Inception (2010)

I think a film has succeeded greatly when you start watching it, and stand up after what seems like a short time, only to find out that it is actually 2.5 hours later. Inception is one of those films. Its running time is over two hours long, but it doesn’t feel like that at all. It doesn’t drag at all, and juggles its drama, characters and action incredibly well.

It’s like someone managed to go into your head, implant the entire story of Inception, and then wake you up right afterwards. You don’t feel like you’ve just watched a movie, you feel like you’ve just had a great experience that lasted about as long as when your favorite song plays on the radio. Great for a moment, and then taken away from you, making you want to hear, (or in this case, see), it again.

Implanting something in someone’s head is the task given to Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his team of dream thieves. Normally, the team goes into the minds of people in order to steal something, a secret, formula, you name it. While attempting to steal something from the mind of a Japanese businessman named Saito (Ken Watanabe), Cobb is caught. The heist was an audition of sorts for Cobb and his team. Saito wants their help. He wants them to go into someone’s head and implant, rather than steal, and idea.

Cobb is unable to enter the United States and see his children. Cobb has a criminal record that needs clearing up. Saito claims that if Cobb manages to implant the idea inside the head of his main business competitor, Robert Fisher Jr. (Cillian Murphy), he will fix Cobb’s criminal record. Cobb accepts this offer.

He must assemble a bigger team for the job though, and will require them to go down a few dream levels in order to get the idea implanted. He hires a dream architect (Ellen Page), an impersonator (Tom Hardy), and keeps his partner from before (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The team needs to go down many levels into the head of this person, as the only way that implanting the idea works is if the person believes that it has grown from their own subconscious.

The rest of the film takes place inside the dreams of different characters, ranging from a normal looking city to a snowy mountain fortress. The environments inside the dreams are all varied and interesting to look at, meaning that, at least visually, you will always have something to look at.

This holds true for pretty much everything else in the film as well; something important is always going on. While the film does have a long runtime, it doesn’t feel long, because there is always something to capture the audience’s attention. From the breathtaking visuals, to the interesting characters, to the wonderful story, there is always something to pay attention to.

The story is actually nowhere near as confusing as a lot of people claimed it was. At least, it wasn’t all that confusing for me. As long as you pay enough attention to how the dream machines work, and listen to the dialogue the characters have when interacting with each other early on, I think everyone will have an easy enough time understanding the plot. There aren’t even many twists, apart from things not going right after the team is inside Fisher’s mind.

Things do go wrong, of course, and it is up to the team to fix them. Inside a normal dream, if you die, you just wake up. In order to get many levels down, the team had to be heavily sedated. If you die while under this sedation, you don’t wake up. Instead, you go to a place called “limbo”. Cobb has apparently been there before, and he escaped, but it wore him down mentally. Limbo is a place the group wants to avoid at all costs, and makes the entire adventure far more exciting.

It is exciting, because of this tension, as you care for the characters. There is a great deal of build-up before the team even begins entering Fisher’s mind, and this is used in order to get us used to the characters. Cobb isn’t exactly the most stable person when it comes to his emotions, and he is the character that we spend the most time with. He is the most interesting character as well, so this is a good thing. He was married, at one point, and he has children he desperately wants to get back to. He has a clear reason doing what he does, and this becomes very apparent. We want him to succeed, we really do.

The other characters are also interesting, but they get less focus. They get development, yes, but they act more like an ensemble cast rather than ever acting as individuals. We get a small amount of time with each one before entering the dream world, but not much focus on them afterwards. They are almost always with at least one other character, and they are completely focused on the task at hand. After all, there is no room for error.

Inception had a great cast, filled with good actors playing interesting roles. The acting is all quite good, and despite the fact that emotions don’t play that large a part in the film, when they do show up, the actors show that they have the range to work emotionally. DiCaprio carries the film, and does an admirable job in his leading role. Tom Hardy is hilarious in the comic relief role, yet still can act seriously when the situation calls for it.

Serious situations occur during one of the many action sequences. These moments are thrilling, given the fact that we care for the characters, and also exhilarating, because they are incredibly action-packed. They are also properly placed, breaking up the tense drama moments when appropriate. Nothing seems out of placed or forced, and the transitions from one scene to the next are flawless.

There are many things that warrant further discussion when talking about Inception. If the technology to enter people’s minds existed, how ethical would it be? The film declares the practice as “not strictly speaking legal”, but ethics are a different thing. Would this be a realistic threat, or something that would be much harder to pull off?

It is questions like these that make Inception one of my favorite movies. It is thought-provoking, action-packed and visually engaging. The world, or worlds, that are created are dynamic and a beautiful thing to look at. The acting is solid, the characters are interesting, and the story is solid. While not nearly as confusing as some say, the plot stays engaging to the audience. Inception hits emotional highs, is visually outstanding and never boring.

1 thought on “Inception (2010)”

  1. Absolutely well written although i started to find myself drifting off about half way through, i think you could do with eliminating some content and shortening the review but due to the complexity of the film it will be tough to decide what is necessary and what the viewer, in this case reader, doesn’t need to know.

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