Life in the Fast Lane


Alternate Reality

By 2:55 PM , , , , , , , ,

I've been trying to put off writing about this mind-blowing (literally) film, but I just had to write about it sometime. And I guess there's no time quite like the present.

I saw Inception twice. The first time was a Friday after work, which happened to be a payday Friday. I was feeling pretty steamed by the time I got to the mall two hours later. I met up with my girl friends, Rom and Mitch (who has yet to write her first blog entry)for dinner, and later, Mitch and I saw the movie. Needless to say, the grouchy monster that decided to inhabit my body disappeared as soon as I entered the movie theater and got sucked into Christopher Nolan's masterpiece.

I suppose that everyone's said everything there is to say about this film. Because, really, it defies words, explanation and comprehension. It's literally unlike anything I'd ever seen. But I'm going to try and say my piece anyway.

In a nutshell, the story revolves around a psychological heist. Think Ocean's Eleven meets The Matrix, in a way. Dominic Cobb, played by Leonardo di Caprio, is a thief who possesses an entirely different skill. Together with his sidekick, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), he is able to get into people's dreams and steal valuable information from them.

Enter his client, Saito (Ken Watanabe). Saito asks Cobb to try something completely different. If Cobb can successfully incept, or plant an idea in someone's mind, he will guarantee Cobb's return to the USA. (I won't say why he's away; that's for you to find out.) The victim in this case happens to be Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), the heir to a huge corporation. By the way, this corporation happens to be Saito's biggest competition. That's why Cobb is tasked to incept Fischer's mind by making him dissolve his father's corporation.

Cobb then assembles a team. Upon his father's (Sir Michael Caine) suggestion, Cobb chooses an architecture student, Ariadne (Ellen Page), to join them. She's in charge of constructing the worlds wherein the dreams will revolve. She has to structure them in such a way that the subconsciouses of the dreamer (who will be Fischer) will have a hard time navigating the dreams, which will then reduce the chances of interrupting the inception process. To complete the team we have Eames (Tom Hardy), who is in charge of deception (like a chameleon, he can change and impersonate people in dream states) and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist. He gives the team a chemical solution powerful enough to make a person sleep for hours and enter dream state upon dream state upon dream state.

What makes the film so compelling are the several dream states that all the characters have to go through, just to get that idea into Fischer's head. Also, there are subplots involving Cobb's past that could potentially ruin things in these dream states as well as their conscious (err, "in reality") selves.

I loved that I had to figure out which sequences were dream states and which were real (in the beginning of the film, at least). You catch on eventually and come to understand what's happening. When you do, you feel like you've discovered the 2010 version of E=mc2.

I loved the whole concept of the film itself, to put it more succinctly. Back in college, I remember being intrigued when we were taught about dreams, memories and the subconscious in Psychology class. Dreams, in particular, fascinated me the most, and ever since, I've been conscious (no pun intended) about taking note of the dreams that manifest thenselves more than once.

I was in such an Inception hangover after the first time I viewed it that I needed to see it again. I read blogs, reviews, and critiques. I took note of the various things that bloggers and critics pointed out; especially those little details that would give us clues as to what the open ending might actually mean.

So last Sunday after church, I dragged my 15-year-old brother (a certified Christopher Nolan fan, especially after The Dark Knight) and my mom (who was probably the only one in her office who hadn't seen the film) to the cinema. I was so desperate to watch it that I paid for all three of us. Talk about excited. And to think that I generally don't watch movies in the cinema more than once.

And my awe didn't diminish one bit as I viewed it a second time. Sure I could predict what was going to happen next. Sure I knew what to look out for this time (clue: wedding ring). But once again, I was blown away by the very idea that ties this whole film together.

So in a nutshell, I'd sum up my thoughts this way:

The Good
  • The plot. Enough said.
  • The acting. Leo, as always, was stellar as Cobbs. I can't imagine who else could've pulled off this role as convincingly. Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were a joy to watch as well.
  • The special effects. Can you spell "OUT OF THIS WORLD"? I loved the dream sequence, in particular, when Ariadne made the city meet in half on a vertical scale, so much so that the top half and bottom half paralleled each other. A close runner-up would have to be the hotel dream sequence when the absence of gravity became a problem for Arthur.
  • The screenplay as well as pacing of the story. I didn't find any scene dragging at all. In fact, every second was so fast paced that I couldn't find time to go the bathroom.

The Bad
  • The [somewhat] lack of characterization. But this isn't even a big deal for me, honestly. Since I already mentioned it though, I might as well say that I wish I could've learned more about the other characters instead of just seeing them come together to perform the task. Like Arthur, for example. I know practically nothing about him. It might have made the story even more engaging if we saw some more characterization.
  • The pace. Not for me, but for viewers who need a bit more time to process plots and storylines in a film. If you're the type who takes a while to understand what's going on, you might get lost all throughout the movie. So try and keep up as fast as you can.

The Ugly
  • Nothing. Inception and ugly can't be in the same sentence, unless written this way.

Kudos to Christopher Nolan for making this 10-year dream of his a reality. (Are you sure someone didn't incept Inception into a dream of yours?) And another round of applause for the whole cast who made this film believable and real, despite its surreality.

If you actually pored over this blog entry but haven't seen the film, I hope you were convinced. Really now. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Must. Buy. Movie. Ticket.

I give this movie an 11 out of 10. Yeah, in my dream world, an 11 out of 10 exists.

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  1. I still have yet to see this movie but I might now make the time after your review.

    Oh, nice new layout!

  2. You should! It's really worth watching...more than once, even.

    And thanks! It was high time that I changed layouts. LOL.


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