Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe , Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Pete Postlethwaite, Tom Berenger, Lucas Haas
Score: 6 /10 but 9 / 10 for the acting and effects
The big summer blockbuster by the director of The Dark Knight with an all star cast and high concept. It is bound to make a lot of money for all involved and be on many people’s favourite movies of the year. It just won’t be on mine.
That is right. Inception did not do it for me.
The tale follows DiCaprio as Cobb. A character who, through the aid of a machine, can enter people’s dream to steal ideas. He is asked by Ken Watanabe to plant an idea – Inception. He gets a new team together and the mission begins. They have to go through different levels of dream state to make the idea take hold. Many reports I have read about the film say that the story is complex and you need to multiple viewings to get to grips with it – you don’t.
It is a deceptively simple movie – a heist movie mixed in with lost love.
Initially I really enjoyed the film. The set up and the explanation of the dream world rules worked well and intrigued me and it looked lovely, but the more I watched the more I realised I had seen it all before. It had been described as a truly unique film.
It is not a unique film.
It takes so many elements from many other films that when I go over it in my head it feels like one of those mashup movie clips that can work so well.
I know it is not the done thing, but I will mention a few of the films and books that the film is composed of.
Nolan himself has mentioned the Matrix and Bourne films. The main film that seems to be the source of the film is David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ – different levels of reality and you are not sure which is the real one.
During the mission Cobb’s memories of his dead wife, Marion Cotillard, mean she appears to wreak havoc on the proceedings. If anyone has read Michael Marshall Smith’s Only Forward will see incredible similarities between this and their initial journey into the Dream world where they end up learning the rules of what the can and cannot do. Cobb also learns that he can never go back to what was lost.
Then there are the Bond influences mixed in with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare scenes. Add a touch of Vanilla Sky, a hint of Oceans 11, a bit of Reservoir Dogs, some Jacob’s Ladder, a dash of The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and so on and so fourth.
It was so frustrating as the acting, score and visuals are absolutely brilliant. All of the actors involved give their all to the film – the stand outs being Tom Hardy’s Eames, a funny take the piss character who can also kick your arse as seen in the Modern Warfare 2 scenes in the snow, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Arthur, Cobb’s right hand man who has great fight scene in a twisting, tumbling corridor.
Cillian Murphy was the target for the team and you end up feeling incredibly sorry for him, but you do wonder why they have to go to all the trouble that they do to plant the idea. As my wife said, why not just hypnotise him.
The special effects are excellent, but do not intrude on the film. You will have seen most of them in the trailers and the scenes of cities lifting into the sky and falling into the sea make up a tiny part of the proceedings.
I have enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s films in the past. I love Memento and the Batman films, but didn’t enjoy The Prestige or Insomnia. Some of the editing problems that have crept up in his films were not as noticeable in this new one. Yet in all of them I felt there was a clinical coldness to them, a film school ethos that is stuck to in all of them. I suppose another way of looking at it is that they have no heart. They all give the illusion of heart but there is an emptiness behind them. Inception is no different.
Having been so excited with the build up to the film and the excellent responses people have had to it I do feel as if I have seen the Emperor’s new clothes. The feeling of disappointment I still feel about it is palpable.
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