Review: “Inception” is brilliant, the most complex action movie ever

August 3rd, 2010 at 10:01 am by under Entertainment

 ”Inception” is brilliant, amazing, suspenseful, original, perfect at every step… visionary director Christopher Nolan has hit another one out of the ballpark!!!

Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” and “Memento” were 2 of my favorite movies of the 2000′s
 now “Inception” has easily become one of my favorites to make my 2010 decade list.

A warning if you’re planning to see it… the movie is nearly 2 1/2 hours (although it doesn’t feel like it)… and be ready to use your brain a little more than normal, keeping track of what’s going on is not an easy task, and you’ll need to PAY EVEN MORE ATTENTION as the story progresses through the “heist”.


(My spoiler-free review)

“Inception” gets a lot of points from me for being original… but it draws on some themes that movie-goers are familiar with.   I understand why the marketing folks had such a hard time promoting this film.  This is a tough movie to explain just by its genre or premise alone – the best I’ve come up with is a mix between a James Bond/heist crew movie (think “Ocean’s Eleven” or “The Italian Job”) and make it high-tech futuristic but a little action noir (like the “Matrix”) and then shove all of that “through the looking glass” … as “Inception” takes characters and the audience down the rabbit hole.

There we are (the audience) at each step, like Alice, not sure where this fantastic adventure is going to go next… its not predictable, its not a cookie cutter action or heist… and you may be surprised, but there’s a husband-wife-family relationship woven into the whole storyline to give it even more depth.

“Inception” creates its own world and lingo but is still made to feel like the modern world.  New terms are created through the movie (like extraction, inception, subconcious security, dream within an dream, collapsing dreams, a thief, an architect, a totem, a forger, a chemist, and the “kick”).   Its a modern world where a lot of people know about dream invasion its like a futuristic espionage.

The movie is intriguing, action packed, intense, but its also mysterious and emotional.   In addition to themes of family and loyalties … the biggest is reality… for both the audience and the characters trying to figure out what is real and what is just a dream is a full time exercise.

The crew for this heist is stocked with experts … they are effective, but not without their problems… addding an air of uncertainty if they’ll be able to pull this off.  Its a great cast from Leonardo DiCaprio’s lead to the limited but effective roles of Pete Postlethwaite and Michael Caine – everyone is given just the right amount of screentime and dialogue.

Nolan likes troubled heroes and DiCaprio does it so well here… but Nolan also likes to give his characters depth and its one of the biggest things I look for in a movie beyond the standard entertainment value, storyline and acting… I want character development… and even in the limited screentime or dialogue we get character development for everyone in “Inception”.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as a well-groomed, yet slightly mysterious sidekick, Ellen Page is the bright but confused new recruit, Tom Hardy is solid as the slick undercover man, Ken Watanabe is solid as the dual edged friend or foe, Dileep Rao is well cast as the smart but not field experienced man of science, Cillian Murphy is great as the uptight rich kid with father-son issues, Tom Berenger is good playing (well I can’t spoil that), Marion Cotillard is stunning in her portrayal of DiCaprio’s long lost love with her own issues (if you’ve seen the movie you know what I mean), Pete Postlethwaite gets a few scenes as Murphy’s ill father which he plays spot on, and Michael Caine’s mentor figure is smooth and so effortless to DiCaprio’s character… and their chemistry makes it seem like they’ve been together for years.

The writing is also great – the story moves and engages the audience, its certainly doesn’t feel like 2 1/2 hours.   Nolan’s script gives us many memorable lines, but the one that stuck with me most is DiCaprio’s character Mr. Cobb explaining that the most contagious parasite
is “An idea. From the tiniest seed, it spreads like a virus.”

The score by Hans Zimmer also adds depth and invokes emotion – its epic, thrilling, mysterious and haunting… everything you’d expect from the 1995 Oscar Winner for Best Score (“Lion King”) and the composer behind “The Dark Knight” (2008), “Gladiator” (2000), and “The Ring” (2002).


The cinematography, editing, costumes, sets, lighting and everything else in this movie is top notch… look for a bunch of Oscar nominations for this production crew.

“Inception” is brilliant, amazing, intriguing … the most complex action movie ever… I give it 9.5 out of 10… its  a great escape from reality!!!



(2010) (rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout)
(2 hr, 28 min)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine, Lukas Haas

Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan  ["The Dark Knight" (2008), "The Prestige" (2006), "Batman Begins" (2005), "Insomnia" (2002), "Memento" (2000)]

Genre: Action/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller

The Plot: In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job till date, Inception.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

“Inception” poster courtesy Warner Bros.

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4 Responses to “Review: “Inception” is brilliant, the most complex action movie ever”

  1. Michelle Ortlieb says:

    Agree times 100! This is a really well-written review — Jon and I read it this morning and loved it.

    I loved Ellen Page’s character — everytime I had a question, she seemed to ask it, or bring up a really good point I had been wondering about.

  2. Cheryl Howlett says:

    Agreed! The movie was fantastic. It was the equivalant to “A Beautiful Mind”. Intriguing, thoughtful, and full of twists. DiCaprio once again does not disappoint!

  3. Abhishek Joshi says:

    Exceptionally well written and directed movie! Christopher Nolan and Leo DiCaprio both leave a mark with the most awe-inspiring movie in the recent years. I’d say that if any film matches, in the complexity of plot, ‘A beautiful mind’ and ‘The Matrix Triology’, it would most certainly be ‘Inception’! Thanks for that well-illustrated review too! It serves all purposes… And yes, we do know what ‘HER’ ‘PROBLEMS’ are!

  4. “Inception” comes out on DVD/Blu Ray this coming Tuesday 12/7/10!!!
    :) – Aaron

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