Leonardo DiCaprio ... Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt... Arthur
Ellen Page ... Ariadne
Tom Hardy ... Eames
Ken Watanabe ... Saito
Dileep Rao ... Yusuf
Cillian Murphy ... Robert Fischer
Tom Berenger ... Peter Browning
Marion Cotillard ... Mal
Pete Postlethwaite ... Maurice Fischer
Michael Caine ... Miles
Lukas Haas ... Nash
Tai-Li Lee ... Tadashi
Claire Geare ... Phillipa (3 years)
Magnus Nolan ... James (20 months)
In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job till date, Inception.
Complete spoilers for those who can't understand the movie, check out imdb.com
I had to suspend my disbelief that you can actually kidnap someone, inject that someone with something, share a dream and find confidential information inside that subconcious mind in the dreamworld of this kidnapped person, in a world of corporate espisionage. Also that an "architect" can actually build layers upon sub layers of this dream world and convincing the dreamer that it is his dream and when it is somebody else's. Definitely a new cooler way of corporate espisionage and the movie doesn't bother in explaining the basics, just that they are and everybody seems to know there are such methods.
The reception for this movie is beyond critical success; some went further to say it is perhaps one of the most important movies of modern age, an instant classic, etc. Now this is a good movie but the most important in the sense of The Matrix that made you question your very existence? I doubt it.
What makes this a good movie it is a story well told, disguised in great special effects, some competent to good acting and set in a world that anything can happen and does and an ending that will be debated till the ends of earth that only the director can answer whether did Cobb really reunite with his children or was it a dream? My sister even went as far to say this is a story of the mind of a schizophrenic, nothing is real, nothing happened, just in his mind. Others would say earlier parts happened but the ending whether real or not depending on how you interprete the spinning top, some said it was still spinning meaning it is not real, some said it falters a bit and so it is real. Some noticed Cobb wears a ring in real world but not in the dream world, some said you never see the children's faces in dream world and they looked like they never grew up in even the ending thus it is fake. Some said the children wore different clothings so it must be real.
Whatever your opinion of the ending may be, the clever director who also gave us the puzzle movie, The Prestige achieved what he desired; this is one much talked about movie. My personal opinion? I like the idea that my sister proposed; he is a schizophrenic but no way the movie seems to point to that direction. I like to believe the ending is a happy one that he did reunite with his children, the spinning top did falter towards the end.
No doubt, such questions, probably will be answered in the 10th anniversary with the re-release of this movie is whatever format we will be using in future. The actors certainly didn't say anything. Argue away!
Back to the movie itself, like I said, it is full of great special effects. It looks good on screen and I can't fault the vision, the presentation.
However the narration and the story is a bit confusing. For one, it is difficult to accept the concept at fave value. If you could, then there's the question of very confusing "whose dream are we in now?" sort of way. Even if we ignore that, I was very bored with the reoccurence of Mal, Cobb's dead wife. She was intriguing at first but the ending scene of her arguing maybe he is in the real world and Cobb said no he knows he isn't because Mal in the real world killed herself so she is not real, she is just a representation of his guilt, therefore his totem (one item to remind the person whether they're in real or dream world), the entire scene felt like a fan fiction story come true, those sort you and I often write about as amateur. But there was nothing amateur about that scene, except it was very very long and became very very tedious. I was very bored with the character Mal and in the end I sorta realised I never knew the real Mal since she died. The Mal we knew was from his memories, from his guilty conscience and she was from the start a facade, nothing real. Even some flashback scenes on what happened to her and why she killed herself, and how Cobb said he could carry out the inception because he did it before seems rather forced. How did he actually did that? Putting an idea in a safe etc. That's what I mean when the story does not even explain the technically, just know that it is. And frankly, Marion Cotillard is beautiful no doubt, but I am not wowed by her acting. Since I am already irritated with the character of Mal and her irritating presence in the movie which breaks the narration rather than moving it along, Marion Cotillard didn't help matters with her how shall I put it? Her accent? I find it difficult to follow not because I could not understand her but because I could not stand the amount of time for her to finish her lines. And now I heard she may be catwoman. Why bother with the mask then? Since anyone can recognise her from the way she speaks. And Leonardo Di Caprio and Marion Cotillard shares zero chemistry; they could play complete strangers for all I know. Husband and wife is not believable at all. As to how she died, it wasn't such a big shocking mystery to me. I find it rather ridiculous anyway that her death was caused by her belief she is still in a dream, she needs to wake up by killing herself which she did. That is because frankly I couldn't buy the concept of a continous dream.
The movie presents to us the hypothesis that we can live our entire lives in a dream, from young to old for decades in a matter of minutes because in dreams world moves slower. And the deeper level of subconcious you go, the longer the time, to the point you can wake up losing your mind because in your dreams you would have probably lived a lifetime. It doesn't explain though do you or can you die in your dream from old age and what happens after? Another level of dream, deeper still? It does explain to wake up you need to kill yourself so imagine how many times Cobb did that. But by killing yourself when you're in a deep sleep means you will go to the deepest level of I suppose subconcious where it is like hell from the way it is described. In fact the levels of dreams felt like description of purgatory and hell whilst it may be heaven to some. You as the dreamer is the architect of your own dream, every character, every building, you subconciously placed them there. For most their dreams is based on reality although you can bend space, time, matter, etc. Sounds like The Matrix to me except Matrix is not a dream but a world created by machines to trick men into believing that's the real world. I can see where's the inspiration of Inception. But Inception itself presents this hypothesis as is; so I just watch it as is. But somehow in my mind I kept thinking are we capable of one continous dream as presented by the movie? Can our dreams be shared? Apparently it can be. When we wake up will we be so consumed by the perfect world in our dreams which in turn is based on reality that we will turn mad or in denial like Mal? Is it even possible? I haven't had a dream where it is one continous dream with consistent people in it. I wish I could do that.
This does make the movie an attractive one doesn't it? Strangely though since it is your dream so to speak, how come they can be attacked by guns etc? Can't they fight back by asking the architect to dream them a bigger gun or change the scenario or something? Or is the architect bound by her own creation; once in motion, she can't change it?
I have more questions but ignoring these technicalities, I find the movie very entertaining and nail biting because of the action stuff going on. Sort of like James Bond in a dream sort of action. However, one ridiculous moment had to be the moment(s) where we see 3 subconcious levels together; the van driver Yusuf and the van falling into the river which takes forever, Arthur gathering the sleeping ones in level 2 into an elevator where earlier I heard he has only minutes but it went on forever, the centre at the snow area for level 3 and in the end of course Cobb finding Saito in level 4. The scene of the van falling into the river was taking forever but the one that annoyed me was the level 2 elevator scene, it really felt like forever.
I must note the great special effect scene which is the one where Ariadne bending the streets as they fell on top of the other creating a perfect symmerty. Great scene.
In restrospect, we know so little of the characters don't we?
As for the performances, there seems to be a collection of Oscar winners, nominees and what nots. Doesn't make them all great.
Marion Cotillard is not my favourite so frankly I didn't enjoy her performance. Moreover, let me be petty; Mal isn't exactly a name that can elicit pity or any sort of emotion.
Ken Watanabe I never liked frankly but from the looks of it he is Hollywood's favourite Japanese actor, probably the only Japanese actor. I find him a bit too dramatic and his English is also a problem.
Leonardo Di Caprio is a good actor but I think he is a miscast in this movie. He can't do angst well and his character is full of it. Rumour has it Christian Bale was supposed to be in this movie but of course the director said Leo was his first choice. Christian Bale is all about angst and he will do great in the role as Cobb, on the condition he losses that breathy way he speaks ever since he plays Batman. Some viewers say the movie does not have an emotional connection, it felt cold, I disagree. I thought what more connection you want? Cobb is a tortured soul, he is angst and guilt and conscience all combined together and coupled with desperation and grief, what more? But rather it was Leo who didn't convey all these well. He sported that I don't know, that serious look throughout and nothing much. I just feel he was not Cobb and the fact that the movie felt cold was because he didn't deliver as he should.
Ellen Page plays the architect and frankly how she actually creates the dream world is skipped altogether so she spends time walking around in the movie looking like she is doing something. Then action kicks in and she is doing something and she is one character that connects with Cobb and found out his secret which I shall not reveal here. Not a secret really but how he spends his time in his dreamworld with his captive wife. And yet she manages to escape each time. Anyway Ellen Page is wasted in here.
I enjoyed Tom Hardy's role, probably one of the two "funny" ones in here that provides the lighter moments. Again exactly what he does I am not sure.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so grown up! I remember him as the smart aleck kid from 3rd Rock From The Sun. How time flies. He has a huge role as Cobb's assistant, even if he has very little dialogue. I enjoyed his performance. Even if he looks skinny and all, his fighting scenes, and only one that fights against gravity in this movie was very entertaining.
Pete Postlethwaite and Michael Caine both have very small roles in this movie but both did what they are paid to do effectively in the few minutes of appearance. And that was Tom Berenger? The one looking oily and sneaky? Haven't seen him in a long time, could hardly recognise him!
The one actor and one character that I was absolutely fascinated with is to me the rarely seen strange looking actor, Cillian Murphy. I didn't detect any accent at all! Anyway he has I must admit a very cold sort of face with even chilly eyes but gorgeous eye colour if you ask me. Frankly I didn't follow his career much but am glad to see him having an important role in this movie. In fact his portion of the story is the most fascinating one. The entire story is built on his character and how Cobb and gang had to plant an idea in his mind and I like his relationshiop with his father and how Cobb and gang reasoned the best way to plant the idea is to effect a reconciliation with the father in the dream when in actual fact his father couldn't care less about him. He did the dramatic bits well and his scene of reconciliation with his father was definitely the highlight of this movie with some exceptional performance from this strange looking actor. He also handled the action scenes well.
I must admit Christopher Nolan is a very good director. He brings to us fascinating stories that is not some boring rehashed stuff from other boring rehashed stuff and he always make good use in his actors and prefers casting those he has worked with. I may have my grouses with this one, calling it confusing and at times boring or rather too long on one focus until I became restless but it is nevertheless a refreshing sort of movie which emphasise on storytelling as well as presentation. Whilst Inception is not the most important movie or best movie as it has its flaws and some questionable casting decisions, no doubt it is a very enjoyable movie that makes you think. Ignore the technicalities and just go with the flow and join the debate as to whether in the end is Cobb still in his dream?
A must see. The name Christopher Nolan itself deserves at least a view at the trailer and with such a cast, whatever I may say about them, one of them must intrigue you somehow. The story (not the technical stuff) to me is the true star of this movie. Clever stuff I must say.
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