Inception (2010)

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

— Dominic Cobb

Inception is one of my most anticipated films of the summer. I was worried that this movie was hyped up too much for me to enjoy fully enjoy it. It is currently the #3 Movie of All Time on IMDb. That scares me, because the same thing happened with The Dark Knight. I did not see the theatrical trailer, read any reviews or look at the promos for this movie. I wanted to go into this movie fresh with no bias whatsoever. All I thought about when I saw this movie was making it a drinking game, hearing the word “dream” uttered.

This mind-bending movie is about how complex the human mind can truly be when an extractor Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has the ability to go into people minds. He’s sorta like a mental bodyguard that provides security for his clients’ important secrets, but he ultimately steals from them.

He is outsmarted by a shady businessman, Saito (Ken Watanabe) who wants to use Dom and his associates to penetrate the mind of his rival’s son, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). In return for his participation, Saito will reunite Dom with the family that he abandoned when his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) kills herself to make it look like he did it.

Dom puts together his team together with his researcher that creates a dossier on their mark, Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt), his shifter to trick the subject to be any person in the dream, Eames (Tom Hardy) and the chemist who will inject the team with a special sedative that will allow them to sleep, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

They need an architect which is essentially a person that could create and keep up the façade of delving into a person’s mind. Dom goes to his former professor; Miles (Michael Caine) to enlist a person that could be as good as him sense his memories about Mal easily distract him. Miles suggests Ariadne (Ellen Page), who is quickly tested about discerning what reality is and what is not.

On an international flight after Fischer’s father, Maurice (Pete Postlethwaite) dies, the team drugs Fischer. When the team goes into Fischer’s mind, they didn’t realize that his mind would be heavily fortified with a projected army that could threaten their mission and their only way to wake up.

What can I say about this movie? I understand that Nolan wanted to make a cinematic version of M.C. Escher painting about how the mind play tricks on you. I thought I was tricked. At first, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. When Ellen Page’s character came in, she was like the audience who is trying to understand this world she knows nothing about. The endless exposition doesn’t help matters when random characters try to tell you about the human psyche. It’s like you are sitting in a long boring lecture in college.

My brain broke with this movie. I could not follow it worth a damn. I wanted to follow along, but I got lost somewhere in the first hour of this 2 ½ hour opus. I tried to focus on Dom’s guilt over his wife’s death. That went away. Next, I tried to focus on the action with seemed like it came out of The Matrix with a tinge of a Lionel Ritchie video thrown in there. Lastly, I tried to hold on to the ending which is ambiguous and up to your personal interpretation. If you know that the ending is coming, it’s not fun.

This film is not fun or cool. If it was something like Primer about a dialogue that went over my head, but was still cool, I would understand. I was yawning in this movie. I lowered my expectations with this movie because of the hype that The Prestige got and I hated that movie. I think this movie tried to be too ambitious. I got nothing out of it.

The whole idea of going into people’s minds sounds good on paper, but onscreen you’re like, “Who gives a fuck about the different levels of the mind.” The whole reasoning behind the inception mission was petty and selfish. I believe Christopher Nolan created this movie for himself to enjoy. It seems that he has to dumb it down for the audience with endless amounts of exposition. It seems arrogant and condescending. I’m insulted by the notion. I expected more.

Judgment: This movie is like a Rubik Cube that never gets solved. Don’t bother trying.

Rating: **

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on July 22, 2010, in 2010, Academy Award Winner, Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Running Feature, Sci Fi, Thriller, Top 250 of All Time on IMDB and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Prepare for the firestorm!

  2. Eff Inception… it’s good, you’re wrong 🙂 … I’m more confused about the Prestige. How can you not like that film?

    • I don’t think I’m wrong. I have a different interpretation of the movie than everything else. There’s a difference. Some people could forgive the flaws in it. I didn’t.

      I was not invested in the story or the characters. Nolan tried to establish the rules of dreams, but he didn’t stick to them in the end of the movie. Besides, the end of the movie was blah. With Nolan it’s not going to be a happy ending. No matter what it looks like.

    • Hey, The Prestige was very good – but in many ways it was a one-time-watcher, which isn’t exactly a popular format around the Cynical ranch.

      • I found myself yelling at the screen to Hugh Jackman’s character. If he wasn’t so wrapped up in his rival magician trick, he should have listened to Michael Caine’s character. He gave away one of the endings way in the beginning of movie. The other one was stupid.

  3. I followed with this movie by instinct much of the time, which I kind of liked. I’m not sure too much went over my head, but the things that I didn’t get I was too busy following the compelling action and fantastic performances to care. That none of Nolan’s tricks worked to bring you into the film is a bummer, for sure.

    I dug that the idea of how immoral what they were doing was set aside in this picture. We were dealing with a group of people who were either sociopaths, or just operating in a realm I’ll never know about.

    See, I really liked that despite going into the world of dreams, I didn’t see a lot of the same old tired standbys of dreams – like finding yourself naked in the front of the classroom, or jerking yourself awake in bed in a cold sweat, or any of that other stuff. Nolan took advantage of being in the dreamworld to create some great sets, but also made sure to ground it in reality as well.

    I very much like your Lionel Ritchie reference though…

    • It was a bummer because I liked or enjoyed Memento, Insomnia, The Dark Knight or Batman Begins. I was surprised that I didn’t care for this movie.

      Yeah, it was nice that it didn’t have the clichéd dream sequences, but it was uninteresting to me.

  4. No, I will would tripping so much. “This movie is blowing my mind, man. Are those guys floating? Awesome!” Hmm, on second thought…

  5. I’m not going to criticize your review. I totally understand where you are coming from on this one even though I completely enjoy the film and loved the multiple layers of dreams and character motivations of Cobb. However, this is a film, where if you aren’t on your A-game, let something pass you or you just don’t pick up on it because it’s so damn scattery, it’s confusing as hell and uninteresting. I think one of the problems is that the different dreams inside dreams weren’t distinctive enough to separate.

    • I think Nolan wanted you to be confused about what is real life and what is a dream. I know it was intentional, but I didn’t care about following the story, because I was not interested in the world.

      • “It seems arrogant and condescending”

        If you aren’t interested, Nolan doesn’t care about pleasing you. That’s why everyone who is along for the ride loves it; he’s not waiting for stragglers.

      • I just wished that the movie was handled in a different that the reason behind the inception was interesting or that the rules of inception would be follows. Looking back on it. The movie does not make sense logically.

  6. I thought everything was relatively straight-forward. If you are considering a second viewing I would highly recommend it, things might click.

  1. Pingback: Inception :: The Film Cynics

  2. Pingback: “Inception”: Going into people’s dreams, the cool and complicated way… « Radu presents: The Movie-Photo Blog

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