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5 reviews, 77 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"Whatever happens, don't. fall. asleep."
4 stars

Between “Batman” movies and taut thriller exercises such as “Insomnia,” writer/director Christopher Nolan likes to muck around with the minds of his audience. He enjoys the sport of deception, poking around the confines of unreality to fashion complex illusory puzzles that demand the utmost moviegoing attention. You’d be a fool to even blink. “Inception” is Nolan’s Fat Man mind-bomb; it’s a lavishly byzantine thriller, dripping with layers upon layers of subconscious excavation, attempting to wrap viewers up in a heist-like adventure to help swallow the complex dreamscape machinations. It’s a bold, stunning feature of impossible technical virtuosity. It also has the tendency to be about as emotionally stimulating as a college lecture.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a mental “extractor,” plugging into foreign minds through “shared dreaming” to retrieve items hidden deep within the folds of the subconscious. With Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), an evasive businessman who’s heir to a financial kingdom, Dom is handed a difficult target to infect, requiring the services of a team to help him through the entangled dream world. With “point man” Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), “architect” Ariadne (Ellen Page), “forger” Eames (Tom Hardy), and “tourist” Saito (a barely intelligible Ken Watanabe), the group slips into their sleeping minds to manufacture a way to retrieve what’s being kept inside of a safe in Fischer’s head. For Dom, the job is especially difficult, with torturous memories and appearances from his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) helping to complicate the job at hand, placing the group in immense danger as new levels of the subconscious are accessed.

What is reality? It’s a question “Inception” delights in picking apart, as Nolan forges a film directly devoted to expanding the finer points of perception. Ambitious doesn’t even begin to describe the picture, and it’s always interesting to observe the filmmaker working his way through a troublesome, strenuous concept, with “Inception” a kissing cousin to Nolan’s 2000 picture, the time-twisting “Memento.” Nolan’s masterful with this type of psychological bath, delighted with the opportunity to bend reality and pull his writing inside out, manipulating screen elements to create a puzzling whole. “Inception” allows him 150 minutes to create as much uncertainty as he can.

Of course, there’s also something approximating an action movie to tend to, featuring the director conducting an explosive symphony of the unreal, setting Dom and the gang loose in an artificial world where anything is possible. Diving through levels of lucid dreaming, the spectacular screen highlights begin to pile up with astonishing usage of complex and superbly detailed special effects, bringing to life the gravity-defying work of the team, who find themselves jumping further into Fischer’s head to elongate time (mere seconds in the real world lasts hours, months, and years in the dream world), as panic sets in when Mal comes to disrupt Dom’s burning concentration. Despite the screenplay’s commitment to abstract arenas of confrontation, the visual elements here are expansive and inventive, taking cues from “The Matrix “ and M.C. Escher to create a contorted enigma on a majestic widescreen scale.

To keep “Inception” at least approachable, Nolan maintains a steady influx of exposition to clarify the dreamland surroundings. This is a complex and charged feature, but it’s also unbelievably verbose, electing to explain every trip to the brain in laborious detail. The chatter has a nasty way of disrupting the flow of the feature, with much, if not all of the first half devoted to discussion and uninspired explanation, keeping the picture dangerously monotone as everything is spilled in a clunky fashion that betrays the imposingly esoteric visual impression. Nolan aims to position viewers in a place of comfortable confusion, but to achieve that difficult posture, he robs “Inception” of outrageous pace and invigorating character transitions, draining the story of emotional involvement (Dom’s red-faced struggle with Mal is key here, but doesn’t reverberate as intended). Every character is saddled with nonstop questions in this script; after an hour of unbroken chatter, it seems as though Nolan might’ve fallen asleep as well.

“Inception” is a challenging film with a dynamic range of illusions, but it’s utterly cold to the touch, paranoid about losing the audience, yet staying aloof to the bitter end. Nolan and puzzle purists should have a blast with the sheer intricacy of the film, but to anyone else about to strap in for what seems like a rocket sled of delicious bewilderment, keep in mind that “Inception” often prefers articulation to demonstration.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19934&reviewer=404
originally posted: 07/15/10 18:00:37
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell awesome mind bender & im 45 maybe it was 2 challenging 4 alex 5 stars
4/26/16 Ken A mind-bending masterpiece! 5 stars
6/26/14 Alex boring! i must be showing my age, heard yng ppl love it. I couldnt care about any of it. 2 stars
3/23/14 Justin R. A mind-blowing film! 5 stars
10/21/12 Sean Harrison An absolute masterpiece and the rare intelligent blockbuster. 5 stars
2/15/12 stanley welles if this film doesnt grab your imagination by the balls, then i dont know what will 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic Nolan's shallowest movie in years is still an entertaining caper film. Stunning to look at. 4 stars
8/16/11 the rock rubbish 1 stars
8/11/11 larsen AMC's PRISONER mini-series is a prequel in concept to this inventive film 5 stars
6/05/11 Piz Easily the best movie of 2010. Critics try too hard to find fault, it's brilliant 5 stars
5/14/11 Derek Tries to fool people with complicated story that does not make sense 1 stars
5/09/11 Shaun A Awe-inspiring. Not the effects, but the emotional story. 5 stars
4/27/11 brian For mind-bending like this I prefer "The Matrix," but this ain't bad. 4 stars
3/29/11 dork knight Leo's the weak link, as usual. A bit too much yapping. 4 stars
3/19/11 ad Invariably good stuff with Leo 5 stars
3/10/11 bored mom The dream rules are too arbitrary to be taken seriously. Too much overly repeated dialogue. 3 stars
2/28/11 rider too much expository dialogue, lack of interesting characters, borrowed plot, bleh 1 stars
1/29/11 Amy This movie has everything- great writing, an awesome cast, and a truly original story. 5 stars
1/27/11 taker overrated 1 stars
1/23/11 action movie fan the takers was so much better than this 2 stars
1/23/11 zenny woah. 5 stars
1/06/11 Smitty Problem with sound. Watching at home, the noise of the FX drowned out a lot of the dialogue 4 stars
1/06/11 Derek Pointless movie. More like a video game. 1 stars
1/03/11 David Young Finally an original story from hollywood 5 stars
12/26/10 mr.mike Sure it's good , but by the end I was worn out from the plot and constant CGI sequences. 4 stars
12/25/10 Total Crap Every one who gave this movie a low rating goes to show that the world is getting lazier. 5 stars
12/25/10 randy todger amazing and gripping 5 stars
12/17/10 Ionicera Had its moments 4 stars
12/11/10 othree Between 2&3 stars, hyped baseline story, efx=ehh. No immersion, good cast, 'cept Juno Gurl. 3 stars
12/09/10 Rick A complete overated yawnfest, if you like folding cities rent Dark City 1 stars
11/14/10 Gabe best film ive seen in a long long time. Nice to watch something on a more intelligent level 5 stars
10/04/10 Dennis A mind blowing classic. 5 stars
9/30/10 Tania I haven't felt this way about a movie since the Matrix. Absolutely incredible! 5 stars
9/06/10 millersxing Nolan's Principia...an overambitious yet monumental achievement in film. 4 stars
8/28/10 Langano Doesn't quite live up to the hype but still a very good flick. 4 stars
8/24/10 Davey There's more heart here than in many of Nolan's films, mostly thanks to DiCaprio. 4 stars
8/20/10 puddleduck Gave me a headache trying to follow the psycho babble 2 stars
8/16/10 meeo Stay on the ball and enjoy this extremely ambitious film 4 stars
8/11/10 hellrazor whoever doesnt like this masterpiece shouldn't even fuckin bother posting a comment. 5 stars
8/10/10 goller terribly overrated, won't be a classic like the matrix 1 stars
8/07/10 Koitus Very creative concept. I liked it a lot; much seemed repetitive from "Matix" & "Commando." 4 stars
8/06/10 naewar Loved this movie. So amazing. Even better the second time. 5 stars
8/03/10 AJ Muller I believe it's a masterpiece; never seen anything quite like it. Nolan's a genius. 5 stars
7/31/10 Durwood They never explain exactly how they can enter other people' 4 stars
7/29/10 alice I don't understand what the fuz is about, found it very boring and a lot of bad acting. 1 stars
7/28/10 Steve The most overrated movie of the summer. 1 stars
7/28/10 Ace-of-Stars "thinking man's" movie w/ just enough chases, explosions, SF/X & "names" to feel satisfied 4 stars
7/27/10 reptilesni A lot of special effects (yawn) not a lot of actual story. Not as original as it pretends 1 stars
7/26/10 alex too obsessed with it's own overcomplicated ideas to let the story have a chance to breathe 2 stars
7/25/10 abs pretty much the only movie i've seen where it doesn't treat it's audience like dumbasses 5 stars
7/25/10 Nancy Totally held my attention, Can't wait for the sequel. 5 stars
7/24/10 David L Brilliantly written, crafted, acted, and shot. If confused, you didn't pay enough attention 5 stars
7/24/10 John WOW! 5 stars
7/23/10 al rudolf a poor excuse for a movie 1 stars
7/21/10 Simon The most imaginative film I've seen in a long time, with moments of humanity to boot. 5 stars
7/21/10 John Suspenseful and somewhat original, but I didn't feel the emotional pull 3 stars
7/21/10 damalc heavy on confusing psycho babble but excellent otherwise 4 stars
7/21/10 grant Just brilliant. Nolan's 10 years of writing has paid off. 5 stars
7/20/10 Aidan Phantom This review is very pretentious. The film balances both intelligence and visual effects. 5 stars
7/20/10 Bob Dog Blip's right! 2 stars
7/20/10 Blip Much less clever than Nolan thinks it is; moreover, it's dull. 2 stars
7/20/10 KingNeutron Nice to see Tom Hardy again - great flick, plan to see this again 4 stars
7/19/10 Jimmy An unbridled work of art and possibly the best film of the 21st century 5 stars
7/19/10 garrett great movie! 4 stars
7/19/10 g. fantastic 5 stars
7/19/10 Adrian cerbral film perfection. inception>the matrix. oh and the visuals> 5 stars
7/18/10 Ronald Holst It is one of the years best so far 5 stars
7/18/10 skinner too much hype 1 stars
7/18/10 Steve0 A slow burner, but well worth it. I haven't been this confused ot intrigued since Memento. 4 stars
7/17/10 Steve Miller Didn't notice the chatter Orndorf. Thought film had right amount of expo. dialogue. 5 stars
7/17/10 Anish Exceptional Movie! I find it truly amazing that Nolan wrote this movie. Virtuoso! 5 stars
7/17/10 jonathantstorm sorry but highly overrated,nowhere near nolan's best, overly complicated 1 stars
7/17/10 Flounder I don't throw this word around loosely: MASTERPIECE. Consider my mind blown away 5 stars
7/16/10 Darkstar Felt like I did when I saw The Matrix. My mind is blown. Awesome. 5 stars
7/16/10 john smith wow, goodness gracious sakes alive, holy mackeral Andy, mind blower 5 stars
7/15/10 Justin Best movie since Men at Work. 5 stars
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  16-Jul-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2010


  DVD: 07-Dec-2010

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