“Inception” – 2010. Dir. Christopher Nolan

With Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Pete Posthlewaite, with Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.

“I love you but I can’t trust you anymore.” – Cobb

Christopher Nolan knows how to make a film. Not a movie, a film. He’s very unique in the way of transforming a film into a summer blockbuster. “Inception” is a riddle, a maze that imbeds itself into your mind. What I found very interesting about the film was the lack of character development and the suspension of the plot. Sure there is one, you can essentially follow it, but when the plot deviates into different story arcs, you’re lost within the film. You’re lost within a dream, within a dream, within a dream leaving you trying to understand what reality is.

The concept of technology used in the film is monumental. In the not so distant future there is a technology available to enter someone’s mind when they are asleep. This is how secrets, the deepest of secrets get stolen. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb who is the best “inceptor” there is. He works as an inception preventer, teaching people’s minds how to prevent an intruder like himself from stealing their secrets.

This is a complex concept, but at the same time it’s almost plausible. What gets really complex is how inception actually works. We’re told little but we’re shown quite a bit. I don’t want to get into it and spoil any plot elements, nor do I think I can formulate a concrete opinion without seeing the film again. Look, it was midnight, I had to be at work at seven this morning, I was tired and the air conditioning wasn’t really working in the theater. I sweat a lot, okay?

The ensemble cast is really worth your time here. The characters (aside from DiCaprio’s) aren’t developed at all. We know next to nothing about any of them. Watanabe is fucking wonderful as the quasi villainish Saito who kind of hires DiCaprio for an audition of his skills. He’s undoubtedly the best Japanese actor since Tishiro Mifune.

I’ve never, ever been a fan of Ellen Page. I can’t stand her. I think she’s an egotistical little tart who plays the same character in every film. Her in Inception, she’s slightly different – though she does display the rouge female character traits. For the first time in my life, I enjoyed her performance.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become something of an anomaly in these recent years. He’s turned the page hardcore from “Angels in the Outfield”. He looks really good in this film, with his three piece suit and slicked back hair, if he chooses his films right, he maybe the next Heath Ledger who was going to be the next Daniel Day-Lewis.

Marion Cotillard is the standout in the film where she plays Cobb’s wife. She is such an incredible actress – and ever since she won her Academy award she’s done nothing short of stepping up her game and finding the right roles for her. She’s not only adorable, but there is a second or two in the film where she gave me chills. She is such a rare actor – her command is unreal.

Tom Hardy is strange in the film. I’m not sure what his exact role was, but he mainly supplements for slight comedic relief. I wasn’t really thrilled by him, more numb than anything. It’ll be interesting to see him as Mad Max.

I love that Michael Caine was in the film because he’s Michael Caine and Nolan loves him. He’s really nothing special, but he’s still a treat none the less. I guess one can argue his importance to the plot, which he does have an important role with it, but he was in it to be in it.

Nolan alumni, Cillian Murphy shows up towards the climax of the film as the new “mark”. Pete Posthlewaite plays his father who is a very vague rich and powerful man. Doesn’t it seem like Posthlewaite and Nolan should have worked together before? I think so.

How in the FUCK did Tom Berenger get in this movie? I have no idea how, but I love it! Nolan continues to keep up his tradition of using an actor who hasn’t seen a theatrical release in a quite a while as a small and vital role in his films. Think Rutger Hauer in “Batman Begins”, Eric Roberts in “The Dark Knight” and now Tom Berenger in “Inception”. I love it!

Okay – so, Leonardo DiCaprio. The problem I have with him is this: his character Cobb mirrors that of Teddy Daniels for “Shutter Island” way too much. I don’t want to give away any plot details to the film, since most of you tend to go in “blind”. He really should have played one or the other. He just wasn’t believable as Cobb to me, roll your eyes, but Christian Bale would have been better. I’m not sold on DiCaprio. He’s way too prolific for me to accept any of his characters as authentic. I see an actor, who is in too many movies, not a colorful spectrum of characters. I don’t think DiCaprio is a great actor. He’s good, but not what everyone seems to think. And oh yes, the neck beard is back with a vengeance in “Inception”. Just fucking shave it off, or wear a fake. Shit’s getting real old.

**SPOILERS**

I think I have a firm grasp on the dream within a dream within a dream concept. There are three, maybe even four levels of dream stages. I took two things away from the film, one that Saito was more than likely an architect as well. Some of the film took place in his “world”. The second was that the ending of the film was a dream that was built by Ellen Page’s character. She’s the only one who knew how Cobb’s totem worked. He explained it too her, and she’s the only one that had seen Cobb’s memories.

Did you ever notice how you never saw Cobb’s children’s faces until the end of the film? It played like his memory played, until they turned around and looked at Cobb. How could Cobb’s reality be a carbon copy of his dream? I feel that Page built his dream, made it into a reality so that Cobb could “live”. Remember that small scene when Cobb is shown the people who are plugged in to dream, just so they can live? That’s what I think happened to Cobb.

**END SPOILERS**

“Inception” is nothing less than a brilliant film that is more of a mind fuck than your ex boy/girlfriend. It’s an incredibly smart film without trying to be too smart. I understand a lot of the film, I really do, but I just didn’t care for some of it; yet Christopher Nolan has proved once again that he is the real deal. This film is so epic and brilliant; it’s truly a tremendous feat. He and Paul Thomas Anderson are the two most important filmmakers of our generation.

Rating: 10/10


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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

7 thoughts on ““Inception” – 2010. Dir. Christopher Nolan”

  1. Christian Bale would have been awful.

    You can’t really blame Leo for wanting both of these roles. It’s not like he’s going to turn down either Shutter Island or Inception. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s getting a bit overplayed but I just can’t think of anyone better for this role. I’d say Mark Ruffalo, but that’s just because I love him and think he should get every single part. Maybe Colin Farrell? I don’t know… i give up.

    I think your understanding of what a neckbeard is might be a bit skewed. A neckbeard is a beard that extends all the way down through the neck. See Kyle Orton for an example. What Leo sports in this film is just a simple ghotee.

    Lastly, is there a reason my character isn’t in your poll? Are we in the midst of a major fight that I didn’t know about?

    1. I think Christian Bale would have been good. Mark Ruffalo certainly would have been excellent. Totally agree that it seemed like Leonardo DiCaprio just walked off the set of Shutter Island to play Cobb.

  2. Just because we only see him explain it to her, Ellen Page, doesn’t mean at least Arthur doesn’t know. Maybe Caine too.

    Anyway, JGL and Tom Hardy were practically flirting, and I demand they make this cannon. And Ellen page pre-Juno was actually very varied.

    Lovely, lovely movie…

  3. Inception certainly was a very good summer blockbuster. However, I thought it lacked an emotional heart to take it to the next level. Additionally, the supporting characters are mere window dressing and the amount of exposition really saps the movie of its energy at times. Good review Frank!

    1. Thanks Castor! Yeah, I didn’t feel as attached to the characters as I have for the characters in other Nolan films, maybe that’s the point of Inception because you don’t what’s real and what isn’t.

  4. I think Ellen Page is the one weak link here, the more I think about it. I mean, her character is the one who really understands Cobb’s predicament, so I wish Nolan had sprung for an actress with more range.

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