JT Film Review

101 – Inception (2010)

Inception REVIEW

3.5/5 stars

Director – Christopher Nolan

Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine, Dileep Rao, Pete Postelthwaite, Lukas Haas


Inception, Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to his mega-successful The Dark Knight is a large and convoluted film, stuffed full of plot twists, flashbacks, and back peddling. It’s ideas are refreshingly original, and the usual Nolan trademarks are trotted forward. Many have hailed it as a masterpiece, but I have to say that I think it is overrated. It is a good film certainly, but there is always danger in giving in to hype. To do so works the film up in the prospective viewers mind, inevitably leading to a feeling of being let down.

Inception tells the story of Cobb, who deals with stealing ideas and knowledge from people’s minds. However he is hired to implant an idea in the mind of a young CEO, played by Cillian Murphy. This process is called inception, and is very hard to do, and is largely theoretical. Cobb and a few of his nefarious friends attempt to do this, fighting shaky dream structure and hostile “subconscious security.”

The movie is too tangled for its own good, but many of the ideas that we are presented with are very cool. There is the concept of setting up dreams within dreams within dreams, time going slower in each level, the whole idea of setting someone up to think they thought of an idea themselves through dreams… these were all wonderful to watch unfold. It did, however, take a while to get to the unfolding, I must say. The first roughly 45 minutes of the film were very disjointed. This resolved itself by the end of the first act, but then towards the climax of the movie, set within one of the myriad dream worlds being traversed by Leo and Co., it started to get tangled again.

As for the infamous final shot… Well, let me just say we are presented with two possibilities. The camera cuts to black before either happens, and we are left to guess which option occurs. We are given a hint as to what might have happened, but nothing definitive is shown. If one thing happened (what was hinted at) then the movie ended wonderfully, perfectly complementing the optimistic ending. However, if the second thing happened… well it changed the entire movie, or at least the last half, and will require several trips online hunting through forums to understand what it could mean. This is extremely frustrating, and could easily have been solved if Nolan had shown what would happen. The way he did it was lazy, cheap, and felt thrown in as a possible final twist.

The action is (with the exception of a couple of astounding sequences) fairly average. Nolan has never had a flair for action, and what we get here is decent, but nothing more. When we go to a Nolan movie, we go for the new ideas, the twists on genres long considered stagnant, the fresh thoughts. We don’t get enough of that here, and what it is replaced with is really vague exposition and complexity disguised as sophistication.

A quick word on the casting, which is excellent. Leonardo DiCaprio is perhaps getting a bit typecast as an anguished career man, but he does well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt more than holds his own against Leo, and Marion Cotillard does what she can with an underwritten part. The standout for me though was Tom Hardy as a loose, smart, and sarcastic man who doesn’t get along with Gordon-Levitt. His humor was dry and funny, and he is convincing as a gun-toting action hero. I found the roles underwritten in general, but the actors are of such good quality that they carry it along.


Inception‘s unique vision and intriguing premise is threatened by its over-complicated plotting and overdone emotionality. However the acting is good and the material is compelling. It certainly is not a masterpiece, but it is a pretty solid movie. Nolan’s best movie remains The Prestige, but this will do for Nolan fans, and even to the general public, as long as they’re willing to have to think about it a bit.



“Inception” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



July 20, 2010 - Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Sci-fi, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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