Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Inception (2010)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, et al
Rated PG-13, 148 minutes

I remember the fervor when "Inception" came out. People were doing a proverbial look over their shoulder to make sure this minute in time wasn't all a dream. Bloggers were debating the ending, whirring things into a convoluted storm that was hard to interpret without knowledge of the film. This sort of thing acts as anti-buzz to me. I hate hearing the funniest quotes from a movie whose trailer I haven't even seen. I admit that as a fault; therefore "Inception" didn't get the chance I should have given it.

"Inception" is a movie about extraction. This is a process by which our main characters go within people's dreams, and then journey to a dream within that. By doing so, they "mine" your subconscious for secrets. Cobb (DiCaprio) and his partner Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) infiltrate the mind of an energy tycoon, who wants to use the technique to plant an idea. Inception. He wants his competitor (Murphy) to break up the family business, thus making it easier to dominate the market himself.

As the movie rolls on, a number of concepts are introduced that I found fascinating. Characters carry a "totem" - a unique object they pull out to confirm the world they're in is real. Dreams require an "architect," someone who can conjure up a believable physical setting. This person has to stay in the real world, where what happens to them affects the dream and its physics. Also posing a problem are attacks by a subject's subconscious. When the mind senses an intruder, projections of thought descend upon them. There are a number of rules and things to consider - all worth the mental investment as a viewer.

I'm not one for debating the ending, or really anything about it. I think doing so would be aggravating, and probably take away from the film. With so much to work through, I'd rather just accept these ideas and turn my brain off to any implausibilities. Standing alone as a couple-hour form of entertainment, I enjoyed it immensely, and fantasized about a world where we can get inside people's dreams - as well as the terror of languishing in limbo.

Given that we're often in dreamland, the visuals had to be taken to some unreal places. These effects succeed. When Ellen Page's character starts to see the potential of literally creating the world, the look is almost creepy. Streets that turn at 90 degree angles into the sky - that sort of thing.


Leonardo DiCaprio continues a run of impressing me. Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds to an already stellar resume, and I'm sure to see lots of him in the future. I hope there's a director's cut. I felt the theatrical cut was missing key cutaways to a slowly falling van.

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