I Saw A Film Today…Inception

The word masterpiece get thrown around a lot lately, especially in the world of film. There are movies that are almost undoubtably masterpieces, such as The Godfather (Parts l and ll), 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Blade Runner. But lately people have been calling other more recent films masterpieces, such as Avatar and oddly enough The Dark Knight. But are they truely classic films? No. But lately there is another film that is being called a modern masterpiece, and it is none other than Christopher Nolan’s latest film Inception. So is it?

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Inception is the story of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), whose profession is that of an “extractor”. An Extractor is a person who enters other people’s dreams in order to gain access to information that is locked away in the person’s mind. While on an extraction case Cobb and his partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meet Saito (Ken Watanabe), who promises Cobb something that he has been wanting for a long time: the ability to go home to the States and live with his children. What Saito wants in return is for Cobb to perform an inception, the act planting an idea in someone’s dream in order to change one’s thinking. Reluctantly Cobb agrees to this considering that an inception has never been successfully performed.

The target of the inception in Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), son of a terminally ill corporate rival of Saito’s. In order to successfully perform the inception Cobb must gather up a team of people which includes a new dream architect Ariadne (Ellen Page), a forger named Eames (Tom Hardy, who you may recognize as Handsome Bob from RockNRolla), and a chemist named Yusuf (Dileep Rao) who can heavily sedate them. After much planning, the team is ready to perform the task.

But when the team arrives at the first level of Fischer’s dreams they learn something that was not expected: Fischer has been trained to combat dream extractors, and they are attacked by military trained men. Since they are so heavily sedated, the team learns that if they are killed in the dream world, they will go to a dream limbo instead of waking up as they usually do. The only way of escaping is by going deeper, which is basically a dream on top of a dream on top of another dream. But the farther they go, the more dangerous their mission becomes, and the tortured past of Cobb being projected onto the dream does not help matters any better. The race is on now to plant the inception and receive a “kick” (a way of awakening from the dream) in the time that they are given, otherwise they will all end up in a dream world limbo.

Inception was a great action film and I daresay one of the best of the summer. Christopher Nolan is a director who understands that audiences want a film that requires participation and thought, not mindless action and explosions. The visuals were stunning as well. How could you not stare at Paris literally being folded in half or the amazing stunts Gordon-Levitt performs in the constantly churning hotel without being amazed?

The performances were outstanding as well. DiCaprio dropped the horrible Boston accent from Shutter Island but thankfully retained the broken and painful past from said film. The supporting cast was great as well, including young but strong Ellen Page. Also notable are Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, and hopefully we will see more from Tom Hardy in the future.

So is Inception a modern masterpiece? No. Let us chalk it up to an extraordinary action film that from the beginning starts off fast and never lets you leave the edge of your seat until the smash cut at the end of the film. If Inception is still playing at your local cinema (which it most probably is), I strongly suggest you go and see it if you have not already.

*Special thanks to my cousin Scott for sharing this cinematic adventure with me.

*Poster by Matt Needle

Verdict: SEE IT!

So what was your opinion of Inception? Was it great or did you wish you were dreaming instead of seeing it? Leave your comments and opinions below.

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3 Responses to “I Saw A Film Today…Inception”

  1. Nadia Says:

    This is a really thoughtful review, and my response to “Inception” is probably a little less favorable than yours. I agree that some of the reviews from bloggers have been way over the top. But, as for whether “Avatar,” “Dark Knight” or other acclaimed movies are “true classics,” can’t that be decided in some time?

    I think few if any critics would argue they’d rise to the level of “Godfather”, but there are a lot of fondly remembered works that are still widely watched today below that level of quality.

    Indeed, if you look at lists like “They Shoot Pictures Don’t They” and “AFI”, there are dozens of remembered and loved movies ranked much lower than “2001” and “The Godfather.”

    It’s fair enough to say these films aren’t masterpieces, but classic typically revers to a venerated work of the past. We can’t be fully certain exactly which works will meet that fate.

    I had a lot of problems with “Avatar,” and I sure wouldn’t deem it a masterpiece. But it’s not beyond the scope of possibility that time will give it that status. Steven Speilberg argued it’s the most influential movie since “Star Wars.”

  2. Nadia Says:

    I misstated something in the last paragraph. When I referred to how time might impact “Avatar”‘s standing, I meant that people might watch and revere it. It might not make any given critic call it worthy of the label “masterpiece.”

    It’s fair enough to call a movie a masterpiece after watching it, but classic is typically reserved for works of the past. (I’m well aware of the phrase “new classic” all the same). It’s one thing to argue an acclaimed, recently released film won’t be watched or admired years from now, but it seems odd to state that movies released in the past thirty months lack a status that future generations confer.

    One of the EW critics argued that phrases like “overrated” and “underrated” circle back to people rather than the work in question. This is true and I bring it up because you refer to how these works are called masterpieces or classics, but don’t mention who says this. You could specify bloggers or intense fans, because few big print critics on the East Coast are saying that. I’m guessing that less than one quarter of the NSFC membership have talked about “Inception” like that.

  3. I thought the film was fantastic. It is an extraordinary action film, as you said, but also one that makes you think. And I don’t mean just on the surface level of “what is reality?” and such, which the movie explicitly offers. There is also some rich imagery that the film presents in such a way that I think Nolan unintentionally touched on Biblical themes: such as the suppression of truth that is very reminiscent of what is discussed in Romans chapter 1.

    I wrote a bit more detail on this here: My Perception of Inception

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