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Film Review: Inception

Posted on the 22 April 2013 by Donnambr @_mrs_b

About Inception (2010)InceptionBlockbuster sci-fi thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a professional thief with a difference: the spoils he goes after are not material objects but the thoughts, dreams and secrets buried in the minds of other people. This rare talent has cost him dear, rendering him a solitary fugitive stripped of everything he ever really cared about. When he is offered a chance for redemption by reversing the process and planting an idea rather than stealing it, he and his team of specialists find themselves pitted against a dangerous enemy that appears to pre-empt their every move. The film won four Academy Awards for its special effects, sound and cinematography.


Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Runtime: 148 minutes

Studio: Warner Home Video


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Review: Inception 

Hype is an interesting thing, isn’t it? Some films build up a huge reputation before many of us have even had chance to see them. Christopher Nolan, arguably the best director around at the moment, released Inception in 2010 and the feedback was tremendous. Glowing appraisals worldwide and a decent cast make the film certainly appealing to me but would the hype be justified?

The film focuses on Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his business partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who are experts in espionage and can steal personal information not in reality but through bringing their targets into shared dreams! The process involves two-levels with Dom and Arthur implementing a dream within a dream for their targets which allows them to steal what they need. When they’re approached by Mr Saito (Ken Watanabe) to use their methods to break up the empire of his business rival – the dying Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite) and his son and heir Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) – by planting an idea into the victim’s mind. Though Arthur doesn’t believe this is possible, Dom takes on the job with Mr Saito promising him he ensure his safe passage back to America to his children and help clear him of charges of murdering his wife Mal (Marion Cottilard). Dom and Arthur can’t do this job alone and a team is assembled to take on a challenge with huge rewards but equally large risks.

Dom and Arthur are at work on a job when the film opens and their target is Mr Saito himself. Their cunning methods bring the admiration of Saito who sees their potential in destroying the empire of the Fischer family. Maurice Fischer is dying and his son, Robert, has a somewhat fragile relationship with his father. He has strived to be the man his father is but always falls short and believes himself to be a failure and disappointment. Saito’s plan is to influence the relationship between father and son and ensure that the empire is broken up when Robert comes to take power. Robert is the target for Dom and Arthur but planting an idea into his mind is far from straightforward and how they try to do it becomes very complex. A trio of skilled people are added to the team – Eames (Tom Hardy) who specialises in identity forgery; Yusuf (Dileep Rao) is a chemist brought in to create a sedative capable of inception (a complex three-levelled dream state, transcending the two Dom and Arthur use); and Ariadne (Ellen Page) who is an architecture student who is brought in to design the dream landscapes and make them complex enough to deceive Robert Fischer. The biggest obstacle to the task ahead is Dom himself. His past involving the death his wife Mal, haunts him continuously and this darkness within that he cannot face up to becomes manifest whenever Dom enters a shared dream. His mind brings Mal to life and rather than a sweet and loving wife, she does everything in her power to sabotage Dom’s missions. Not the sort of interloper you want!


When the mission gets underway it is nothing short of remarkable and exciting. Dream states are complex and dangerous. One member of Dom’s gang is chosen to have a dream which the others all enter. When Robert is first sedated he is on a plane with Dom’s gang in close attendance and they all enter a shared dream of Yusuf who pictures a rainy city. While Yusuf drives his friends around in his dream, Dom and the gang sedate themselves and enter a second level dream – Arthur’s dream which is set in hotel. Arthur remains in the hotel as his friends sedate themselves and enter the third level dream of Eames’ which is a fortress in the mountains covered by snow and is the result of Eames’ dream. Things become tense at the first level when Mr Saito, who has joined the group to oversee the mission, is shot and the group need to act quickly to prevent him dying and entering limbo – a terrifying subconscious state where it’s difficult to keep a grasp on reality. Throughout the many levels of dreams, Dom and his gang have Robert with them and plant the idea of his godfather Peter Browning (Tom Berenger) as the subconscious mind that they are really aiming to explore when all the time Robert is the target. Confused? Inception is hard work on the brain but the outcome is amazing. In order to complete the mission, Dom and his gang have to lead Robert through the heavily guarded fortress to a vault where answers about his godfather, Peter, and father, Maurice, await. Even then the extraction process is complicated. Each member of the gang who are having the dreams – Yusuf, Arthur and Eames must instigate a jolt or kick to wake up their friends. Eames has to wake up the gang in the third level dream to coincide with Arthur waking the gang in the second level dream just as Yusuf wakes everyone in the first level dream to instigate their return to reality and waking completely from the dream state. Watching this at the end is one of the most exciting moments you’ll come across in films in recent years.


What else can one say about Inception? The cast are fantastic. DiCaprio is great in the lead and is ably supported by a fabulous gang in Gordon-Levitt, Watanabe, Hardy, Rao and Page. The late Pete Postlethwaite makes a welcome appearance and Cillian Murphy is good as his son who becomes the primary target of dream espionage by Dom’s gang. Nolan directs this masterpiece with flair, weaving excellent acting together with stunning effects and a brilliantly original storyline. This is edge of your seat territory throughout, at times exciting, at times poignant, especially revelations about Dom’s past and there’s even some ambiguity to the ending to keep you talking long after the credits have rolled.

Inception is a stunning thriller from start to finish and may be the best thing Nolan has ever made. I love The Prestige (2006) but this is just as good, if not better. I try not get caught up in the hype with a film but when it comes to Inception all that praise is more than worth it. Miss this one at your peril.

Verdict: 5/5

(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)

Film Review: Inception | Thank you for reading Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave 

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