Inception ★★★★★

There comes a time in every film fan's life, that a film comes out that simply grabs you by the balls (or boobs) and simply doesn't let go. It's one of those rare films that presents nearly everything you could possibly want in a film.

Action ... Suspense ... Drama ... Mystery ... Sci-Fi/Fantasy ... Romance ... Tragedy ... Thought-inducing themes ... and an ending that kick starts deep debate and soul-searching.

Each and every single one of those elements can be found here ... Christopher Nolan's ultimate masterpiece called "INCEPTION".

Making a huge film with big ambitions, Nolan so far, has never misstepped in any way, shape, or form ... and always manages to create a film, that at times, feels like a miracle. "INCEPTION" is that miracle. Nolan creates a complete sense of immersion in another world, and the screen before you is just another layer of the dream. It's a movie where Christopher Nolan manages to bring together all of his obsessions and quirks, where his personal issues are the life and death issues at the center of his story.

Every single film that Christopher Nolan has done (before this film) so far, has led to "INCEPTION". When it comes to making psychological thrillers, emotional crime-dramas, or mind-twisting films ... no one ... AND I MEAN NO ONE ... in this day of age in film has done it better than Christopher Nolan. Mixing his psychological thrillers of "MEMENTO", "INSOMNIA", and "THE PRESTIGE" ... and mixing in a little bit of the Batman franchise with his dark-atmospheric, record-breaking, epic of "THE DARK KNIGHT", Nolan mixes elements from each one of those films, while applying something original to create a film that is as visually and emotional stimulating, as I have ever seen in a long time. The end result is a two and a half hour piece of visual, emotional, action-packed, candy for both the eyes and mind, that you are going to want to see again and again ... and that in time, will be called an "instant classic".

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a dream thief who has become a master at the art of "extraction" ... being able to steal ideas from people by entering their dreams when they are asleep or sedated in the sub-conscious state. A new mysterious business client named Saito (Ken Watanabe) now wants to recruit him, and have him do the impossible ... a process called "Inception" - instead of stealing an idea, he must plant one ... this time in the mind of a man named Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy) ... the son of a dying CEO. It's an idea that will ultimately favor Saito's organization. So Cobb assembles his strongest team, including the research "point man" Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), "forger" Earnes (Tom Hardy), and a new member named Ariadne (Ellen Page) to help him pull off this near impossible heist ... however at the same time, Cobb has some past demons that he must confront as well within his own sub-conscious, in the form of his beautiful wife Mal (Marion Cotillard).

There is a moment about midway through "INCEPTION" where Tom Hardy, as the charming "imposter" Earnes, sidles up to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is firing an automatic rifle at an unseen shooter. Earnes casually brandishes a grenade launcher and offers a cheeky bit of advice to his fellow partner:

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bit darling."

It's perhaps that same bit of advice director Christopher Nolan applied while crafting his follow-up to the widely successful "THE DARK KNIGHT". While "THE DARK KNIGHT" was easily the #1 film of 2008 and a pop-culture phenomenon ... with "INCEPTION", Nolan has truly created his magnum opus of 2010 ... it's an achievement of such grandeur, it's remarkable a film of this scale was made in this day and age.

If you know me well enough on here, you should know that Mr. Nolan is my #1 favorite director. There is just something he brings to the table with each of his films that just grasps my attention right from the get-go ... and "INCEPTION" is no different.

Simply put, "INCEPTION" grabbed me by the balls and did not let go. From the first five minutes of this film to the closing shot, I was completely enthralled and immersed in this world that Nolan created. This film proves that Christopher Nolan has an imagination like no other. I remember walking out of the theater when this film was over, and feeling like this film just had sex with my brain! Since then, I've bought both the DVD and Blu-Ray versions of this film (this film is DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS on Blu-Ray), and watched it (no lie) about 50 times, and each time I do, it gets better and better. It is really going to be hard to express just how good and exceptional this film is ... but I'm going to try, and I will definitely say this to start off ... "INCEPTION" is the perfect antidote to every brainless, mindless, boring, piece of shit that we have seen come out of Hollywood in the last couple of years. I'm going to keep this review as spoiler free as I can, because this is definitely a film that I think you should experience as free of "fore-knowledge" as possible. If you have seen it, feel free to post your thoughts.

Christopher Nolan has been making the same basic film since the beginning of his career ... (think about it for a minute) ... and one of the things that makes his filmography so compelling and impressive, is the way he circles the central idea in his work. "INCEPTION", like his earlier work, deals with a broken man, determined to fix his mistakes but only making things worse in the process. That could easily describe "MEMENTO", "THE PRESTIGE", or "THE DARK KNIGHT" ... or even his one remake "INSOMNIA". Yet even with him returning to this idea, worrying at it all the time, and exploring different ways it can play out ... he doesn't feel like he's stuck. In fact, I'd argue that the "COMPLETE OPPOSITE" is true ... by him refining this idea over time, and over different films in different ways, Nolan is becoming merciless in his ability to engage both intellectually and emotionally with his viewing audience. As a result, "INCEPTION" just flattened me ... it devastated me like no film as ever done before.

Every film he has made up until this film is ever so present here in "INCEPTION" ... the fractal and recursive nature of "FOLLOWING" and "MEMENTO" informs the structure of reality ... the exploration of narrative and storytelling of "THE PRESTIGE" leads in this film ... and the obsession with control, a through line that leads in "INSOMNIA" and "BATMAN BEGINS" ... and then finally blooms into "THE DARK KNIGHT" that takes it to the drama and heart of "INCEPTION".

The first half of this film is the set up ... the explication of the world (which is done with panache and thrills), the building of the team, and the outline of the heist ... and thats the first thing everyone has to realize about this film. When you boil down to it, this film is primarily a heist film first. In between this first half, we are treated to some absolute, phenomenal, visually-stunning, eye-popping effects that are just TOO GOOD to be mentioned here. Everyone has seen the "Paris fold-over" in the trailers, and let me tell you, that is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can expect from this film. I'm certainly not going to spoil anything about the effects in this film, but I will say this ... it was perfectly justified by the Academy to give this film four Oscars all in the technical categories. This is a beautifully crafted film, that pretty much set a new level in visual effects (in my eyes) ... and thank god this film wasn't shot in 3D. Word to all directors ... if you want to present eye-popping, dazzling, practical special effects and do it with beautifully, executed, practical camera shots, watch this film, and learn (James Cameron's "AVATAR" can suck it!).

The second half is the heist itself, as we see the narrative take on "four different levels" as we see our gang of thieves dream, then dream within a dream, and so on and so forth. Each level is just as important as the next one, and you can't forget about it at all. Anything that happens in one dream, can affect the "dream within that dream" ... so on and so forth. The way Nolan presented it, is far too impressive to be explained in words ... it is something you truly have to see to believe. The way he presents, not one, not two, not three, but four seperate narrative structures all at once would make any great story-teller weep with envy. Again, Nolan doesn't make weak-minded films ... his films are incredibly layered and dense, and 100% attention must be given to each of his films ... if you don't, you'll get lost amongst the shuffle.

Acting across the board is superb, with Leonardo DiCaprio as our protagonist "Cobb" taking center stage. His portion of the plot in this film with Marion Collitard is extremely important to the overall grand scheme of things. Right from the start, Nolan wants to tell you a particular story in a very particular way, and there is little about it that is familiar in terms of Hollywood structure and storytelling. Right from the start, DiCaprio as Cobb is a haunted man, but Nolan makes you work your way gradually towards understanding what it is that damaged Cobb so deeply.

Here is a hint ... this film would be a fascinating "DiCaprio Double-Feature" with "SHUTTER ISLAND".

By making the pain deep inside Cobb another element of this heist movie, Nolan is free to deal with it "analytically" with a cold eye for what it means to Cobb as a contained man. Like in "THE DARK KNIGHT", the greatest danger isn't "external" ... it's completely "internal" ... specifically, the loss of control. In "THE DARK KNIGHT" that loss of control was represented by the figure of Aaron Eckhart as "Harvey 'Two-Face' Dent" as he turns into the tragic hero right before our eyes. Here in "INCEPTION", that loss of control - the scariest thing Nolan can imagine, it seems - is represented in the haunting beauty of Marion Colittard, who knocks her performance out of the ballpark.

The rest of the supporting cast are just as superb. Nolan casts three of his "Batman characters" who each put on great performances, and bring some level of importance to the movie. Michael Caine as "Miles" does great in the limited time we see him. Cillian Murphy as "Robert Fischer, Jr." does great as he is the main target for the team. But Ken Watanabe as "Saito" in particular, has a much more three dimensional role that you'd expect judging from the trailers, and he makes an incredibly smooth and mysterious employer for DiCaprio's team. I don't want to go too much into detail with these characters, as the less I reveal about the plot, the better, but all three are terrific.

Tom Hardy as "Earnes" damn near steals every scene he is in, as he shows he is a very crafty member of the team ... but the supporting actor that really takes the cake for me in this film is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "Arthur" ... Dom's "right hand man". Him and Leo are GREAT on screen together, with their high energies that are nicely complimentary. Joseph, I think was the one actor in this film that really appeared to have the most fun with his character ... even more fun, was watching him in probably the most talked about action sequence of the film ... "the spinning hallway scene" ... that is indeed very "MATRIX" like. That scene made the hair on my neck stand up. Again, you have to see it, to believe it. It looked PHENOMENAL!!!

Hans Zimmer's score in this film is an absolute beauty to listen to, and it will indeed knock your fucking socks off. It's exciting, flashy, with just the right touch of "haunting" to it. Hans Zimmer has always put together memorable musical scores throughout his career, and here with "INCEPTION", is even more proof on how great of a composer he is ... another film added to his already impressive resume.

Finally is the ending ... particularly, THE FINAL SHOT. It is a jaw-dropper of an ending, and what makes this ending work so well, is that the entire movie does not rely upon it. Take it away ... and you still have a well-acted, high-flying, exciting, mind-bending, emotionally stimulating film. A smart, aware viewer will find most of the film's answers given to them. Now, I believe Nolan is not trying to hide anything, or pull any twists ... but he is more interested in paying off emotional beats, than pulling out the rug from under someone. However ... I think he "pulled the rug here" a little bit. It is a fitting and intelligent ending that attacks the theme of "perception vs. reality" better than any other film I have ever seen in my lifetime, that attacks that same theme.

This type of ending will ...

1) Provoke discussion, debate, and thought. It's an ending that will really make you argue with others about it ... which leads to the second thing ...

2) It's an ending that you can look at one of two ways. Basically, you can look at the ending as a "twist", or not. It is an ending that will really strike a chord, and resonate deeply inside one's self.

Nolan knows that with films like these, we all are going to be looking for clues and hidden meanings, and he is happy to deliver them. This again, is a psychoanalysis film, and Nolan wants us to interpret it just as if a therapist might interpret our dreams. The ending isn't intended to shock or stun (even though it did in a way), but pull together the pieces, while sending the audience out discussing the larger meanings and contexts of what they have just seen ... and it's a film that will reward mightily on future viewings.


Big ups to Mr. Nolan for coming up with an ending like that, because ... THAT ... is how you put the final touches on a film like this ... and I LOVED IT!

I absolutely love and adore "INCEPTION". I was completely immersed in the world that Nolan created. I loved visiting the locales and spending time with the characters. I loved every moment of the waking dream, and every frame of reality Nolan presented. Cinema is dreaming, and Nolan understands this implicitly and completely. One final note I have of this film (even though I already mentioned it above), is thank god Nolan didn't shoot this in 3D, as the process would of only distanced the audience away from this film. With this film, Nolan has created a massive, immersive, and completely visually stimulating experience ... one that no one who sees this film should ever forget.

"INCEPTION" is an intelligent, original, thought-provoking film deserving of as many viewings as you can give it. As for Christopher Nolan, this is just another addition to his already impressive resume ... a resume that shows he has yet to make a bad film, and it looks like he is going to continue that way. Just like his record-breaking "THE DARK KNIGHT" which is quite frankly the cornerstone benchmark for all comic-book films, "INCEPTION" I believe will have the same fate, as to be regarded as an all-time classic. "INCEPTION" is truly a "one-of-a-kind" film ... "lightning in a bottle"... a flawless, masterpiece executed to perfection that has everything you could possibly want in a film.

"INCEPTION" is a film that presents the reasons why I love films, and go to the movies ... it's films like these, that is the reason why I am such a film nerd. This film will undoubtedly stand the test of time for a lot of years, and even more years after that ... and will deservingly take its rightful place in the future as an all-time classic!

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