Some movies argue the case for movies. The Matrix. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Lightening Salad Moving Picture. These movies can only be appreciated in its form, as a movie. They can’t be told and you can’t read the screen play or have it as a book. These are movies that take completely advantage of the movie format. Inception does this. It is a movie for movie fans that allow people to think and thanks them for it by giving the audience a movie experience worth the ticket price. It isn’t a dumb movie. But anyone can understand it. It is a Science Fiction movie but anybody can enjoy it. I can’t use words properly to say this, so I’ll say it plainly. This movie is amazing. Many, many spoilers ahead. I’ll be discussing this as if you’ve already seen it, because you should have already.
High end for the low brow
The main concept of this movie is the idea that Reality is Perception. What we think is real, is real. But the Inception part, the act of putting an idea into someone’s head, is also the higher concept of “Memes”. Memes. Memes. Memes. Leonardo’s character, Cobb and his crew try to put an “idea” into someone’s head and have the Mark believe that it is his idea the entire time. Instead of “Idea”, they could have used the word “Meme” and been completely accurate. Why didn’t they even mention the word “Meme” the entire movie? Because no one would understand what the hell they were talking about. That is the beauty of Inception. It is a complex, complicated movie written so that the average joe off the street can completely and utterly understand it. While I was watching, I laughed at a part of the movie, a place that seemed weird and too complicated for most people to care about it. What surprised me is that the entire theater laughed at it. All of them laughed when the Spinner-top kept spinning at the end and almost toppled but then the credits rolled. This movie is as complicated as any movie, more so. But it never alienates the viewer for any real length of time.
Following the dots
iO9 has said that this movie isn’t about character, it is about ideas. I disagree. This movie is about a character, but it is very nuanced and you might miss it if you blink. Cobb did something to his wife. This caused his wife to commit suicide. He is completely responsible for his wife’s death. Thinking about it, Cobb should feel even more guilty about this. He should be more torn about, more dangerous. If he hadn’t of planted the idea that their reality wasn’t real into her head, she would have never killed herself. Did he kill her? No, but he might as well had. This part of the story is weak, but it serves the purpose of giving us the villain of Mal. We had to have someone to fear and we feared her, or at least I did. The story is a by-product of the concept, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. You care about the character and you believe them when they are in trouble. I mean, they put an idea into a guy’s head that changes his entire life. They change a man, and the audience wants the crew to change it. That, right there, proves that the story is sound.
Playing the part
It is Leonardo DiCaprio that really shines. His ability to convince a movie audience that his character is real, in a real situation, constantly amazes me. He is a better actor than anyone that I’ve seen in a while and I hope he gets the rewards he deserves. And Ellen Page? Yes. Give me a realistic leading lady that can stand toe-to-toe with any man. Give me that. Ken Watanabe was a smart choice as well, showing off his diversity. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stops being a kid here and becomes and actor worth watching. Finally, Marion Cotillard as Mal allows you to find her attractive and worry that she might stab you. She’s the only character that could be even close to the villain, and she does this very, very well. The casting of this movie is in and of itself brilliance.
Things go bang, but not in a stupid way
Christopher Nolan uses special effects. He does not let special effects use him.
I had a dream once that I felt was completely real. I thought it was real, and I didn’t know any difference. The only way I knew I was dreaming is when I looked at my arm and my tattoo was gone. It felt wrong. I knew it was a dream then and I woke up. The same thing happens in Inception, for the people in the movie and us, the people watching the movie. The movie looks real and looks beautiful. We feel like, you know, we could be there. I believe what is going on. Slowly, the movie gets more and more exotic. Slowly, we get used to the idea of dreamscapes, of the waking dreaming. We see some cool stuff, don’t get me wrong. An entire city flips on top of itself. There is a fight in Zero gravity. But, I mean, it isn’t obnoxious. It isn’t eye-popping. The Special effects add to the concept, just like the story. The Directing is beautiful, simply beautiful. Every frame is genius and necessary. Every inch of this movie is well thought out and purposeful. It is a movie that is easy and pleasant to watch. That is a simple compliment that doesn’t get used often enough.
A New Classic
Inception is my favorite science fiction movie of all time. It is smart, clever, emotional, daring, risky, innovative and jaw-dropping. I watched it for almost Three hours and I could have sat there for another three and I would have done it easily. More movies should be like this. It justifies movies. A book couldn’t have done this as well or with as much skill. I rarely admit that a movie can be better than a book. It is seriously that good. Inception is perfect.