Inception (2010) is a very heavy and involved psychological thriller set in a near future where a technology allows people to enter and create architecture for dreams. You can find out secret information this way, but the question is, can you plant an idea into someone's subconscious? That would be "inception".
The elaborate, central heist involves several participants played by a hyper-cool cast led by Di Caprio. After constructing dream architectures for their target, they isolate him on an airplane (ludicrously expensive to achieve) and then enter his dreams, dreams within dreams, dreams within dreams within dreams AND, due to unforeseen complications, there is even another unplanned level beyond that. Each level has it's own time-frame, such that in the deepest level, you can live a lifetime during one sleep. Strap in for some of the most spectacular and creative visuals ever seen on film - I mean really clever and mind-blowing stuff.
Everything about this film is heavy and powerful, often with feelings of paranoia, due to the blurred lines between dream and reality. The story, the visuals, the performances, the music - they all combine to make very powerful impressions upon the viewer, perhaps overwhelming for some. This is also one of the most discussed and debated films ever. After you see it, you might want to read some interpretations of the ending, perhaps on Wikipedia. It seems intentionally ambiguous but some clever observations may have shed some light. Because Inception is so intense, it isn't one of those easy-to-watch films that I regularly grab off the shelf. But it is too bold, imaginative and spectacular to give anything less that the top grade.
If you didn't like the Matrix, you might skip this one. Dicaprio is man who is an expert at entering dreams and extracting information for corporate espionage. He has a problem in that there is a price on his head. He is a wanted man. A Japanese business man wants Dicaprio to enter the mind of a competitor and place an idea in his head to break up his empire. In exchange Dicaprio (Dom Cobb) would be allowed to go home to his family. Cobb first gets an architect (Ellen Page) who can design a complex location, such as a dungeon master creating the stage. He then must assemble a team of people with different skills to navigate through the dream world.
The beginning of the movie is a bit confusing as you don't know what is real and what is a dream. However this shortly clears up. Dom Cobb has a lot of issues concerning his past life and dreamworld which jeopardizes the mission. His dead wife keeps showing up to foil his plans and he just hasn't the heart to kill her. The dreamworld works like a narcotic. Once you go into it, reality becomes boring. This movie is more brilliant in its complexity and script than it is in entertainment, but it worked for me.
Christopher Nolan may be the most brilliant, unconventional mainstream director working in Hollywood today, crafting intricate stories where narrative forms are stretched and twisted.
Nowhere is this more obvious than "Inception," which turns into a multi-level Möbius strip -- worlds within worlds, dreams within dreams. Nolan delights in being able to conjure strange worlds that could never exist in real life, but he crafts a very heartfelt, powerful story for those visuals -- a story of love and loss, ambition and power, and a broken man haunted by guilt that constantly chases him through every dream.
In the not-too-distant future (next Sunday A.D.), the military has created a technology that allows artificial shared dreaming. Within multi-leveled dreams, architects can create elaborate worlds, and special "extractors" can get information from a sleeping subject's brain. Oh, and there are several layers of dreaming, each with a different period of time passing.
The movie opens with Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) trying to extract some information from tycoon Saito (Ken Watanabe). It turns out that this was actually an elaborate audition by Saito, who wants to hire them for an "inception" -- to plant a new idea in someone's head. Cobb isn't interested until Saito offers to clear him of the murder of his wife, which would allow him to return to his young children.
Their target: Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), who has just inherited a massive energy conglomerate from his cold, callous father. Saito wants the company dissolved before it can become too powerful, so he wants the idea incepted into Robert's head.
So Cobb gets together a gang of the best: clever forger Eames (Tom Hardy), dream-chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao), and the new architect Ariadne (Ellen Page). But only Ariadne sees how troubled Cobb is, and that the memory of his dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) is deliberately sabotaging every mission he undertakes. As the team weaves their elaborate web of deception and dreams around Robert, Cobb finds that his demons are threatening their mission.
You have to give it to Christopher Nolan: he doesn't dumb down his movies for the masses. "Inception" is a hard movie to even summarize because it's constantly growing more complicated -- the team is spread out over different dream levels, with different time periods passing and different perils attacking them simultaneously. It's half heist caper and half sci-fi meta-thriller... if that even makes sense.
And while Nolan sculpts a strange Escheresque dream-world of labyrinths and never-ending stairs, he also crafts some powerful subplots about love and loss. As the plot unwinds, he intertwines Cobb and Fischer's personal issues with the main story of inception. Suddenly the constant firefights, explosions and free-falling elevators/vans aren't the only reason we're invested -- the audience is truly left wanting to see both men work out their issues and find some measure of inner peace.
It also has spectacularly good special effects, particularly Arthur's battle in the hotel -- he scampers across the walls and ceilings, grappling with projections as he floats through empty halls. Not to mention the scene where Ariadne turns a whole city upside-down... literally.
Honestly, the biggest problem with the movie is that the dreams sometimes make too much sense. Why do Fischer's projections have to actually TRAVEL to attack the team instead of... I don't know, materializing inside the building?
Nolan also populates "Inception" with a lot of actors that he's cast in other projects, especially "The Dark Knight Rises." In fact, I can't help but wonder if DiCaprio's role was originally offered to Christian Bale, because we've also got Cotillard, Hardy, Watanabe, Murphy, Gordon-Levitt and Michael Caine. There are actually only a couple major actors who haven't worked with Nolan elsewhere.
But this is one of DiCaprio's best roles, even if he's not very convincing as a father -- his Cobb is riddled with guilt and numb sorrow, and it's only prodding from Ariadne that finally gets him to confront his issues. All the other actors give lovely performances as well -- Cotillard is particularly wrenching as a strange shallow shade of a madwoman, as is Murphy as the downtrodden son of a powerful man.
"Inception" is the kind of movie that we desperately need more of -- a wild Möbius strip of complex ideas, brilliant direction and powerful acting. This is truly a one-of-a-kind film, and not one to be missed.
Christopher Nolan's Inception was a summer blockbuster in 2010. In USA alone, the movie made $292 million. It was even more phenomenal at the Worldwide Box Office, with the box receipt at $816 millions, right behind Toy Story 3 (1,066 billion) and Alice In Wonderland (1,023 billion).
Inception debuts on Blu-ray with a gorgeous 1080p/VC-1 encode (2.40:1) that makes the fantasy aspects mesmerizing. The picture comes with an amazing array of bold and vibrant colors. The transfer shows a highly detailed picture with incredible, clearly outlined objects in the foreground and background from beginning to end with tremendous details. Wally Pfister's elegant photography displayed a beautiful and warm palette. (5/5)
Audio: The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is nothing short of exceptional. Dialogue was clean and sharp. Hans Zimmer music has a wide enveloping influence, that makes you feel that you are actually in the mid of the action. The bass was very powerful. A demo-worthy presentation (5/5)
Now, the bad point: The subtitles are placed OUTSIDE the picture frame. For those with anamorphic lens, with the stretched picture, half of the subtitles will not be seen. Warner Brothers, how many times do viewers have to write to you to change your ways? In this case, if you want the subtitles to be seen, one cannot stretch the picture. Thus the impact of 2.40:1 bigger picture is lost.
Inception is a complex movie that requires repeat viewings to truly appreciate all the details of the various plots. It was totally enjoyable for the entire 148 minutes. Notice, for once, that there was no plot summary that was usually written on the back cover of the dvd case. This Blu-ray does the movie's imaginative spectacle justice with an absolutely gorgeous video presentation. The high-resolution audio is pure reference quality. With such top-notch video and audio, plus a complexed plot, it will be a pleasure to watch it again and again. Highly recommended and a Must-Own.
on March 3, 2011
I received my copy today, I can't review the disc itself but the film was incredible and I'm a huge Christopher Nolan fan (I'm the type of nerd that, when I heard Leo was playing a character named "Cobb", said "Huh, a thief named Cobb, that's a cool nod to 'Following', Nolan's first feature"), so I'm looking forward to watching it again once I have 2 and a half hours free to do so.
Anyway, the reason for this review: I'd read Websurfer's review, and when I received my copy I noticed there was nothing on the case that said it contained the DVD or Digital Copy voucher, which the picture here displays. I've seen other cases that had everything that advertised as such ("The Fantastic Mr. Fox" has it clearly written on the case that it contains all three formats). So, I was about ready to look up the return process, when I decided "well, I can't know for sure until I open it"... and there they were, the BluRay, the Extras (also on BluRay), and the DVD, with a voucher for the Digital Copy. It's all there. It's strange that the physical case has absolutely no markings, front or back, that would indicate it has them all, since that's a great selling feature for people who don't quite have a BluRay player yet, but figure they'll get one soon (I had considered buying Inception sooner, before I bought my PS3, because I'd seen the combo pack here). Had I seen this displayed at a brick and mortar, I would have passed. So, don't worry if your case doesn't look like the one pictured here. Crack it open anyway... it's all there.
A movie built like a labyrinth, complete with a menacing minotauric presence and a guiding Ariadne; worlds within worlds and dreams reflected onto dreams like an infinity mirror effect.
Nolan takes the viewer deep, deeper than any other filmmaker in memory, and without holding your hand all the way he never lets you get lost. His vision has years compressed into hours, Paris folding onto itself, militarized minds and entire worlds built out of a single person's imagination. Yet in the end, his logic is solid and his story scintillatingly brilliant.
This is bioSciFi, cyberpunk and action movie all rolled into a complex story in the near future, where not even our dreams will be safe and sharing our subconscious fears and fixations will only be an induced REM cycle away.
Have you tried your Totem yet?
Then how can you be sure?
'Reality is that which when you stop believing in it does not go away.' Philip K Dick.
Christopher Nolan's movies are among my favorite movies of the last ten years. I remember being incredibly impressed with Memento, and own it. Batman Begins, ($373m ww) also starring Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine and Ken Watanabe), inspired me to explore and understand archetypes and mythology in movies, and presenting characters first as the opposite of how they really are. He saved the Batman franchise and took it to a new level with Dark Knight grossing over $1 billion worldwide, and he also made The Prestige, (again with Michael Caine). I think that after seeing Inception everyone who knows movies will appreciate who Christopher Nolan is, and his brilliance not only as a director, but also as the writer of Inception.
Leonardo di Caprio, not just a talented actor, has undoubtedly become one of the most reliable barometers of movie quality with a string of outstanding movies such as The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, the thriller Body of Lies, and Blood Diamond, delivers another outstanding performance. It's also refreshing to see Marion Cotillard who won the Oscar for La Vie en Rose once again in a movie worthy of her talent. She brings a certain richness and emotionality to what is mostly a visual spectacle.
As you begin to watch, you may notice parallels between Inception and James Bond and The Matrix, although the stacking of realities seems more reminsicent mostly of The Jacket or Total Recall, both based on Philip K Dick stories.
As the movie opens Cobb washes up on a beach. The armed rescuers notice a a gun in his belt. He is taken to the Overlord, an old man. He also has a spinning top.
In the Matrix, Neo was a computer hacker. In Inception, Cobb, Leo DiCaprio's character is a mind hacker.
In the world of Inception, some people have the technology to invade the unconscious mind of others, and take their ideas. It is also possible to implant ideas, without people being aware. This is called Inception. You may wonder what being a spy and being a dream hacker have in common.
As a hypnotist I can say Inception is a fascinating trance experience, and takes you deeper, and continually shifts scenes. Because of this, you may miss out on some details, and you may in fact, as I did, have to go see the movie again to fill in the blanks. The more you tch the more you uinderstand.
Recurring symbols include trains and Mal's talk of trains, breaking glass repeated, a ring on Cobb's finger that appears and disappears in the second scene, and seems to shift to the overlord, and later Saito's finger. Not sure what it means.
If you have not already seen it, the following may be helpful. The unconscious mind cannot distinguish between what is real and imaginary. That is a conscious distinction. The unconscious mind is the domain of memory, emotion, and imagination. Your unconscious mind repeatedly presents unresolved issues to be resolved, which is one of the main functions of dreaming. You don't always remember a dream after you have had it.
There are some allusions to mythology. In Greek mythology, Ariadne constructed a maze. There is a character called Fischer, the son of Fischer, ailing ruler of an empire. In mythology, we have the story of the Fisher King.
I particularly loved the last moments in the movie, and I think you will too.
'All reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.' Albert Einstein.
If you're like me, I think you will remember Inception long after the final credits roll. I think a lot of people will have to see it more than once to get it. The best way to describe it I think is that it is a 'tour de force' of the imagination, and raises the bar on creativity. Aspiring directors will look to this movie, and raise their own standards. Well, I can dream, can't I?
Having said all this, I know this movie will not appeal to everyone. Some people may be overwhelmed by it, and others just won't get it. I think you will love, and I hope you found this review helpful.
on April 30, 2016
Very entertaining movie, never did I think of checking the time while watching this movie; Inception keeps you endorsed in this mind bending world that Christopher Nolan has created.
on March 8, 2016
This was a great movie. It arrived quickly and I've watched it a bunch of times and it was well worth the price (which was decent anyway). Great movie for everyone.
on January 30, 2016
groundbreaking special effects and the 'dreams within dreams' concept is fascinating. well done.