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Inception (2010) – Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout.

A lot of us have been asking why filmmakers don’t make more intelligent films.  They are truly a dime a dozen, don’t you think?  Do they think we are all just that dumb?  Or do they just think it’s easier to film a lowest denominator film and still make millions?  As of late, a ton of films have been making millions, or even billions, of dollars and they are simply trash.  Just take a look at a list of the highest grossing films in history and you’ll find Spider-Man 3, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, Shrek The Third, and even The Twilight Saga: New Moon in the top 50.  For example, where are great films such as The Departed or There Will Be Blood on this list?  This may seem a little off topic, this being a film review after all, but I pose these questions because I wonder if a truly great, intelligent film like Inception can bring in big numbers at the box office.  I believe it can because director Christopher Nolan has a devoutly loyal fan base of some of the biggest film nerds this side of Quentin Tarantino.  And I believe it should because this is one of those films that is so richly crafted and sophisticated that it will no doubt be studied and talked about for years.

This cinematic maze is quite a refreshing change from the usual mind-numbing blockbusters that are offered during the summer.  Sure, the blockbusters are fun but Inception proves that they can also be intriguing and smart.  Nolan has proven that he is clever and is really good at what he does.  He keeps the audience guessing throughout the entire film and even after the film is finished, you can’t help but feel like he is still playing mind games with us.  I’m going to try my hardest to not contain spoilers but I’m not making any promises so you’ve been warned.

On top of all the mind-blowing action sequences, the acting is quite superb.  Leonardo DiCaprio fully embodies his role as the quietly tortured Dom Cobb, one of the best extractors in the subconscious security business.  An extractor is someone who steals people’s ideas while they are in a dream state.  He is made an offer he can’t refuse from Ken Watanabe’s Saito.  This offer, he believes, will allow him to return to the United States and reunite him with his children.  He accepts this offer and puts together his team.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Arthur, a point man, who is responsible for researching the history of the team’s target.  Tom Hardy plays Eames, the forger, who can “forge” an identity within the dream of another human being.  And Ellen Page plays Ariadne, the architect, who is responsible for creating the world within the dream.  Their target, Robert Fischer, Jr. is played by Cillian Murphy.  The reason why this is all important to know is because Saito doesn’t ask the team for extraction, but inception, of Fischer.  Inception, as explained in the film, is planting an idea or thought within a person’s mind while they’re in a dream state.  Inception is considerably harder than extraction, you see.  And of course, since most or all of the film is within a dream Nolan puts these actors through some of the most insane sequences ever recorded on film.  And, still trying to be somewhat spoiler-free here, when the team enters the dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream it gets even better. 

Arguably, one of the best scenes in the film is Gordon-Levitt’s gravity-defying hallway scenes.  He apparently performed all or most of his own stunts and I have to admit it seems like he had the most fun of all the actors.  This entire part of the film was conceptually beautiful and I literally wanted to gasp out loud and clap my hands during the film.   I also found myself holding my breath during some of the scenes because of how intense they were.  I had to remind myself to breathe some times!  And Hans Zimmer’s score was just perfect and added to the visual feast we were presented with.

It seems that Christopher Nolan is almost too smart for the audience at times, and that’s the only thing that worries me.  The average viewer might get lost in Nolan’s labyrinth and just dismiss this masterpiece as too confusing.  But I implore these people to at least consider how amazing this film is.  At least for its visual effects and cinematography.  For the rest of us, we can accept that just when you think Nolan can’t seem to top himself, he does.  And this is why Christopher Nolan, cinematic genius, is truly one of this generation’s best filmmakers.  Believe me, we’ll be hearing about this film again come Oscar time.  This film is total Oscar bait, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who deserves to win an Academy Award for Best Actor already!  Filmtastic review = 5 stars.

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