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July 20, 2010 > Movie Review: Inception - Complex yet Compelling

Movie Review: Inception - Complex yet Compelling

By Joe Samagond

Written and directed by British filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento/The Dark Knight), Inception (2010) is a film that expects viewers to hang on to its brisk pace and unusual story, along with a decent IQ - a bit unusual for a summer action picture. It is filled with stunning dreamscape visuals against a backdrop of corporate espionage and Freudian views at the subconscious as we follow a troubled man on a dangerous mission to recover his life and sanity.

The premise of the story is a process of "shared dreaming," that allows two or more people to enter the same dream, and therefore the subconscious source of that dream. From there, the guest in the dreamer's world can steal information, build worlds, and discover secrets. Accept this without asking too many questions and you can enjoy this movie.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the expert in this extraction process and Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is his capable sidekick. They are hired by corporations to gain information from competitors. Using a combination of drugs, wires and methods that remind you of the Matrix series of films, Cobb and his co-workers penetrate the minds of their slumbering targets, usually in order to extract vital and top secret information. But a wealthy client (and a former target) named Saito (Ken Watanabe) seduces Cobb to try the much more difficult trick known as inception, which involves planting an idea in someone's mind that will be acted upon in the real world. The objective is to induce a young heir, Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), whose father (Pete Postlethwaite) is a business rival of Saito's, to break up the company he is about to inherit from the ailing patriarch. This part of the story is fairly pedestrian but provides the foundation on which Mr. Nolan's dream film is built.

A lot of this movie is really very cool. Starting in Tokyo, the story moves to Paris and Mombasa, and is well supported by a cast of mind-cracking technicians. Dileep Rao is the shaggy, anxious nerd from Mombasa, Tom Hardy and Gordon-Levitt are a pair of wisecracking specialists with many James Bond-ian skills. Ellen Page plays the student-turned full-time architect who is recruited to design the physical environment in which the dream-heist is to take place. She also provides the moral compass to this fuzzy story of many gray areas and especially to Cobb's neurotic character. Cobb plays the typical Christopher Nolan hero. Conflicted from the first minute, he conveys a sense of unfinished psychic business along with guilt from the past. DiCaprio exercises impressive control in portraying a man on the verge of losing his grip, Nolan's direction is deft and he provides Cobb and the cast a superb playground - physical and mental - upon which they execute very well.

Though long - nearly two and a half hours - the movie zips along quickly. It is compelling and suspenseful supported with amazing action and great performances. It does help though, because it is a complex story, to read the movie synopsis before going to watch it.

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action
Runtime: 2 hours 28 minutes

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