Friday, July 16, 2010

Inception- He Said

Christopher Nolan is a director that has an almost Pixar-like streak of great movies under his belt.  With his latest movie, Inception, he manages to create a dense world of psychological and philosophical trickery.  Inception tells the story of Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his team of “dream thieves” that must undertake the most difficult job of their career in order for Cobb to be able to go home.  The premise of the movie is a high end that manages to prove engaging and complex but still understandable. 

For anyone that has seen both movies, one will be able to see that Inception is the spiritual sequel of The Dark Knight.  One of TDK’s themes was escalation; while Batman kept trying to outsmart the Joker, he was always one step ahead, and the meticulous planning on the Joker’s part was top notch.  Similarly in this movie we have this plot that keeps on getting more and more complicated as we go through the movie, but thankfully it doesn’t get convoluted like a Charlie Kauffman story could.  The story deals with Cobb’s team trying to steal an idea from a powerful businessman, Saito.  After they fail in the trippiest way possible, Saito offers Cobb the chance to go home if instead of extracting an idea, they insert an idea in the mind of the heir of a business empire, Robert Fischer, Jr.  Inception, as it is called, is the hardest thing to do to someone’s mind, as it is a really invasive procedure.  Cobb gathers a team of experts in very particular fields in relation to the dream world.  The best character, that isn’t Joseph Gordon Levitt, is Ellen Page’s Ariadne, as she serves as the character that is new to this world just like us.  She helps make this movie understandable which is one of the movie’s great strengths is in building and making you believe in a world where people can go into each other’s minds.  The rules are very well established, and explained in a way that doesn’t feel like dumbed-down exposition.

This movie has the great ability to keep you glued to your seat; literally, I don’t think that I saw more than 3 people get up during the movie to go to the bathroom.  This is because, by the time that the actual heist and plan come to fruition, the amount of tension and what is happening to all of the character is so much that you cannot look away.  This is where I find this movie becoming legendary because the action and “in the moment” occurrences are just plain bad-ass, but underneath there is a lot more emotionally gripping and interesting in a philosophical manner about reality and fantasy and what happens when the lines are blurred.  For one, the CG is used in a relatively classier manner and the story has much more layers that can be the subject of many a thesis in film studies classes.  And as a good point to note, Arthur
(Joseph Gordon Levitt) constantly steals the show, whether its his funny back-and-forth with Tom Hardy’s Eames, or his amazing gravity-defying action scenes; this character makes dazzles you in his complete badassery.  He is easily the Boba Fett of this movie.  

Depending on your point of view of certain events in the film, your opinion of the characters can shift.   I feel that some of the characters that aren’t Arthur or Ariadne aren’t as well developed as they could be.  When you see this movie, you definitely feel this is the Cobb show, where we see him deal with the repercussions of his past actions, but it is almost a detriment considering the players in the team feel more like spy movie clichés rather than fully fleshed out characters.  If you interpret the movie in a certain way, the lack of characterization makes sense.  Otherwise, this feels like really bad writing that feels reserved more to bad action movies than a brainy sci-fi thriller.

I have heard of reviews that are frustrated at not being able to keep up with plot, and to those people I say, they weren’t paying attention.  This movie has a lot going, and it is really busy, but just like a tasteful guitar solo. It serves the song, or in this case the movie’s story. When it’s all said and done, you get a movie that mixes the best parts of The Dark Knight and heist films coupled with Nolan’s mind-bending style.  In a truly lackluster and boring year of movies, this feels like fresh air, and this is exactly the kind of movie that needs to be seen, it’s either this or The Last Airbender.  Your pick moviegoers. 

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