Film review by Matthew Worrall
How to describe this visually stunning kaleidoscope of a movie from Christopher Nolan?
The film premises a near future where technology has enabled the infiltration and manipulation of human consciousness through dreams and follows the fortunes of an industrial espionage cell breaking into the minds of businessmen for a price. This conceit allows the film the narrative drive of a thriller and also, in the building to the gripping finale, the excitement of a caper movie. In doing so it borrows ideas widely from Nightmare on Elm Street, Existenz, The Sting, First-person shooter computer game culture and The Matrix.
Indeed, Nolan has stated in interviews that he has had this script in development since the Wochalski Brother's epic came out over a decade ago. The two films stand in counterpoint as explorations of solipsism - the question of whether we can we really trust the world around us. The first, released in the height of an economic boom, invited the viewer to pinch themselves and wake up from a comfortable dream to a hellish reality. This film, released in the depths of economic depression, deals with the temptation of escaping the pressures of a reality we cannot control to design our own utopia. In trying to offer a popular culture exploration of the sub-consciousness it makes a good companion piece to Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are" released last year.
It is a by-product of the success of his Batman series that Nolan stock has enabled him to pull this movie through the Hollywood system - because this is a demanding film for the viewer. Providing the audience with the grounding needed to understand the high concept makes this a long sitting and, especially in the opening act, tries the patience of the viewer with confusing flow of scenes. But the efforts of the viewer is amply rewarded by the lush range of visual ideas they are presented with and a strong ensemble cast who back up probably Leonardo Di Caprio's best performance yet. A wonderfully subtle open ending allows the viewer just enough wiggle room to apply their own interpretation on what they have seen.
2nd Opinion by Dan Collacott
I just wanted to add a few words to Matt’s impeccable thoughts and observations above by saying Inception is one of few movies I have in my lifetime sat through and felt I was witnessing something very special. The last film to have made me felt this way was quite appropriately The Matrix, which I knew very little about; mainly because I watched it in America and the hype machine hadn’t reached Britain at that time.
The trailers and build up to Inception thankfully gave little away and despite the fact the film is a composite of many well established genres and ideas already examined in film, it still manages to draw something that feels fresh and unique out of them. The acting, pacing and visuals are superbly weighted and for once Nolan hasn’t applied the ‘If a film is to be considered good it needs to be over 3 hours long’ rule.
This is also the second decent acting turn I have seen from Di Caprio this year although I admit that Shutter Island was pretty disappointing although Di Caprio himself put in a credible performance. But as well as a well written script, the acting from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy really helped make this movie, with the latter taking the more traditional rugged, wise talking secret agent style of role so that Di Caprio is left to put in the more serious turn. I was unsure about the casting of Juno star Ellen Page but I think Nolan managed to keep her role within the film finely balanced and intelligent without moving through too many ‘love interest’ or ‘Di Caprio’s’ young prodigy style clichés.
Ok I think I have said enough, but to end if there is one movie you watch this year then make it this one!
Inception Everyman Screen on the Green showing times:
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