Film Review – Inception
Writing a review of Inception isn’t an easy task. It’s a film that’s complex and layered in ways that a single viewing of the film really isn’t enough to gain concrete perspective on everything the film is, everything the film sets out to be, and everything the film accomplishes. It is one of the most amazingly crafted films I have seen in years and the reason that it is such an amazing product comes from the inabilty of anyone watching it to catagorize it into any one particular niche. It’s very much a science fiction film. Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein would have greatly appreciated Inception as a testament to what you can do with the genre. At the same time, it borrows heavily from the Michael Mann heist style neo-noir of Heat with casual effortlessness.
The criss-crossing of established genre boundaries and refusal to hold the audience’s hand makes Inception a sight to behold in a summer of films that aspire to be a whole lot of nothing. I mean, I loved Predators but it was mostly a remake of the original without being a remake. That’s really the bottom line. This summer has been a summer bereft of originality. While there is a bit of familiarity in the style of Inception, and while it owes a great deal to what came before it, it’s a game changer in the way we look at the summer blockbuster in the same way The Matrix was back in ’99. This film is brilliantly taut, it’s an action film that knows how to pace itself and yet deliver on every level at the same time. There is a real element of uncertainty to the film’s narrative because anybody can die at any time and that may not be the end of their life. At what point does the danger of the subconscious cross over into the world of reality? Nolan keeps us on the edge of our seats knowing that death is a possibility for any of these characters. There is a sense of foreboding that follows every character, an intensity that is not often seen in modern cinema. Nolan is the kind of person who would kill of DiCaprio in the middle of a film for the sake of jarring the viewership, and you can feel that as the story progresses.
While the film is visually amazing and outright stunning in certain places, it’s the scriptwork that realy holds it together. The character work and the layered complexity of the dreamscapes and heist plans make for an engaging experience that goes beyond what our eyes are taking in. Not a lot of filmmakers nowadays can pull that sort of craftmanship across the board. Nolan proves himself to be in the caliber of someone like Stanley Kubrick with what he’s given us here. I will say that I think this is a movie that NEEDS to be seen on the big screen. While it’s an amazing story, the visuals cannot be denied. It’s a spectacle. Nolan hasn’t done anything like this before. Everything captured on screen here is a testament to his worldbuilding ability. With all the amazing work that went into all the different elements of Inception, it is going to be a film that people hold in the same regard as 2001 or Blade Runner when they point to good intelligent sci-fi. The resurgence of Sci-Fi as an accepted genre makes me seriously happy. The fact that we get different subsets reaching different audiences without being dismissed as the bastion of nerdfolk gives me hope for the future. That Star Trek and District 9 were so praised and now we get something like Inception shows that sci-fi can be a respected niche again. It just takes the right steady hand to play in that sandbox.