I couldn't find a review topic for this movie so I'm posting it here. I ask the mods to copy it to a proper topic, if necessary.
To put it shortly – it was an incredibly ambitious and interesting movie. However, that still doesn’t say much about the film and the quality might still be ambiguous. So how does Chris Nolan’s pet-project creation measure up to not only his previous work but also some of the movies it was compared to? Well…
One thing that really strikes me as astonishing is: the action. Yes, the action. You have probably heard that it’s too smart, too intelligent for modern audiences and frankly I don’t understand where does this come from. Sure, it’s a clever and original idea, in some aspects even unique but nowhere near the “mindfuck” it’s advertised to be… and it wasn’t supposed to be. Actually I would say it was too simple! Most of the dialogue was composed of exposition and explanation and it's definitely the weakest part of the movie. In very few scenes the characters actually talk as if they're living and breathing people and unsuprisingly these were the scenes were I was the most emotionally involved. Yet, more often than not they just discuss the "complexities" of dreaming in a dream. It's not that hard to imagine Mr Nolan.
But coming back to the action - this is as action-packed as you gonna get, with a car chase, being followed by a spinning hallway fight, by a shootout in the mountains, etc. All this is like a mash-up of Mission Impossible, James Bond, Heat and the Matrix. The pacing of the movie is really fast and never let’s go, not even when we are presented with flashbacks of the past or character development (which like I said is very sporadic or short). To me this is what makes this film different from all other popcorn flicks like Transformers or some shit like that. We get a protagonist for whom we root for, a team of characters that are more than likeable, a dark secret to balance things out and balls to the walls action with the time not on the characters and ours side, because though we get almost two and a half hours, it never feels enough and we are left waiting for more of the same excitement.
But it’s still an action movie, or an action thriller, or better yet an action thriller sci-fi, a real clever one too, especially if you consider the structure and framing of the movie, but that would go too much into the plot and we wouldn’t like that. But I can also address the acting, which was stellar all around. Leonardo DiCaprio once again is great and he can consider this performance as one of his best, not the best, but somewhere in the top 5, as he is the toughest we’ve ever seen him, whilst being as vulnerable as only he can be. With this and Shutter Island and his previous record he is becoming one of the greats in the history of cinema. Hopefully following his footsteps will be Tom Hardy, the stand-out of the movie. Every scene he is in, he not only nails it but also steals the entire show. With Inception and Bronson, and Mel Gibson’s current personal problems, I say “go for it!” when it comes to him being the next Mad Max. Cillian Murphy, another great actor, is not his usual self, but I still mean it in a good way. His character is lonely and in need of affection and he plays it beautifully. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is quickly becoming a star and he delivers once again as the sidekick to Dicaprio’s Cobb. He gets the juiciest fight and is really believable in it, whilst also having the funniest scene in the movie, sharing that scene with Ellen Page, who puts another good performance. Ken Watannabe plays the most mysterious character Sato and he does it with great style, as only he can. Not until the end, do we really get to know whether he really is who he says he is, or is he the villain, and even by the end it’s still not that clear. Michael Caine, Tom Bereneger and Marion Cotillard have also nothing to be ashamed of.
Furthermore, the cinematography is incredible. We get to see all these amazing abilities of the human brain on film and in all of these gorgeous locations, some shot in Paris, London, some created from scratch by the talented crew. Even more incredible is the music! It’s one of the best soundtracks of the decade, and if Inception is to win in only one category at the Oscars it probably should be this one. Hans Zimmer’s score works beautifully with the movie and in the scenes it’s used in, and the famous “booming” sound still gives me goose bumps. And it’s all orchestrated by the brilliant mind of Christopher Nolan, who wrote this complex and layered script and directed it to the best of his abilities. But I wouldn’t say it’s his masterpiece. The Dark Knight still remains my favorite, but I also liked both Memento and Batman Begins better. One was more clever and more unique, and the other restored the faith to the comic book movies. See Inception is not really that groundbreaking. The motif of sharing dreams was already explored in movies like Cell, Paprika or even A Nightmare On Elms Street 3, and Nolan does not expend on this idea any further, however he plays with it in the sense that we get more thrills and excitment out of the action set pieces than we would if it was just another dream based movie. Yet, sometimes I felt that the message was slipping away, especially in those over-the-top sequences. I'd prefer having Nolan devote more time on elaborating on the plot and the possibilities of the human brain than seeing an extended shoot-out scene. AS this happened rarely I could even say that I also prefered The Prestige, one of the most often forgotten Nolan films, which to me actually gets better and better with each viewing, as opposed to Inception, which relies to heavily on action spectacles.
Yet, what Inception does, it gives us a great action film, with the pieces of the plot coming together at just the right time, asking questions, leaving room for personal thoughts. All great ingredients for a classic movie. Still, it could have been more. It’s set within the dream and it already creates limitless opportunities, but the characters are bound by the rules of the game. As spies, or thieves, they cannot attract attention but when their cover is blown they never give in to the full potential of the dream, of imagination. And though it keeps it safe from being just another CGI fest, it also keeps it away from being a classic.
Inception - 8/10