Inception is like a full meal for your mind. It fills up all the empty space in your head and makes you work a bit at digesting what it gives you. Unlike a lot of other movies, Inception doesn't condescend to it's audience. At times it may seem blatantly expository, but I believe it’s only expository to the point that such a complex concept needs to be for viewers to start putting the pieces together themselves. It's a hugely budgeted movie that manages to use its visual effects as a complement to an intriguing and original story rather than a substitute for it, which seems very rare nowadays. Although upon a second viewing I did pick up on a few plot holes and flaws, this film still may be the most visually, intellectually, emotionally, and philosophically fulfilling experience I've ever had in a theater.
The movie is about a team of specialists lead by a man named Dom Cob (Leonardo Dicaprio) who are able to infiltrate the human subconscious through dreams and steal people’s secrets—steal their ideas. Or...in this case, plant an idea. The process of planting an idea is called inception, hence the title. However, in order for the mark to not notice that inception has taken place—in order for them to think the idea was their own, the idea must be planted deep within the subconscious. In a dream within a dream within a dream.
Dom Cob is the leader of the group and is by far, the most explored character in the film. He is a troubled and secretive person whose only goal is to get back home to see his children. However, he must stay in hiding outside of the US because he was wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife. The death of his wife haunts him, and envelopes his mind at all times. Although Dom is the best at what he does, because of this damaged state he’s in, he becomes a possible danger to the team. However, Cob tries to play his troubled state of mind off to the members of his team. Throughout the movie, we get to go deep into what makes Cob tick, and in a way, the film could be considered a sort of complex character study.
The other members of the team are not explored as extensively as Cob is, but this doesn’t really bother me. If the movie tried to develop and flesh out every single character, giving them each a proper arc and background, it would seem too cluttered—like it was trying to cover things that weren’t necessary to the story. What matters in this case is that we understand the personality and motivations of each character, which we do.
Ellen Page gives a decent performance as a character named Ariadne. Ariadne is an engineering prodigy that Cob brings onto the team to help build the dreamscapes they will visit. She is a character that I found very interesting, and I’d like to touch on her character for a bit. She is the most inexperienced character in the movie, and is very similar to Cob. She is basically his female equivalent, and she challenges him to become a better person. Ariadne is the only one that knows what kind of turmoil he’s going through, and helps him to reach catharsis with himself. She’s almost like a student and a teacher all in one. Other than that however, she basically exists in the story for the sole purpose of allowing the other characters to explain to her (and therefore the audience) how everything in this world works. I’ve read some complaints about this, but these people seem to not realize how common and useful this expositional tool really is. It is used in Star Wars, with the audience learning the ways of the force alongside Luke. Rogue in X-Men also acts as an audience surrogate as well as Will Smith’s Agent J character in Men in Black and countless others.
The movie is full of great, understated performances. Marion Cotillard is terrifying as Cob’s late wife, Mal. Every moment she’s on the screen creates an awesome suspense and tension. Another actor who I thought was great was Cillian Murphy playing the roll of Robert Fischer Jr, the mark. He gives a subtle but effective performance in this movie. I feel like he’s an under appreciated actor who should be in many more movies than he is in.
If there’s one thing I want to tell you about Inception, it’s that you really should pay to see it in theaters. Don’t download or stream it. Don’t put it off until it comes out on dvd. If you pay money to see this movie (just a measly 5 bucks) it will contribute to the box office revenue of the film. When the big wigs behind movie production see that a smart movie with an original and intriguing idea is making them a lot of money, then they will finance other smart movies with original and intriguing ideas, and we won't get any more The Last Airbender's or Transformers 2's. Instead, we'll get quality stuff. But you have to contribute to the cause. So that's why i say (even though it's just a little chip away at it) that you should definitely pay money to see Inception at least one time. However, It’s definitely a movie that deserves a second viewing.
Inception is a movie that is reminiscent of The Matrix, The Oceans movies, and even the James Bond films, but while drawing off of previous material, it manages to create something new and original. It’s packed with some awesome action sequences, like the now famous zero-G hallway scene, and is also very thought provoking. It’ll have you thinking about it for a while after you step foot out of the theater. Although there are a few minor problems like some poorly delivered lines and unexplained occurrences, Inception still remains a quality film with an ingenious ending and a compelling score among other things. Please go see it as soon as you can. You’ll be glad you did.