Is "Inception" A Mind-Bending Nolan Masterpiece?
(USA, 2010, 148 mins)
The building anticipation for Christopher Nolan’s "Inception" (see Kelly Baron’s article) didn’t help abate the curiosity as hundreds of eager movie-goers piled into the cinema for the midnight showing at LA Live.
And after 3 hours, I left the movie perhaps more curious than when I entered the showing.
"Inception" takes the very simple notion of planting an idea in someone’s mind into the very complex depths of modifying someone’s dreams, and it does it with a plot that is gripping, thrilling, heart-wrenching and action-packed.
As a group of experts (headed by Leonardo DiCaprio) aim to infiltrate the mind of an heir to an empire (Cillian Murphy), we are taken on a parallel journey of DiCaprio’s character battling with heartache and loss, whereby the two intertwine.
The film is shot in Nolan’s trademark styles, scenes with soft yellow filters juxtaposed with scenes of stark and striking beauty. The dreamscapes are elaborate and vivid, and the audience is often torn between trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t.
The cast all perform to the highest level, but they are perhaps a little overshadowed by the complexity of the plot.
DiCaprio plays his character with captivating emotional intensity and his scenes with the stunning Marion Cotillard are heart-wrenching at times. But what DiCaprio brings in intensity, is evened out by the fantastic Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who brings touches of humor to his role as the sidekick, Arthur. Tom Hardy also excels in his role as Eames, and both are directed expertly to contrast and compliment DiCaprio’s performance.
Ellen Page brings the least dynamic performance out of the cast, with the camera focusing too much on her expressions of confusion and wonder, and less on her capabilities as an actress. As in most Nolan films, both the female leads in this film are sidekicks in the plot, essential and yet not at the forefront. It is the interaction and complexity of the male stars that steal the show, whether it is DiCaprio, Gordon-Levitt, Hardy, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe or the hugely talented Murphy (another one of Nolan’s protégées). And for those debating who will be starring alongside Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in the next installment of Batman, don’t be surprised if you see Gordon-Levitt popping up as The Riddler, as he certainly delivers an outstanding performance in this film.
Fans of Nolan’s films will not be disappointed with "Inception," as it aims to blow minds, and it does achieve that to some degree. Some will come away feeling completely awed, whilst others may contemplate taking a nap due to constantly watching the cast drift into sleep and dreamscapes (I admit, I may have closed my eyes momentarily), but it is definitely up there in the ranks with other Nolan masterpieces like "Memento," "The Prestige" and of course, "The Dark Knight." And if you just like having your mind bent out of shape for a couple of hours, you won’t be disappointed.
Verdict: Go see it, especially in 3D to really feel those dreamscapes.
To reach Entertainment Editor Piya Sinha-Roy, click here.
(Image credit: ©2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.)