Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: Review for Inception

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I think audiences need a little complexity in their films. I think lately, blockbusters are too simple, both in character depth and storyline. But Chris Nolan has always been opposed to such simplicity. He wrote and directed Memento, the most non-linear story told ever. I mean, for goodness sake, it was told backwards! And then there was Insomnia with Al Pacino and Robin Williams, a highly acclaimed film that was a remake of a Norwegian thriller. Complex and thrilling, the film grossed more than $100 million worldwide. And, of course, his two Batman films, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, that changed the vigilante hero into a vigilante human. Giving Batman a flawed personality, we were introduced to him anew, and unlike any director had done so before, similarly like Martin Campbell rebooting James Bond.

And now Christopher Nolan has boggled minds all over again, with the trippiest and most complicated film I have seen in years. In Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a thief who steals ideas form people’s dreams. When hired by a high powered business man, Saito (Ken Watanabe, Letters from Iwo Jima), Dom must perform a difficult task: Inception. A master at extraction, in other words stealing ideas from people’s dreams, inception involves planting the seed of an idea in someone’s mind. It has almost never worked.

He assembles a team of dream fighters: The Extractor/Inceptor, Dom; The Point Man, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt); The Architect, Ariadne (Ellen Page); The Forger, Eames (Tom Hardy, Bronson); The Chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao); and The Tourist, Saito. The film becomes more and more complex, with the Mark being Cilian Murphy, whose father was the head of a rival corporation.

Dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams. It’s almost completely ridiculous how complex the film is. But, in a way, it’s quite a fresh change for cinematic styles. You know, you have to pay astute attention to get it. Even with just having watched it once, it’s a good idea to see it twice until you make your final judgment.

Leonardo DiCaprio is in some sort of trend where he plays characters lousily that have serious emotional problems. They can’t let go of their past and it gets in the way of things they do. Previously, DiCaprio played Teddy Williams in Martin Scorsese’s thriller Shutter Island (Based on the novel by Denise Lehane). He is the weakness of the film, and character, no matter how emotionally damaged he is, lacks believability. And when the main character has such a deep past, it’s a wonder he doesn’t ruin the film completely. Just thank the rest of the cast.

The repartee between Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun, (500) Days of Summer) and Hardy is funny and quick, both sharp tongued characters and actors. Ellen Page plays the newbie on the team, and her character creates an odd bond with Dom. But she doesn’t create an overly melodramatic subplot making Dom an impossible love interest. Marion Cotillard plays Dom’s deceased wife, Mal, who appears as the Shade, the character always trying to manipulate and sabotage the job. Cotillard is a spectacular actress, always filling her roles with seriousness and emotion.

I commend Christopher Nolan on writing a brilliant script. It’s been years that something has wrung with both emotion and complexity. It’s a serious thriller, combining action and cerebral thriller, as well as emotional resonance to make one heck of a film. It’s visually arresting and stimulating, and you’ll walk out of the theater questioning your own reality.

Grade: B+

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