Written and Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine
Hi. Inception was kind of amazing. This probably won't be an incredibly long post for two reasons: 1) I'm still processing what I saw, and 2) you really should experience the film for yourself rather than rely on my opinion of it. I will say that if you like movies that force you to actually think about what's going on onscreen and don't unravel the mystery for you, then you will probably enjoy it.
This is the sixth Christopher Nolan film I've seen, and he never fails to impress me with his skill as both a writer and director. Nowadays he's mostly known for the rebooted Batman franchise (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and the as-yet-unnamed third installment scheduled to be released in the summer of 2012). But prior to creating the world of the Caped Crusader, he made some other incredible movies, including: Memento (2000), Insomnia (2002), and The Prestige (2006). If you've never seen anything of Nolan's besides the Batman movies -- and you want to -- I would suggest starting with Memento as it was his breakthrough film. I remember watching it with some friends in college...we rented it on DVD, watched it all the way through once, then immediately started over and watched it scene by scene, pausing in between. That's how complicated the movie was: we had to stop watching so we could discuss/figure out what the hell was going on. To this day, I'm still not exactly sure I understood all of it. I should really watch it again...it's been almost 10 years.
Inception felt a lot like Memento in that I had to pay extremely close attention to every detail so as not to miss anything important. So the film definitely harkens back to early Chris Nolan in its complicated plot, but it is visually more like Nolan's recent work, specifically Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It's got that slick, modern feeling, but at the same time there's something classic/vintage about it. Although the technology being used by the characters is something most definitely futuristic, I'm pretty sure the film is meant to be set in a present day alternate reality. But these are guys who almost seem like they belong in the 1940s. The men often dress in three-piece suits, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character always wears a tie, Marion Cotillard's character looks like she was born to be a lounge singer in fancy nightclub -- modern, yet vintage. I get the same feeling watching the Batman movies. I like the aesthetic.
I doubt the cast could be more perfect, even Leo, who seems to play the same emotionally tortured guy-with-baggage in every movie. In this case, his fallback character worked. I liked seeing Ellen Page in a grown-up role...as wonderful as she was in Juno, it's nice to see her act her age. Nolan used her character as an exposition device to explain Leo's character's backstory, which I thought was a smart idea. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was excellent, but I've like him as an actor since he was on Third Rock from the Sun. He did a great job as right-hand man Arthur, a guy who's trustworthy and loyal, but, as one character notes, a bit of a "stick in the mud." The rest of the supporting team was great as well, and it was fun to see cameos from Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, and Pete Postlethwaite.
While Inception wasn't too difficult to follow (as long as you make sure to keep up with what "level" of the dream the characters are in), I still feel like I need to see it again because I know there are things I missed the first time around. We're talking dreams within dreams within dreams here...I'm still not 100% sure what was "reality" and what wasn't. What an imagination Chris Nolan must have to have envisioned all this. I'm admittedly a little jealous of his mind.