Inception presented a daunting task for director Christopher Nolan. After all how does one follow up the most financially successful, critically lauded and fanatically loved film of their career? The Dark Knight didn’t just put Nolan in an unforgiving corner, it thrust him there and a director of less fortitude would have taken the easy way out. However Nolan set about fighting his way out of that corner by crafting an entirely original world full of intrigue and mystery.
On the surface, Inception is a heist film but the film is so layered, both figuratively and practically, that labeling the film a sci-fi heist would be a disservice to it. The heist revolves around dreams and the various layers of the subconscious but all of that is just one layer of an intricately woven plot that will leave viewers questioning their viewing experience for quite some time. The film starts and closes on a mind bender but explaining Inception any further than that is something that can not and should not be done in a short review such as this. It is a film that begs to be discussed but not in this way, it needs to be experienced first.
But while the plot of Inception shouldn’t be discussed in this forum the artistry of the film should be. Inception is a film that stands above others in its artistic delivery. There is a clean yet worn look to the film that puts it on par with some of the best films ever created.. It has a soundtrack, composed by Hans Zimmer, that is both thundering in its accentuation of tension but subdued in its delivery throughout. However it is the acting that shines head and shoulders above everything else released this year.
Led by the indomitable Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception’s ensemble cast is filled with a mix of some of the best veteran and young acting talent ever assembled onto film. Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ellen Page, Dileep Rao, Tom Hardy and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard join Nolan veteran’s Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Academy Award winner Michael Caine and that is just the top billed of the cast. Just reading those names out loud makes my mind swim and then to see everyone of those actors and actresses come in at the top of their game and deliver is a sight to behold.
Inception is without a doubt the best film I’ve seen this year. It is a film that has action set pieces that rival those of the best summer blockbusters but it also has a brain and requires its viewers to use their own. It is smart, artistic and entertaining, something that can not be said about most Hollywood films in this day and age. But what it does best of all is get people who have seen it to talk, to theorize and to extrapolate meanings from what has been seen. Not everyone is going to love it and some won’t even like it but everyone who sees it will want to talk about it. I balk at calling it a masterpiece because that comes with time but it is a masterful film.
The definition of inception is an origin, an event that is a beginning, a first part or stage of subsequent events. Inception marks such an event in Christopher Nolan’s career. Inception is Nolan’s first truly masterful film. When I say his, I mean that exactly. Inception is Nolan’s, they are his characters, it is his world and it is the work of a master craftsman, who can and should now be held in the same regard as the other greats.
5 out of 5