entrancing portrayal of her character Mal. She captured your attention with her look, her body language, her voice, and her delivery. Put her as a guarantee lock for Best Supporting Actress come Academy Award time.
Overall, Inception is the best movie of the year and is unlike any movie I have ever seen in my life. Nolan took his imagination and put it up on the screen for audiences across the world to see. While I cannot call this Nolan's best (Batman Begins is my personal favorite), it is definitely another trophy to put on display for the world to know that Nolan is one of this planet's best filmmakers (if not the best). This movie will have your heart racing during the action and melting during the drama. It will stir your mind with intrigue and transfix it with the imagery. There is not a weak link in this chain from my perspective and anyone who really gives this movie a shot will find some enjoyment from it.
I have already listed a hundred reasons to see this movie, and here is one more. Inception marks a new original idea in the Hollywood market littered with sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots. Hollywood is all about profits, and they invest in what they know will profit them most (i.e. sequels, reboots, etc.). In order for original ideas like this one to be funded in the future, this movie needs to be a success at the box office. In order for studios to take chances on new ideas in the future they need to see that audiences are open to paying for something other than the bankable cookie cutter projects we usually eat up. So even if Inception does not seem like your cup of tea, give it a shot to try something new. You may be surprised when you end up blown away by the mind of Christopher Nolan.
Nolan is the mind who brought you: Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Prestige. Has the man gone wrong yet? Inception is more of the same... film-utopia.
For those who have seen Inception:
First, check out this really awesome rendition of fan art that visually "breaks down" Inception. I had a laugh.
I shouldn't concern myself with meddling fools, but I cannot help it. I have read and heard many of the gripes critics have with Inception. Much of the reasoning is crap like, "The only character to be developed is Cobb, and all others are just along for the ride," "This movie is confusing," and "It is hard to know when the characters are in reality and when they are dreaming." My comeback to those complaints revolves around a difference of opinion and calling them out for not paying attention. Not every writer who composes a script is going to develop every character along the way. Sometimes, like Inception, the only character's story that really matters is Cobb's. That is why he is the only character to be truly developed. I personally like character development, but not every face to appear on screen needs to be unraveled for a narrative to be good.
As for the dreaming, I believe Nolan was trying to blur the line between reality and dreams to show how easily characters can be deceived into believing they are not actually dreaming. The purpose of The Architect, The Point Man, and The Forger is to recreate "reality" within the dream. That is almost the whole point of the movie, deception to create Inception!! How could a critic miss that? I know I am just venting, but sometimes critics bash just to bash. Heck, even I do it sometimes. But to call a movie like Inception rotten overall is just ludicrous.
I seriously cannot believe this woman is a movie critic. Michelle Alexandria is her name and she seriously discusses at the end of her review considering walking out of Inception. What kind of movie critic ever considers that?! What kind of review can you write if that is what you are thinking while watching the movie!? If a person walks out early, is their opinion on the whole of the movie valid? Of course not. The fact she considered this disgusts me that she is a member of the press. How people like her make it that far in the journalism game is truly baffling to me.
I personally would never leave a movie early, so rest assured my opinions are always based on the whole picture.
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