Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Movie Review: Inception (no spoilers)

I saw Inception on Monday night and if I had to describe the movie in two words, I'd say, "really good." It's definitely worth seeing. 

Is it #3 of the top 250 movies ever made, as it is currently ranked on the Internet Movie Database? Absolutely not (Rotten Tomatoes has a better consensus). I have no idea where the IMDB hype came from. But people should still check it out.

What I really liked

The coolest part about this movie was the premise - that you can steal people's secrets by entering their dreams and manipulating their minds. It sounds corny on paper, but it's well-executed in the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a "best-in-the-business" type character - he's the best at entering people's dreams. The plot of the movie follows Leo and his team as they face the biggest challenge of all - not only entering someone's dream, but planting a thought without being detected in the subject's mind ("inception"). 

There's tons of action and the concept of entering people's dreams within other dreams creates tons of uncertainty throughout the movie as you ask yourself where the characters really are (reality, dreams, or dreams within dreams). The movie is thrilling, puzzling, well-cast, and the concept of entering other people's dreams forces the audience to question what their own reality is. For this feeling alone, it's worth seeing. 

I sincerely appreciated that the producers did not bullshit the audience on how this dream-entering is possible. While they talk sciencey mumbo-jumbo about what is and is not possible within dreams, and discuss the consequences of messing with someone's subconscious, the movie does not force you to swallow a BS pseudo-scientific explanation of how entering someone's dreams is possible. The process is never mentioned and the audience just accepts that if you have a fancy-looking suitcase, it's possible. As such, the audience is spared the type of insanely impossible science that made the Core such an unbearable (yet, in its own special way, awesome) movie. 

What I didn't like

Despite the cool concept behind the movie, the first 20 minutes really drag. No spoilers, but it's the typical action-movie, "let's assemble a team" sequence. Okay, let's track down an old professor. Now let's grab the smart guy, the charmer, the token black brown guy (Indian, in this film!), and an impossibly talented cute young girl. Sprinkle lightly with action. Postpone real story until team is assembled. 

Remember in Armageddon where Bruce Willis had to track down Billy Bob Thorton, Steve Buscemi, Ben Affleck, and the other space rig-pigs? Yeah, it's that scene. Or remember in Ocean's 11, 12, and 13 where George Clooney has to track down his team? Yeah, it's that scene. Robyn accurately described this sequence as "quite boring" and that if you saw it on TV, you'd probably change the channel. 

That's really my main complaint. It's slow to start, and there are a few eye-rolling moments in the film (not too many), but again, I have to emphasize that the incredibly smart, puzzling main plot forgives these few grievances. 

Verdict

Go see it in theatres; I'd say it's worth it. Christopher Nolan (of Batman Begins, the Dark Night, Memento fame) knows how to put together a captivating, original and overall enjoyable film.