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Inception (2010) Movie Review

July 16, 2010

Certain movies are widely considered masterpieces.  Regardless of your opinion on Christopher Nolan’s prior works (Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight), which arguably do not rise to that level, “Inception” is so transcendent of the general boundaries of cinema that I think he has finally done it.  Inception pushes the meaning of reality and floods the audience with images that raise the bar for spectacle.

Even without knowing the premise of “Inception”, there are a number of reasons to be excited about the movie.  First of all, Christopher Nolan has recently developed a reputation for quality film making so it’s great to see him do a new movie that is not based on an established franchise.  Then we have the cast including greats such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, and Peter Postlethwaite.  Additionally there are a number of rising young stars including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Paige, and Cillian Murphy.  Finally, we have a soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, who should be familiar to fans of Nolan after his dark, powerful work for “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”.

To put it simply, “Inception” is about dreams.  More specifically, much of the movie takes place in dream worlds, where reality can be bent.  There is a group of people who enter the dreams of others because doing so gives access to thoughts and ideas stored in the subconscious.  The word inception is used in the movie to refer to the act of planting an idea in another person’s subconscious while inside his dream.  This is of course extremely difficult to do, and the majority of the movie is spent attempting to plant a single idea into a single man’s subconscious.

Inception is similar to a heist sort of movie in that quite a long time is spent gathering the team and preparing for the operation followed by the execution of the operation.  While the movie is 2.5 hours long, it has a constant tension and brings surprise after surprise.  There is some action although much of the excitement comes from the drama of the impending events.  At some points there are multiple dreams simultaneously, pushing the movie right to the edge of confusing while making complete sense all along.

Leonardo DiCaprio gives a fantastic performance in the starring role.  Interestingly, his character’s issues are very similar to things he faces on Shutter Island.  Ellen Paige receives significant screen time and is fantastic as usual.  Hans Zimmer’s atmospheric score is a fantastic fit with the movie, setting the film’s dark tone and enhancing the feel of imminence throughout much of the action.  The music is primarily dark, orchestral, and driven by heavy use of horns.  Zimmer also uses strings, guitar, and synth nicely and the synth sounds are never over-done.

If you are intrigued by the trailers for Inception and want to know more about the world of dreams it presents, you absolutely must watch this movie.  If you are a fan of any of the actors mentioned above, especially DiCaprio or Paige, you should not miss this.  If you consider yourself a fan of movies in general and even remotely enjoyed “The Dark Knight” you must watch this.  “Inception” is by far the best movie Christopher Nolan has ever done and is the absolute must-see movie of the summer.

Note on IMAX:  You can also watch “Inception” in IMAX at various locations.  The film was not shot with an IMAX camera but it is still worth the extra money if you want a sharper image and higher fidelity of music.  The 12,000 watt sound system used in the IMAX theaters helps Hans Zimmer’s music shine even more than it normally would.  That being said, you would likely enjoy the movie just as much in a regular theater if the higher price tag seems insane.

5/5

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From → Action, Sci-fi

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