Sunday, July 25, 2010

Movies: Inception

"Inception" is a heist movie, but not in the traditional sense; the thieves in "Inception" steal secrets from the mark's subconscious through the use of lucid dreaming:



The film's concept won't win any awards for originality, at least in my book. If you've seen "Total Recall," "eXistenZ," "The Matrix," or any other film trading in solipsism, you've seen pretty much every trick "Inception" has in its bag. That's not to say director Christopher Nolan doesn't do a good job of keeping things lively through the 2-1/2 hour run time. The dream heist is engrossing, with impressive set pieces and decent action sequences.

The main problem here, though, is that it all feels a little too...ordinary. The dream imagery isn't surreal or fanastic enough to be memorable, a by-product of the dream-within-a-dream scenario the thieves devise to fool the mark. Your mind will be engaged by the layered realities and puzzles, but the movie (ironically) doesn't hit the Jungian archetypes quite as well as other sci-fi flicks.

"Inception" does have one trump card over other summer blockbusters - a stellar cast. There are heavyweights like Marion Cotillard (in full femme fatale mode) and Ken Watanabe (might as well be clad in samurai gear). There are character actors like Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And finally, there's Leonardo DiCaprio playing the protagonist, Dom, and imbuing this typical "gotta do this one last job" thief with pathos and intellectual depth. It's been fun watching DiCaprio parlay his "Titanic" fame into meatier and meatier roles, and "Inception" really wouldn't be the same without him.

Rating: 8/10

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