When I was a child, I had lucid dreams about twice a year. I experienced around a dozen, and in my memory, each dream is still startling in its clarity.  I remember manipulating the boundaries of my dream in order to make myself 2 inches tall, running through a field of skyscraping wildflowers. Once I dreamt myself into a space ship; another time I influenced the dream to make myself a detective like my hero, Hercule Poirot. I flew, I swam, I skated, I spun. I made my mother into a princess and my sister into a boy as the ultimate childhood revenge. My last lucid dream was in fifth grade, when I exploited the process to satisfy my growing boy-craziness by dreaming that all of the cute boys in my school were lined up to compliment and kiss me. I’ve always blamed myself for having used my imaginative powers for something so frivolous as, after that particularly gratifying reverie, I lost the ability to lucid dream. I have dearly missed those lucid dreams, yearning for the experience ever since.

Christopher Nolan recreated it for me.

This will not be a long review. I walked into Inception knowing as little as I possibly could about the film, especially given that I am a fiend for the Internet. I’m glad to have been able to enjoy the movie so virgin-brained, and I am loath to ruin that experience for you. So here’s what you get: Inception is a movie about a dream heist. And that is all you need to know.

Nolan removes narrative reliability from the film’s opening scene, which creates an elegant confusion for the audience, keeping us on our toes. Here’s a big budget summer blockbuster—an original story, not a franchise!—that engages the audience, asks us to pay attention, to decipher, to interpret. Inception is audacious as hell and Nolan’s sheer daring pays off in one the most ambitious and imaginative thrillers ever produced.

The dream world of the film is unlike any ever created. The visual effects are gritty and daring, shockingly substantial for what’s being accomplished on-screen. Over and over, you may ask yourself, “HOW DID THEY DO THAT?!” (here’s how.) That is, you may ask yourself that if you aren’t entirely captivated by the intricate dream logic of Inception, forgetting for 148 minutes that none of this is actually possible.

The cast is phenomenal. Such a polished and talented ensemble cast, in fact, that it would be pointless for me to list each extraordinary performance. Christopher Nolan is the KING of casting. He’s the Mack Brown of recruiting in Hollywood. Leonardo Dicaprio’s Cobb brings such emotional depth to what could easily be a sterile crime thriller with lots of fun and no feeling. But Joseph Gordon-Levitt steals every scene he’s in with his sly half-smile and well-tailored suits. His physical performance is astonishing. He went through far more physical havoc than any other actor in the film, and he managed it all with grace and style. Homeboy needs to be a movie star NOW. He’s needed to be since Brick, but now I’m really growing impatient.

Christopher Nolan wrote and executed a script that incorporates elements I would have thought mutually exclusive. Inception is a polished James Bond-style thriller, but with a wildly talented full ensemble cast, a tremendous amount of imagination and, most surprising, emotional resonance. HOW DID HE DO THAT? But in the interest of full disclosure, the film has its flaws. A few lines clunked heavier than an anvil and some of the plot stuff—dream logic aside—is pretty iffy. But I don’t care, okay? You won’t care either. This movie is unadulterated entertainment that boasts brains and heart to boot.  Visual elements are reminiscent of Dark City, The Matrix or Metropolis, but far less sterile than any of those films.

Inception is so coy and intricate, I recommend reading this spoiler-free Vulture article about when it’s safe to take a bathroom break. The film is layered in an incredibly sophisticated manner, and you won’t want to miss a thing. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Inception, to shake its labyrinthine dream logic from my mind. Watch it—in the theaters, a must!—and you’ll understand.

10 Responses to “Inception”

  1. Reverend Jon Says:

    I saw it last Friday for the matinee and I was totally blown away! I have not had this much fun or been this excited about a movie since I saw The Matrix when I was 16, and this is better than the Matrix, no cheesy new-age shit and no cheesy Keanu! (no offense, he’s darling, but he’s no Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

  2. leftyjonno Says:

    I saw it on Sunday and loved every action-packed, beautiful, 1950’s mad-men-ish-costume-y, james bond-like, dreamsicle-iscious part of it! Hooray for leaving a movie theater smiling!

  3. I too found this movie to be particularly excellent. I was really hoping it wouldn’t be a disappointment like Shutter Island. I tried to know as little as possible about this film when I went in. I finally found it safe to look up articles after I saw Inception and basically none of them are without spoilers so everyone beware. The film is that intricately layered. It’s not hard to understand for anyone who’s concerned about that. If you just pay attention, it all works out and folds up neatly. Favorite movie of the summer thus far.

  4. I hope the contents of that article about when it’s safe to take a bathroom break goes like this: ‘Never.’ Why would you want to walk out of this film?

    Ah, it was awesome. Plus, JGL!

  5. My favorite Nolan film since Memento!!! And that’s not an easy comparison to make cause I FREAKING LOVE MEMENTO.

    Several days later, I still am not entirely sure what I saw. Nor am I sure what I think I did see. But I know that what I did see was AWESOME.

    Also? All men should dress like JGL. It should be a law.

  6. Erin, I am a proponent of your bill entitled “JGL Dress Code for Men, 56.20394 as put forth by Senator Erin,” even if that means that I have to wear a skirt. I WOULD MAKE THAT SACRIFICE!

  7. Sally, you could (and, well, do) dress like Ellen Page in Inception under the tenets of Bill 56.20394, luckily.

  8. Hooray for a summer blockbuster that can actually make you think. I hope that Chris Nolan sneaked his way into the minds of Hollywood execs at night and planted THAT idea.

    And, hello, JGL. How exciting to see him really pull off his first big ‘adult’ role. Because, yes, ‘Brick’ is absolutely amazing (if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW & watch it. Seriously.), and to see his progression is so incredible! Love.

  9. GAH I NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE AGAIN. first, because it was that awesome. second, because a drunk guy was sitting next to me and kept emitting bout-to-vomit sounds (DEAR DRUNK GUY I WISH I HAD CUT YOU BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO GET VOMIT ON MY PURSE).

    but seriously, so amazing!!! i agree that the film has some flaws, but the visuals and creativity more than make up for them (ex: i didn’t really care that much about leo and vanessa, but tom hardy was SO CHARMING!).

    even if nolan’s next movie just stars tom hardy and JGL and involve lots of tailored suits and hot action shots, it will be OSCARWORTHY.

    p.s. how did they do that elevator lobby scene? wires? wha?!

  10. I got really excited thinking of a world where everyone dressed like JGL.. WOW. Yeah this movie totally blew me away..and really made me wish I remembered my dreams. I think I need to see it again on the big screen just to see JGL running around with zero gravity in a suite!

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