Writing about Inception isn’t comparable to writing reviews about Toy Story 3 and Eclipse. In all honesty, I didn’t know anything about the movie going into it, except that Leonardo DiCaprio starred (and that was enough for me), but I was pleasantly surprised by the film. It was long and complicated, but mostly rewarding, although I did have some problems with the acting, which I will get to.
Inception is based on the concept that, through technology, people are able to invade the dreams of others. It is not thoroughly explained, but it is assumed that this technology isn’t accessible to the public; instead, the military and powerful (or possibly just rich) people are able to make use of it. Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are partners who specialize in gathering people’s secrets from their dreams. It turns out that when someone’s dreaming, they put their secrets into safes that are present in their dream world.
Basically if you have a dream one night, and DiCaprio is breaking into a safe in your house, that’s bad news, because he’s finding out your deepest, darkest secret. Inception is the concept of planting an idea in someone’s mind, which is a lot harder than just invading their dream, because the idea has to be put so deep in someone’s subconscious that they have to believe they came up with it on their own. The owner of a powerful corporation wants the heir to his rival corporation, played by Cillian Murphy, to be subconsciously convinced, through his dreams, to disassemble his father’s empire. Although the task is seemingly impossible, DiCaprio is sold when he is offered the ability to return to America, which he hasn’t been able to do because of allegations against him in the States. DiCaprio intends to bring along his crew of six people into Murphy’s dream so that he can go back to the U.S. and finally see his children again.
Two suggestions if you’re planning on seeing this film: be willing to invest two and half hours in it AND be willing to spend those hours wrapping your mind around everything. Think of it as that lecture where the professor talks really fast and refuses to use PowerPoint. You have to stay focused. But, one of the most exciting things about the film is that, like that professor, writer-director Christopher Nolan expects a lot of his audience. He expects you to come along with him on this journey without having to explain things twice. Considering the plethora of movies today that feel the need to dumb everything down, it’s nice that a director finally gives his audience some credit. Those who have seen the recent Batman films, Memento, and Insomnia will know that is Nolan’s specialty.
But let’s be honest: Is anyone else tired of watching Leonardo DiCaprio battle memories of women from his past? We all saw Shutter Island, Leo, we know that you’re good at whining about beautiful women. To be honest, I’m starting to find him a little boring. I know my sister’s going to kill me because she owned The Unofficial Biography of Dreamy Leonardo DiCaprio Circa-Titanic, but hear me out. He’s really good at running around and looking angry/haunted/distraught, but I miss the human qualities of his characters in Catch Me If You Can, Titanic, and even the boyish attitude he brought to Romeo + Juliet. Sometimes they were happy, sometimes they were sad, and sometimes they were angry. It seems as though the recent DiCaprio movies pretty much show us a lot of angst. We know you can shoot a gun, but give us more realistic characters!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on the other hand, has come such a long way from 10 Things I Hate About You and being the kid in 3rd Rock From the Sun. In Inception, his character is an extremely sexy badass, and Gordon-Levitt plays him perfectly. (Side note: Joseph, you can crash my dreams anytime.) Cillian Murphy also is amazing; why isn’t this guy in more movies? Tom Hardy plays a forger, which is the person who can morph into someone else within the dream, and he does so well, often providing some much needed comic relief during his squabbles with Gordon-Levitt. Onto Ellen Page, who plays the architect that creates the surroundings for the dreams that they invade. I wanted to like her, I really did. But all I could see when I watched her was Juno. She sticks to the same tone and attitude so that even if she’s not on her cheeseburger phone, when she talked, all I could think was, “You’ve already invaded someone’s dream, so what other kind of shenanigans could you get into?”
Definitely see the movie if this is the kind of concept that interests you. To me, I loved thinking over the questions that the film raised about reality, dreams, and the subconscious. Whatever you do, though, don’t bring that friend who talks through movies – you will definitely miss something and then be confused for the next two hours.