Monday, July 19, 2010


All too often, movies fail to live up to their potential or our expectations. They try too hard to be everything to everyone, and as a result are sloppy. I'm pleased to report this isn't the case with Inception.

This review contains no spoilers. All I'll even say about the plot is that the main characters are in the business of stealing ideas and do so by entering their victims' dreams.

Nolan's trademark, color-heavy visual style is alive and well in Inception. You can grasp the mood of the scene from the tone cast over the film, be it a warm sepia or a chilling blue. This helps a great deal further into the movie when the mis-en-scene has to remind you which
world you're watching.
Inception is a slick caper or puzzle film in the spirit of Memento and Ocean's Eleven. You get all the pieces of the puzzle early on in the film and spend the rest trying to piece them together. Jargon is bandied about by the characters, the true meaning of which you only find out later. It's an excellent and well-balanced blend of action, thriller, drama and sci-fi. The action scenes keep the plot moving forward and the thriller elements keep you trying to solve the puzzle.

This isn't to say Inception is flawless. I would have liked more character development, but I suppose Nolan had some sort of necessary time restraint. This film could have used an extra 30 minutes or so to tell us who these people are and why we should care. The only characters that are given that kind of consideration are DiCaprio's Cobb, Cillian Murphy's Robert Fischer, and Marion Cotillard's Mal, and they are that much more successful and engaging because of it. Mal in particular seems more real than anyone else because of the careful development of her character and the impressive performance given by Cotillard. The other actors make up for lack of character development with effortless charm and likability. Page, Gordon-Levitt, Ken Wantanabe, Rao, Hardy and the rest of the ensemble cast- notably Michael Caine and Tom Berenger- turn in solid performances. However, Murphy and Cotillard steal this movie. When they are not on screen, you long for them to come into the plot again. They are magnetic and vulnerable in ways that DiCaprio never seems to be. Your heart will ache for them in a way that it does not for DiCaprio.

This is the movie of the summer. While not as impeccable as Memento nor slick as Ocean's Eleven, it's one of the best films I've seen this year. There is a lot to be said for subtlety and ambiguity and Nolan tries his best to use them to his advantage. My only real complaints are the heavy-handed naming of some characters and the use of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" repeatedly in the film. La Vie En Rose was so powerful and unforgettable that you cannot use t one of Edith Piaf's best-known songs in a movie featuring Cotillard. It was like a big distracting reminder "You're watching a movie!", plus the fact that it was a little too literal for the characters involved. The only songs that would have been worse are "Dreamweaver" or "Dream A Little Dream Of Me".

-- Noel
Sent from my T-Mobile Sidekick®


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