MOVIE REVIEW: INCEPTION (2010)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan
Where to begin.
First of all, congratulations to Warner Bros. for giving director Christopher Nolan $150 million to make Inception, an intelligent summer tent-pole which has nothing to do with sequels or comic books. That sort of trust is rare within the movie industry, and one can only hope that it will be rewarded by positive reviews and butts in seats.
So, is Inception all that?
Yes, it is.
Nolan’s idea is original and unique. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, an American thief who, for a large fee, steals ideas from people’s minds. He can’t return home – and, thus, see his children – because he’s accused of a crime he may or may not have committed. But he’s given a chance to redeem himself by pulling off one last job: instead of extracting an idea, he must implant one. The reward is to return home to see his kids. How can he refuse?
Given financial and creative freedom as a reward for the success of The Dark Knight (and some of that debt is owed to the late Heath Ledger – thank you, Heath), Nolan has taken advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance, assembling a strong cast (Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine among them) to reinvent the heist caper and the “one last job” cliché. The excitement of a heist flick is evident, but Nolan takes it so much deeper.
Visually, Nolan and his team has outdone themselves. Nolan takes the logic of dreams and runs with it, using money and talent to put on the screen what you and I see in our heads.
In terms of writing, Nolan has crafted a touching story of a man weighed down by guilt, having done what he thought was right but realizing that his choice has destroyed his family. Cotillard is the lynchpin here, the emotional crux of DiCaprio’s character, and it is her instability, her danger which elevates Inception to another level (or depth) of drama and emotion.
Perhaps the greatest praise one can heap on Inception is that it must be seen a second time. And a third. Maybe even a fourth. Not just to soak in all the myriad details Nolan has layered into this epic tale but to absorb the majesty of the story.