Review: INCEPTION (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Review: INCEPTION (2010)


Up until now, all of the recent summer 2010 movies failed to live up their original expectations (e.g. IRON MAN 2). Excluding amongst the most satisfying summer movie of the year which is TOY STORY 3, the other one here is Christopher Nolan's eagerly-awaited INCEPTION. Just like his groundbreaking comic-book epic extravaganza, THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), his follow-up here serves him another breakthrough as a cinematic triumph of popcorn fun and brainy thriller.

In this epic extravaganza about the world of dream, we are introduced to Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a seasoned thief who works alongside his partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), where they steal information from victims' dreams while they are asleep. In the beginning of the movie, we learn that they fail to accomplish their recent corporate espionage job which ends up their intended target, Saito (Ken Watanabe) makes Dom an offer he can't refuse -- an easy ticket back to United States to reunite his two children. This is something that Dom have been longing to do so, but legal problem that involved him being a prime suspect over the tragic death of his estranged wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) has been prevented him all this while. All Saito wants Dom to do is to plant an idea into Robert Fischer Jr.'s (Cillian Murphy) mind in order to break up the empire of his dying father Maurice (Pete Postlethwaite) who also turns out to be Saito's main corporate rival. Such task is called "Inception", a somewhat difficult task that is deemed impossible but Dom believes he is capable enough to do so even though he knows it's going to be the biggest risk of his life. Since the mission is more complicated than all the previous jobs he's ever done in the past, he must need a whole crackerjack team to make this work. Aside from his regular right-hand man, Arthur, he starts to assemble the rest which includes ambitious architecture student Ariadne (Ellen Page) to be in charge of designing the dream; thief and forger Eames (Tom Hardy); and chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) who will be responsible for sedating them to certain level of dream.

Christopher Nolan first pitched this highly-ambitious movie to Warner Bros, right after the completion of his third feature INSOMNIA (2002) and it took him nearly eight years to realize the whole screenplay. But the wait is certainly worthwhile -- his labyrinthine script is no doubt one of the most original and thought-provoking ideas ever conceived for a major motion picture. In fact, INCEPTION requires a lot of thinking and full concentration to appreciate the kind of puzzling approach Nolan has been definitely working very hard to achieve it. The story works like a Pandora's box where each puzzle doesn't define in a spoon-feeding manner. Such move might be too puzzling for viewers who demand for easy-to-digest entertainment but those with patience will be ultimately rewarded how superlative and richly textured Nolan has crafted a distinctive sci-fi thriller that is completely out of the ordinary. More than often, Nolan has successfully combined striking visuals and compelling storytelling that even though most of the scenes require suspension of disbelief, they are remain convincing enough to lead us believing into such thing. Make no mistake, the movie is full of expository dialogues as we go through step-by-step process of how Dom and the rest explaining various situational matters that how a dream really works or the phase where a person is forced to go deeper through stages of dream within a dream. For conventional filmmaker, too much exposition can bored out the viewers that also means it will drag the movie considerably as well. But that is rarely happens to Nolan's story here as every single dialogues and scenarios that occur throughout the movie is to be accounted for. This is one of the remarkable achievement that Nolan truly excels as a visionary filmmaker who really knows how to sustain viewers' attention even though everything is supposed to be make-believe.

Another part of the reason why a movie like this works so well is Nolan's powerful ensemble cast. Leonardo DiCaprio is the main anchor of the cast here, who gives an emotionally-compelling performance as the tormented Dom Cobb. He's certainly the right guy for the job to play the kind of haunted role with sheer vulnerability. We really feel the enthusiasm and heartfelt pain he's been going through, especially in many emotionally-penetrating scenes where he have tough time trying to forgive himself over the tragic death of his wife, Mal. Speaking of Mal, Marion Cotillard is genuinely sympathetic as the ill-fated wife. The rest of the supporting cast are equally superb -- from Joseph Gordon-Levitt's suave turn as Arthur to Tom Hardy's star-making performance as the lively Eames and right down to memorable cameo appearance by Michael Caine -- every cast here are just as crucial as the whole movie itself.

Technical wise, INCEPTION is certainly a visual masterpiece that is totally a must-see in the theaters for full-blown cinematic experience. Aided by the ever-sweeping and infectious horn-blowing score by Hans Zimmer and majestic cinematography by Wally Pfister, Nolan has crafted some of the most memorable set-pieces ever seen in recent memory. Among them are the scene where Ariadne tests her architectural skills by imagining a busy cityscape folding on top of itself and of course the spectacular action scene where Arthur fights against a villain within the rotating 360-degree hotel corridor.

While there are scenes seriously needed to be edited -- something of a habit that Nolan likes to extend his vision a bit too long for its own good -- INCEPTION earns its place as one of the best summer movies ever made. This is the kind of movie where Nolan depicts the ultimate dreamscape for the viewers to dissect the puzzle that lies within and continuously debate them long after the credit ends. Like THE PRESTIGE (2006), he's certainly knows how to manipulate the viewers with his trademark open ending that will spawned a lot of questions -- in this case -- the soon-to-be legendary "spinning top" scene towards the very finale. Is Dom awake in the end? Or is the whole scenario is actually a dream after all? Who knows, and this is the rare beauty that makes this movie so special.

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