So Finally, it's here, Christopher Nolan's follow up to The Dark Knight. It's been hyped to the breaking point (which actually has been a little detrimental to the experience of actually watching the movie) but does it live up to these expectations. As far as I'm concerned it actually surpasses them. If I'm being honest I liked this movie a lot more than the Dark Knight.
The story is concerned with a group of criminals that are capable of entering the sub conscious via an individuals dreams. This is to gain access to information for the sake of corporate espionage, a process known as extraction. When one of these extractions goes wrong, the team are made an offer by their previous intended victim. He wants them to enter the subconscious of a business rival to implant an idea, a process known as inception. I won't go into the plot anymore lest I give away too much. But basically in short, the premise is highly original & the plotting of the film is incredibly engaging.
Though the premise is original, the actual content of the film is similar in spirit to a heist movie. There's scenes pertaining to recruitment of a collection of disparate characters & planning etc. There's also a good deal of action set pieces so the film works as a traditional movie going experience as well as working on a more cerebral level.
The movies visuals are very striking with grand sprawling shots of Urban landscapes like Tokyo & Mombassa coupled with more claustrophobic action shots in & around narrow African streets that never descend into Green Zone style shaky cam (though I've got nothing against that when it's used in moderation).The beautiful traditional photography is really complimented by the movies effects. The surreal dreamscape imagery feels like an extension of the natural environments. Nolan even manages to incorporate a considerable amount of slow motion into the film, which in theory sounds like the most clichéd cinematic technique imaginable, but in practice works in this context.
The cast is uniformly excellent, though no one jumps out as remarkable which in this instance, the cast being a relatively sizable ensemble, is probably the best praise I could give. If I had to choose standouts, in my opinion at least, I'd say Ken Watanabe who in spite of clearly not speaking English as a first language still exudes palpable charisma, Cillian Murphy, one of the most underrated actors working today (who's fallen off the Hollywood map in recent years), who plays it subtle for the most part, but manages to add an extra layer of pathos to he films conclusion & Tom Berenger, who hasn't been in a theatrical release since 2002 apparently (but we'll seeing more of him if this is anything to go on) who takes what could easily have been a 1 dimensional aggressive caricature & gives the character an underlying depth. But as I said the cast as a whole worked perfectly.
If you're wondering why I didn't give this movie the perfect 100%, well simply, as great as I think it is, it's not quite perfect. I did have issues with the climax & how an aspect of the plot was resolved that didn't make sense, at least by my understanding of the rules of how the dream worlds of the film actually work. This plot point felt like it had been glossed over.
But beyond my own nitpicking, Inception is most definitely a film of the highest quality. It's the best movie I've seen in the cinema so far this year (& I haven't spotted anything on the horizon that could outdo it frankly). Christopher Nolan has struck gold again. See this movie & pay full price for your ticket, this kind of quality deserves to be a blockbuster.