Thursday, 5 August 2010



Writer/Dir: Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Dileep Rio, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine
USA/UK, 2010

Seen: July 17, 2010 at Scotiabank

Reason to see: It's on my Most Anticipated Films of 2010, and I'm sure it's on most serious film goers must-see list of the year.

So, writing a spoiler-free review of Inception will likely be very brief. The trailers presented up with a bendy world that defies explanation and gives off a definite thinking-thriller vibe.

Inception really is one of the biggest films of the year and Christopher Nolan's fan base literally exploded with fanboy love of The Dark Knight, which to be honest, I didn't lot. BUT, I did love Memento, The Prestige and Batman Begins all for their brilliant storytelling and interesting, refreshing and invigorating filmmaking which means my expectations for Inception were rather high. As it turns out, the might have been a little too high.

Don't get me wrong, Inception is a smart film - and it knows it because it tells us. I kind of expected it to be so layered that I would have to see it more than once to fuller get it, as you get from a lot of science fiction, bendy-with-reality films. Not hear, it's actual clear as glass. Sure, there is some mud kicking around on the windshield, but we go through the car wash of literal stages of clearning, cleaning and polishing. I would certainly watch it again, but I didn't feel like I had to, which is actually a compliment in a lot of ways.

I'm not going to describe the films plot, as I think it's better seen without knowing what it's about but rest assured if you like reality-set scifi films, Inception should be on your must see list. The idea, premise and settings are quite original and very beautifully executed and really make it worth seeing for any avid film goer. The film is chock full of talent, and heading the all star cast is Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb, a man with a murky past that keeps getting in his way. We have a great ensemble cast a la heist films including Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobb's right hand man Arthur and Ellen Page stars as the protegee Ariadne. I actually quite liked the character of Ariadne, it was really refreshing to see a male/female mentor type relationship with zero romantic chemistry, even though she does still maintain the emotional core and reality of the film. All the performances are solid, but the big scene stealer here is Tom Hardy (Bronson, Star Trek: Nemesis) as Eames, whom subtly commands attention any time he is on screen. The film also gives us glorious art direction, costumes and spectacular visual effects - all of which are completely fused into the film perfectly and almost feel like they are each their own characters and commentary within the world that is created.

There are so many great ideas, moments and visuals in the film, but I think because my expectations were so high I left feeling a little underwhelmed. I was expecting perfection and for it to be really neat and tidy and clever. And it is, but I did feel like there were some flaws in the logic, even if they were 'explained' they still felt like flaws to me. Again, that clarity thing didn't feel like there was much to do as viewer other than watch. I wanted to turn my thinking cap on, but it's completely not required at all. The film also has a strong emotional journey, which I didn't expect at all. I thought it'd be all ideas and cleverness, so when the heart gets tugged I was like "Hey! What's going on?"

I'm sure different viewings will lead to different reactions, but as I said I don't feel like I need to rush out and see it again, even though I'm sure eventually I will. I can easily see Inception getting Oscar noms for all the techies (sound mixing, sound design, visual effects), score by the ever-fantastic Hans Zimmer, director, film and probably writing too. It's certainly to grace many a 2010 top ten lists, but I just wished I had liked it more. That's one reaction to a film I never saw coming, and a longer review than I would have expected! Bizarre on many levels.

Shannon's Overall View:
I thought I'd enjoy it more, but I expected a lot
I'll buy it
I widely recommend it

17 minutes of preshow including 10 commercials and 5 previews: Paranormal Activity 2, The American, The Social Network, Due Date and The Town

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010


Suzie Ridler said...

I agree totally Shannon, a smart movie but left me wanting more. I just didn't connect with the story, I saw it from my brain and not my heart. Some of the visuals and music in particular (normally I don't notice that kind of thing) were astounding and I think you're right, will get Oscars. Just didn't do much for me either. What a bummer!

Simon said...

Aside from the ending and so many plotholes, loved it.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Sounds like we had a similar reaction Suzie! It's odd that mostly I felt confused because I thought it would be something else...weird! The score is phenomenal though.. phenomenal!

On the other hand, sounds like we had different reactions Simon! I actually liked the ending (although won't get into that here to stay spoiler-free), but I do feel like there were plotholes, but somehow they managed to 'explain' them in a pretty failsafe way.

Anyhow, at least now I don't have to avoid the trailers. I oddly look forward to visiting it again.

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