Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! Sorry that this is up late, I’ve had mock exams all week, but here is the review for this week.
Imagine going into someone’s dream to plant an idea or to steal secrets from their subconscious. That would be incredible! Now imagine that as a movie. Throw in a few cool settings, some big stars, one of the best directors and composers and a big twist and bam! You have Inception, the third highest grossing film from Christopher Nolan.
With Nolan as director, music from Hans Zimmer and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Inception looks at a brain heist team, who are trying to plant an idea into someone’s head via their dreams. It received a lot of press coverage at the time of its release and made $828 million at the Box Office, making it the fourth highest grossing film of 2010.
You can’t just watch Inception once and understand it and be able to give a review of it. It requires a bit more thought and depth to really respect the film. Nolan directs this movie with a clear image and goal of how it should turn out. One of the best things Nolan did in Inception was assembling the team. Nolan uses the classical set up for the heist and all the for the movie, but makes recruiting the team more serious, keeping in line with the tone of the movie but also keeping the audience hooked. Leonardo DiCaprio played Dom Cobb, the team’s leader and ‘Head Inceptioner’. DiCaprio played Cobb wonderfully, he had a great character arc, his drive was clear, and he played a man with a dark past trying to hide it well. His character was aware of his intelligence and lead the team strongly, and DiCaprio pulled it off. His passion for his children and his career is clearly tearing him apart, but he keeps it under control well and puts on a brave face. DiCaprio’s acting ability for this was spot on, and he was a likeable yet mysterious character. The way Cobb hid his feelings but have then bubble them up again was interesting to watch. Leo gave Cobb a cocky yet confident edge which made the audience both love the character but also stays quite wary of what his next move could be. The new recruit of Ariadne was played by Ellen Page. I think Ariadne as a character was quite interesting because she wanted to learn but she’s also confident. She is very inquisitive and enjoyable. She had a passion for is going on and was quite intrigued with inception itself. Ellen Page was well suited to Ariadne, because she had the kind of innocence and naivete that you would expect to see in a child that made it feel as if she was learning about inception at the same time that we are, and we are beginning to experience and view it as a first hand as she does as well, particularly in the coffee shop scene. I don’t really have much to say on Mal, Saito or Fischer, but here are my thoughts on them. Marion Cotillard as Mal was fantastic, she was perfect for the role of a half innocent half psychotic lover who had been hurt and also trapped in the past. I liked Ken Watanabe as Saito. He was an enjoyable character, but really only served as the guy the Inceptioners were working for and that’s it. He was great in that aspect, by all means, but that was really it. Cillian Murphy was great as Robert Fischer. He was fun to watch and executed the role neatly. I personally have two favourite characters, Arthur and Eames. Joseph Gordon-Levitt played Arthur, a skilled point man for the team. He was cool, awesome, and entertaining. Arthur also had some of the best action scenes in the film, which made him such an enjoyable character. Gordon-Levitt was perfect for the role and evidently had great fun playing him. Eames was played by Tom Hardy. Eames brought a little humour but also a British charm to the film. He was a fun character that acted as the brains and the voice of reason in a few instances. He too had some great scenes, but I’ll get onto that later. I also liked the relationship between Eames and Arthur. It was a perfect blend of bromance and dislike that was fun to watch.
The wickedly talented Hans Zimmer scored Inception, and it was amazing! Zimmer usually scores for Nolan’s films, and the music is always enjoyable. As a matter of fact, I have no criticisms whatsoever on the music front, I loved it all! I listen to the soundtrack as I type this review and can picture every scene as it happens. ‘Mombasa’ made the chase more thrilling and engaging, and the music used in the 3rd layer (Eames’ dream, snowy shootout) and the 4th layer (Cobb’s dream, the dreamland) was fantastic too. But the best musical moments for me were the two final songs on the soundtrack. ‘Paradox’ was incredible for joining the 4 layers up together, and ‘Time’ was just the perfect score for the end of the film. Zimmer did a faultless job with the score. That’s actually one thing the Nolan’s are impeccable at. Christopher Nolan’s films are always accompanied by great music, and Westworld fans will know that the music in the show (directed by Jonathan Nolan) is awesome too.
The story was great. The opening was brilliant, I loved how it left me quite confused and curious, instantly setting the tone of the movie. I found that the film was a little expositional in some places, for example, Cobb telling us how he’s the best at what he does. We are given quite a lot of proof of this later (especially with Mr Charles) so it would’ve been better if we learnt this for ourselves rather that we being spoonfed it. The first layer of the dream was quite interesting, I liked the defences of Fischer’s mind attacking the crew as it was unexpected to both us and the crew and was fun to watch. The second layer of the dream was awesome. Mr Charles was fun, and I liked how actions and events in the first layer had repercussions on the second layer. Smart move from Nolan there. For me, the third layer was not the most interesting, it highlighted more of Cobbs insecurities which screwed it up. However, the third layer snow shootout was fun to watch, and the music was perfectly suited. The fourth layer was amazing. It had great accompanying music and explained more about inception to us. We realise how twisted Cobb has been. I did find myself having to rewatch scenes because it was quite trippy and confusing, but all made sense in the end. Speaking of the end, Inceptions ending was INCREDIBLE! I loved the music, Hans Zimmer is a musical genius. And we are left on a cliff-hanging with the totem, is Cobb back in reality, or is he in a dream and what we just watched was a layer of inception? So beautiful and perfect end to a magnificent movie.
There are quite a few scenes and snippets from Inception that I loved, and it’s worth mentioning them, as some of them are some of my favourite scenes in cinema history. Some of the scenes may also be mentioned just because they were so visually stunning or smart or enjoyable. First off, the entire scene of the dummy information heist in Saito’s head was fantastic. It was full of twists and had the audience raising questions. I liked the twist of us thinking Cobb failed the heist but then through the dramatic orchestra it is revealed that he succeeded as this highlights how he really is the best. The kick was amazing, from the slo-mo to show the time change, that’s revealed to us later to showing how dreams and real life are related! This was one of my favourite scenes. I also think Ariadne had some superb scenes. One of my favourite scenes was the coffee shop scene with Ariadne and Cobb was spectacular! I loved it because it’s kind of how movies work. We start with a beginning sure, but we kind of just scene jump from one to another. By Ariadne realising it’s a dream, we too learn what’s happening and the connection to Arthur and the workshop. This is followed by the explosions of the newspapers and fruits and the coffee shop. An all round interesting and entertaining scene, both visually and for the story too. It’s also worth mentioning the scene where Ariadne flips Paris over, as is quite visually stunning to watch because it shows how inception of capable anything. Cobbs reaction to it in the background was amazing because it shows that he himself is still learning and that Ariadne will play a key role in the rest of the film. The ‘we mustn’t be afraid to dream a bigger darling’ scene from Eames was undeniably badass, I know it’s something small but Tom Hardy absolutely killed it in this role. For what I’ll call the tilted hotel fight between Arthur and Fischer’s subconscious, it was one of my favourite scenes. It was directed and executed perfectly, one of the reasons why I loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the film. The stairway fight with Arthur was incredible. I loved how it linked to something we learnt earlier but made it quite unexpected and it was great fun to watch. Finally, the ending with the use of slo-mo was magnificent. It was perfectly timed and helped create tension, along with Zimmer’s hauntingly beautiful score for the 4 layers that combined into one neat, clean and yet dramatic scene.
I think the way Nolan tackled the entire concept of dreaming in this film was done handsomely. I like how we find out more about inception itself as a process as we go along. We learn that it’s a dream in a dream, and later on, that’s it’s not legal and so on. It educates us in stages, not all in one go. The way it looks at dreaming is really quite accurate. Because I’ve had instances where I wake up from a dream and believe that it’s real, as I’m certain everyone has done. It’s really showing the power and true ability of our minds that we can’t really access while awake. Our dreams work so that if we’re doing well in life, we fly, and we may be falling or drowning in a dream when we’re doing badly in life. The entire idea of being able to “hack” into the subconscious and create dreams and worlds in others minds is a fascinating idea that Nolan has tackled quite well. One of the best things about Inception is how every character had unique names I know it is something quite basic but having a name like James or John or something like that is a bit boring and unoriginal, Inception has rather unique names which makes it a little more interesting. One thing I didn’t like was how the film kept cutting from scene to scene. It was a little annoying for as soon as I’d get into a scene change it would change again!
Overall, Inception gets an 8.7/10 from me. It was absolutely fantastic, and one of my favourite Nolan films. From all the awesome scenes and amazing characters, Inception had complexity and is one of the confusing yet most visually stunning films of this decade. Nolan solidifies himself as one of the best directors with this film and keeps wowing audiences everywhere ever since, with films like Interstellar and Dunkirk.
Thanks for reading this review, sorry it’s a little late. I’ve had mock exams at school all week, but will return with another review next week. I’m also thinking of switching review release days from Tuesdays to either Wednesdays or Thursdays. As always, like this review, and comment your thoughts on the film. Follow my WordPress to stay up to date with the latest reviews, and also follow @Ryans.movie.reviews on Instagram and @RyansMovieRevi1 on Twitter for the latest movie news and reviews.
Next week’s review will be an animated movie, one that everyone has either seen or heard of. And yes, it will be a kids film. I can’t just review one genre of film, I must keep it varied. See you next week at some point for it then!
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