So, does Inception live up to the hype?
Party, it does. It is an entertaining movie with some deeper meanings.
Inception is about a group of mind-hackers that use a device that creates dream worlds that trick you into believing that you’re in a real world. They break in and steal the target’s secrets for a price. A powerful businessman hires them to imprint an idea into the owner of a rival company. That’s when all hell breaks loose.
Inception can be frustrating, misleading, and breathtaking at the same time. There are scenes and screenplay tricks that make this movie stand out as a psychological thriller as well as a sci-fi action romp. Part of Inception’s strength is deeply rooted in the way Nolan believes the mind works and the way people stroll around in other people’s dreams. You can tell that Nolan believes in many of the concepts in the movie.
Visually, Inception works on all levels. The way Nolan and Wally Pfister shoot the movie does break some conventional notions that a movie should be shot. One of the best scenes has Joseph Gordon-Levitt bouncing off of walls as he fights bad guys. I don’t know how they did it and I don’t care. I just know that is a badass scene. It is scenes like these that are well crafted and elevate Nolan above many of the “Shaky Cam” directors.
While I am not the biggest fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, I am forced to say he does a good job as the extremely flawed and damaged hero of the piece. Nolan’s script covers all its bases when it comes to the character. I also like that DiCaprio takes Ellen Page under his wing and shows her and us how creating dream worlds works, which are some of the best scenes in the movie.
Ellen Page plays the “new” character introduced to the Inception Team. Through her eyes, we get to see exactly how people’s dreams work. Page also has a larger role for the third act. Page is still channeling Juno a bit from time to time, but she isn’t annoying in this role.
Hans Zimmer score is unique in sound and style. Zimmer doesn’t fall back to his earlier action cues that made him famous in the 1990s. I’ve been far more impressed with the way Zimmer has reshaped his style to fit whatever director he’s working for. I really have fun listening to his brooding tone for this movie. Zimmer has truly grown as a composer and this score proves it.
The reason I find the movie frustrating is because it doesn’t go that far with some of the dreaming concepts. The first half does drag a bit and probably needed a few minor edits. However, Nolan really needed to explain the rules of the Inception dreams. For the most part, he handles the exposition fairly well considering how much there is.
The other frustrating issues I have with the movie is the way the movie tries to trick into believing what is real and what is a dream.
With good performances, sharp action and directing, Nolan proves once again that he does have something visually interesting and meaningful to say with his movies. I’ve grown to really enjoy his movies because they’re usually more to them than what is on the surface. Inception isn’t the best movie of the year, but is a nicely crafted sci-fi film.