*Inception failed to measure up to this critic’s high expectations, although it is an amusing enough diversion to remain recommended. That being said, the film’s flaws are considerable, starting with its unwarranted length of 148 minutes.
For, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, it’s easy to see how about an hour’s worth of its premise-establishing celluloid is actually inconsequential filler that should have hit the cutting room floor.
The second problem is the amount of mental gymnastics necessary to follow a hopelessly-convoluted plot desperate to be way too clever for its own good. Sorry, I happen to resent it when a film feels more like an SAT test than relaxing escapist entertainment. However, what’s most frustrating about Inception is that it’s a talk-driven as opposed to an action-driven adventure, so critical developments are always being explained verbally rather than shown visually.
The story revolves around Dom Cobb (Di Caprio), a corporate sleuth specializing in stealing secrets from unsuspecting targets while they’re dreaming. At the point of departure, his services are retained by a Japanese businessman (Ken Watanabe) bent on cornering the world’s energy market by neutralizing Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), the heir to the empire of Saito’s chief competitor (Pete Postelthwaite).
Cobb comes up with a novel approach he’s never tried before, namely, implanting a dream in Fischer instead of extracting one. He then assembles the personnel needed to implement the plan, a crack team, comprised of a researcher Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a forger Eames (Tom Hardy), an anesthesiologist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) and an architect Ariadne (Ellen Page).
In the process of planning the somnolent heist, chattering Cobb chews the ears off his assistants with pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo, otherwise the audience wouldn’t have the slightest understanding of what’s going on. Oh, and there’s a humanizing side story involving his being a widower with a couple of young kids (Claire Geare and Magnus Nolan) he never sees, because he’s also a fugitive from justice implicated in the murder of his late wife (Marion Cotillard).
A patently-preposterous, endlessly-elliptical mindbender that’s worth the investment, even if you can’t follow all of its meandering machinations. It’s that hip!
Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence.
Running time: 148 minutes
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Blu-Ray Combo Pack Extras: Extraction Mode: infiltrate the dreamscape of Inception with this movie experience to learn how Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the cast and crew designed and achieve the movie’s signature moments; Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious Documentary; Inception: The Cobol Job Digital Motion Comic; 5.1 Inception soundtrack; conceptual art gallery; promotional art archive; Inception theatrical trailers and select theatrical TV spots; via BD-Live – Project Somnacin: Confidential Files – Reveals the inception of the dream-share technology.
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