McCoy on Movies: "Inception" Movie Review

McCoy on Movies: "Inception" Movie Review
Following the success of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan returns with "Inception," but is the movie a dream or a nightmare? Check out our reviewer's take here!

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, Dileep Rao, Michael Caine and Pete Postlethwaite


WRITER: Christopher Nolan


DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan




THE PLOT: In order to keep this is as simple as possible, the plot of "Inception" goes something like this. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a man with a very, very special and unique talent. Cobb, like his partner-in-crime (literally) Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), specializes in stealing ideas and secrets from the one place 99.9 percent of people on the planet have no control over protecting: their dreams. You see, Cobb and Arthur have the ability -- through a series of mental techniques, serums and devices -- to enter your subconscious while you are dreaming and find out more than you ever wanted anyone to know about you.0110Fence_INSTORY.gif


This -- the planting of a simple idea in someone else's mind so that they come to think it is their own, which they will then carry out in real life -- is called "inception." ("Ahhh ... Now I understand the film's title," you say to yourself. You're welcome.)


Knowing of the duo's talents, Saito (Ken Watanabe) is interested in hiringthem to do a job, which will be no simple task: Planting an idea inside the mind of Robert Fischer, Jr. -- Saito's main business rival -- to break up the empire he will inherit upon the impending death of his father (Pete Postlethwaite) and become his own man (and prevent the company from becoming an even bigger superpower in the process).


To do this one last job, Cobb needs to assemble a new dream "architect" -- which leads him to visiting his father-in-law (Michael Caine) who introduces him to a young student (Ellen Page) capable of doing the job. Next, he needs a talented "forger" (Tom Hardy) who can impersonate Fischer's godfather (Tom Berenger) and "chemist" (Dileep Rao) on the team as well. With everyone in place, Cobb hatches a plan to meet Fischer, put him to sleep and plant the idea.


Sure, there are some risks involved -- like what happens to someone who dies in a dream when they are this deeply asleep and what not -- but those can be prepared for and controlled (usually). There is just one problem, however, that can't: Mal (Marion Cotillard), Cobb's deceased wife who seems to pop up at the most inopportune times within dreams.


THE TAKE: There is a term occasionally used to describe something that messes with you in such a mind-boggling way that you feel different after experiencing it. Since it has profanity in it (Password: two words, sounds like your brain and a term used for sex), I will not use it here. Also, if you suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (or want a test to see if you do), "Inception" may or may not be the best way to spend 150-plus minutes trying to sit still and follow along what right now, next to "Toy Story 3," is possibly the only film worthy of Oscar consideration come award season next year.


"Inception," much like the mind itself, is a maze located inside a puzzle wrapped inside a cage, and writer/director Christopher Nolan ("Memento", "The Dark Knight") is a master at revealing the key to an audience.


Let me say this in regards to the film's cast: While some may find Cotillard or DiCaprio slightly off-putting at times for a variety of reasons (Mine? A little too melodramatic too early in a scene one time too many), the cast as a whole does an exceptional job at what they are supposed to do: Draw you deep into the story, illustrating the integral role each plays within a dream (which in turn helps draw the audience into the dream playing out onscreen while pondering their own).


It is Nolan, however, who is the star of this dream as the world he creates in "Inception" is carefully crafted out from start to finish. Visually, the film creates a wonderment without the need for 3D or over-the-top implausible sequences, but rather by playing with the ideas of sounds, shape and structure. Likewise, he draws performances out of his cast (minus the aforementioned issue) that create characters that interact well with one another (in terms of both the film's plot and its progression). The result is a creation of visual high art that - like the concept simple to the story told in the film - shows how a simple idea can manifest itself to something much bigger and greater once it is planted.


*NEW!* PARTING SHOT: "Inception" is the first film released this year that should have its director dreaming of Oscar gold come award season.




Photo courtesy of 
Stephen Vaughn © 2010 Warner Bros. Pictures. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy


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