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“Inception" - {Blu-ray} - (Chris)
Reviewer:
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: Warner Brothers
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
12/7/10
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

It's known that, while dreams are thought to be reflections of the subconscious, they follow no logical pattern and cannot be explained in definite terms. What fascinates me endlessly about Christopher Nolan's "Inception" is that, while he continuously challenges the audience by toying with perceptions of reality, he sets up dreams and dream states under amazingly intricate rules - every action has a name and a function, every image has a label. What the dreamer envisions can be freely manipulated, yet their creations still serve a purpose and follow a definite pattern. Nothing that happens is a random occurrence. It has all been a part of a grand design. It can also be a shared experience. The film is labyrinthine, disorienting, and ceaselessly hypnotic. It weaves through layers of dream and reality (or perhaps it's reality and dream), and rarely if ever is one distinguishable from the other.***

Despite heavy psychological subtexts and complex structuring, the general story faithfully adheres to the conventions of a heist movie, with a group of uniquely skilled characters convening for the proverbial Last Job. The protagonist is Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who hacks into other people's dreams in order to steal their ideas. There are a host of qualifiers for making this happen. First, his clients' backgrounds need to be researched; this is where his associate, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), comes in. Second, he needs someone to literally construct the dream into recognizable physical dimensions - an architect, in other words. Third, he needs keep a personal item, or a totem, available at all times, for the way it behaves lets Cobb know whether or not he's still dreaming. His totem is a spinning top. Forth, he needs a special machine to induce all the team players into a sleeping state, since it's possible for more than one person to take part in the same dream.***

Cobb is recruited by a powerful billionaire named Saito (Ken Watanabe) to infiltrate the dreams of a business rival named Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy), who is the heir to his father's fortune. The catch is, Saito doesn't want Cobb to steal any of Fischer's ideas; rather, he wants an entirely new idea planted in Fischer's mind via a process called inception, which is not without risks. Cobb's newly recruited dream architect is college student Aridane (Ellen Page), who shows remarkable talent. He also recruits Eames (Tom Hardy), who, once in a dream state, can shape shift his body and appear to be someone else. Finally, he recruits Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist who has developed a special sleeping agent for this particular mission.***

One of the film's more interesting plot devices is the ability to go into a dream state even when already in a dream state. Cobb, his team, and Fischer find themselves in not one, but four layers of sleep, each more unstable than the last until at last a raw subconscious limbo is reached. It's also explained that the mind works faster as it goes deeper into dreams, meaning that, with each layer penetrated, time gets progressively slower. What could have been hopelessly confusing is instead an ingenious building of suspense, Nolan successfully keeping tabs on all four dream states as they work towards their own exciting climaxes. None is more exciting than that of the first state, stretched into a nail-biting slow motion shot broken into periodic fragments. This sequence alone is a triumph of film editing.***

Cobb is not merely the main character. He's also the story's emotional center, his mind plagued with the image of his wife, Mal (Marion Cottillard), and their two children, who, for reasons I won't reveal, he hasn't seen in a long time. Because of the guilt he feels, he finds that their visions are intruding into other people's dreams, which is not only detrimental to his assignments but also to his own mental health, his ability to do his job rapidly deteriorating. The mysterious nature of the plot prevents us from knowing with absolute certainty whether she's a dream participant or merely a memory resurfacing from Cobb's subconscious. Yes, it appears to be one way, but as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. What can be said for sure is that Cotillard is one of the film's best assets - the perfect counterpart to DiCaprio's psychologically fractured character.***

If the ending doesn't satisfy you ... well, it isn't supposed to be satisfying. It dares the audience to reflect on what may or may not have happened and then come to the best possible conclusion. It's not about closure, nor is it about revealing what's real and what's a dream. It's all about going through a process.

Special Features:

Extraction Mode: infiltrate the dreamscape of Inception – with this in-movie experience – to learn how Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the cast and crew designed and achieved the movies signature moments.***

Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious: taking some of the most fascinating and cutting-edge dream research to-date on lucid dreaming, top scientists make the case that the dream world is not an altered state of consciousness, but a fully functional parallel reality.***

Inception: The Cobol Job: now in full animation and motion, check out this comic prologue to see how Cobb, Arthur, and Nash came to be enlisted by Cobol Engineering and perform an extraction on Saito.***

5.1 Soundtrack selections from Hans Zimmer's score***

Conceptual art gallery/ Promotional art archive/ Trailers/ TV spots/ BD-Live/ Project Somnacin: Confidential Files: get access to the highly secure files that reveal the inception of the dream-share technology.***

Final Words:

Mr.Nolan has found success with the reinvention of "Batman" (a franchise I persist in believing he's all wrong for), it's movies like "Inception" that show Christopher Nolan in top form. Aside from being an engaging and thrilling work of cerebral science fiction, it's a masterpiece of craftsmanship - the screenplay, the character development, the plot, the visual effects, and the performances all handled with precision and care. Nolan truly believed in his idea; if he hadn't, he wouldn't have bothered to work on it for the last ten years.***

 

 
 
 
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