Artificial Continuum

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When used to describe films, critics often use the term layered to describe the complexity of the plot and design. Never before has this description been more literal then in Christopher Nolan's intelligent, high octane, heist epic Incpetion.

To accurately describe the plot of Inception would require more space then this review allows. The plot follows Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is a world renowned extractor a man who can break into peoples minds and subconcious to steal ideas. After years of studying and building within the human mind, Cobb is accused of a crime he did not commit and is left to a life on the run. However, when a Japanese business man (Ken Watanabe) offers him a chance to clear his name Cobb must assemble a team of specialists ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Paige, Tom Hardy, and Dileep Rao) to undertake a task that tries the depths of his abilities, and his grasp with reality.

The complexity of Inception is sure to lose some of its audience in the process of its storytelling. Writer and director Christopher Nolan strengthens his formula for intelligent and exciting plotting. However, there are moments of design and placing within the script that feel unneeded and out of place when put into context. While this adds to the virtual puzzle that is Inception, it creates an unneeded confusion at the of the film. The opposite is also true. Numerous hints and clues are dropped throughout the course of the film that hint towards the larger scale of the plot. While some characters have little depth to them, Inception does occasionally hit a deep emotional core that glues your attention to the screen. The film really shines when the mechanics of Nolan's dreamscape are explained, often through brilliant visual design. The creativity and depth to the world created within Inception is awe inspiring and intriguing.

Outside of Nolan's script, Inception has a fantastic visual design. The dreamscape crafted throughout the course of the plot is repeatedly use to full effect. The cinematography is dazzling and captures the essence of the world created in Nolan's script. There are fantastic special effects sequences scattered creatively and effectivly through the plot. Most of all, Inception's visual style is best used during the fantastic high octane action sequences.

The acting is phenomenal across the board. Leonardo DiCaprio is riveting as Cobb and plays both an effective teacher and torchered sole. Other standouts are Joseph Gordon Levitt as Arthur, Ellen Paige as Cobb's new architect Ariadne, and Cilian Murphy as the victim of the mental heist.

Another standout is Hans Zimmer bombastic and epic score. Adding to scenes of nail biting tension, Zimmer's score places his cues with skill. However, there are portions where the loud and powerful themes of Inception feel out of place and drown out essential peices of dialogue. In a film whose script is already extremly complex, any moment of lost dialogue is a handicap.

Despite its minimal flaws, Inception balances its many aspects with skill and craft. Filled with great acting performances, a layered and creative script, outstanding visual design, and Nolan's skilled direction Inception is sure to be one of the best films of the year.

Score: A+


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