Some films are there to purely entertain, some are to encourage you to think and ask questions. It’s a rare flick that manages to include both elements to sufficiently please a diverse crowd of people. I knew the basic premise of Inception before I watched it, and I was expecting to be confused after hearing some comments. But it’s not actually a confusing movie. I was expecting to be left asking questions when I saw the ending, but for me personally, I think the questions were answered.
Inception is a story of dreams and the people who can enter them to extract information. Much more detail than that and you begin to ruin the story, which I’ll try to avoid. It’s set in a contemporary or very-near-future setting, and sees our main protagonist Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) unable to return to his family and seeking employment as an extractor.
This leads us on a journey across continents and into dreams, where we being to question what is truth and what is real, along with Cobb and the supporting cast. The story is truly interesting, the characters are engaging and the pace is pretty solid. There are some moments where I felt things were under-explained, not to add mystery but almost because they ran out of time, but overall it’s a solid, cohesive story.
I didn’t find the visual effects particularly breathtaking and I think too much emphasis has been placed on them in the trailers or hype running up to the film. This is a pretty personal story and any effects are really there to encourage us to believe what we’re seeing is not real. There is however one set of scenes in which one of the characters operates in zero-gravity, that I thought were exceptionally well done. This isn’t an action movie, although it has a lot of action, and it’s not a sci-fi movie although it has some speculative fictional elements, and it’s not a love story despite a core element of it being about a relationship between two people. It’s hard to place it into a single genre.
What it is, is very engaging. You do have to think, not to keep track or work out what is going on, but to question what you’re seeing and why, and if what the characters believe is even true. Through multiple layers, both on a story level, and a dream level, we are encouraged to consider whether what is happening is real or not, at every stage. It’s very hard to write a review without giving away too much.
I enjoyed watching it, and I’ll want to watch it again to see nuances I may have missed first time, but it didn’t leave me punching the air or grinning like a fool. It left me considering Nolan’s brilliance, and the performances of some of the actors (personally I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent, and likewise Ellen Page), and the self referential ending.
The movie starts with the concept that ideas are like viruses, and it ends with a question that plants an idea and leaves you wondering, if you want to. Well worth watching, well worth talking about, and considering it’s an original screenplay, pretty impressive stuff.