Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Welcome, one and all to the final review in my series of Christopher Nolan films leading up to “Dunkirk.” Before we begin, let’s just get one thing out of the way. If you want to read the reviews for other Christopher Nolan films I’ve done, the links to them are down below so if you want to read those, go ahead. These reviews are for “Interstellar” and “Insomnia,” which is kinda funny. Every title of a movie I reviewed directed by Christopher Nolan, including this upcoming review, starts with “In.” Anyway, the links are down below.
“INTERSTELLAR” (2014) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/interstellar-a-beautiful-intense-breathtaking-brilliant-sci-fi-marvel/
“INSOMNIA” (2002) REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/insomnia-2002-a-movie-thats-better-the-second-time-watching-it/
Today, we’re gonna be talking about a highly appreciated film of Christopher Nolan’s, that my friends, is “Inception.” Fun fact about Christopher Nolan if you never happened to be aware, a lot of his movies are considered to be instant classics, and if you look at the top 250 movies on IMDb, a number of Nolan’s movies make the list. These films include “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Memento,” “The Prestige,” “Interstellar,” and “The Dark Knight,” which is actually in the top 4 below “The Godfather Part II,” “The Godfather,” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” If you didn’t know, “Inception” is yet another one of those movies. What do I think of it? Find out in my review!
“Inception” as uttered recently, is directed by Christopher Nolan and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Departed), Joseph Gordon-Levitt ((500) Days of Summer, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra), Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy), Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, The Last Samurai), Tom Hardy (Star Trek: Nemesis, Layer Cake), Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later…, Batman Begins), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Nine), Tom Berenger (Training Day, October Road), and Michael Caine (The Prestige, The Cider House Rules).
This film is about a guy who can take the ideas of others, and he’s able to do that with dream-sharing technology. At one point, he’s told that he must implant in idea in the mind of a CEO. If you look this movie up on IMDb, that’s basically the gist of the film, but to me, this film is about a lot more than just that.
If you remember my review for “Interstellar,” I mention there that it’s a movie that has a high replay value. I don’t rewatch this movie as much, but I still enjoy it. In fact, the first time I watched it, probably around the end of 2014, I recall falling asleep. Granted it was late, but still, I fell asleep. Then I gave it another chance in 2016, I was blown away. Now it’s 2017, I’m still blown away. In my review for “Interstellar,” I uttered that it’s a movie that everyone should watch at least once. That’s also the case with this movie. Rewatching this movie, I was glued to the screen. In fact, one of the reasons I consider “Interstellar” to be so likable is how well it has aged, I know it just came out, but still. In fact, now, I like it better than I did when I first saw the movie. It took me a while to grasp some of the things the movie was going for, or at least fully appreciate them. Almost every single time I watch the movie, I either find something I haven’t seen before, or become engaged throughout. Having watched this movie less, I still wonder if there’s a missing link that is keeping me from appreciating it more, although that would be saying something because there’s already lots I appreciate about this flick. We’ll dive into more about that later by the way.
Before we get into anything else, look at this image. This is from one of the first shots in the entire movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character of Cobb is lying down on sand, waves are coming in, and you can see his hair is a bit wet. When I first saw this during my recent rewatch I instantly thought this, and I’m not saying this is a negative because it does sound like something you’d hear on “Mystery Science Theater,” I said, “Oh, Jack survived!” If you ever saw James Cameron’s “Titanic,” which also has Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead male, you’d definitely get my point. Speaking of which, let’s talk about his character in general.
Cobb is essentially the main dude who steals the ideas of others through dreams, and the way I see his character at times in this movie is the same way I see a professor. Not to say he’s boring or anything, it works. This is shown very well during the beginning of the film, especially during the sequence when he’s talking to Ellen Page’s character of Ariadne at the cafe. At times Cobb reminded me of a scientist as well, and that comparison can be shown with a conversation he has after Ellen Page vanishes from a room. When I think of certain aspects of this character and put them on a list, it almost seems as if this character has no weight. Although that’s not true. There’s a part of this movie dedicated to his relationship to Marion Cotillard’s character of Mal, and particular aspects of said relationship made me care so much for Cobb as a character. By the way, I love Mal’s voice in this movie.
I don’t hear many conversations about this movie in real-life, although if there are conversations about this movie in real-life, I’m a frequent person who starts those conversations, and one thing I usually don’t talk about in this movie is the action. This movie has one of the coolest action sequences I’ve ever seen in my life! I won’t go into detail, but there’s this one sequence where some characters are in a hotel hallway, and it starts rotating, it’s almost like a video game!
Fun fact about this film, there is actually a character in this film who goes by the name of Yusuf. He’s played by Dileep Rao, whose face you may recognize if you’ve seen “Drag Me to Hell” or “Avatar.” But I’m gonna give a little backstory about me before watching this movie. Dileep Rao interests me as an actor because while my first encounter with this guy was in the movie “Avatar” when I watched it in the theater, his name latched onto me in a different way. As you may know, I’m a nerd, and part of that has to do with my love for game shows. One of my favorite game shows, and I believe it’s a choice you’d all agree upon, is “Jeopardy!.” With that being said, Rao’s first ever TV appearance was on “Jeopardy!.” Not only that, but he also won a game. He appeared on the program in 2002, and his episodes aired on June 7th and June 10th. His total winnings are $34,400 along with an extra $1,000 as a consolation prize for when he lost. I saw his games on YouTube and I recall the description of the video saying he was in “Avatar” and that helped me recall his name. Overall, he gives a decent performance in this movie. As the movie is coming towards its end, he plays a key role.
If you have seen a number of movies before, you may have judged it for its lack of logic as a criticism. Here though, it actually works. It’s explained throughout the movie, that dreams can create things that are impossible to create, and I can believe that. I can probably remember some of my dreams and they’re not all realistic to the highest extent. The lack of logic in this movie sometimes ends up partially contributing to the plot and makes the movie more enjoyable as a whole, it’s like a superhero movie except nobody really has any superpowers. In fact, I’m gonna give you a little story about my life. I live near a number of shopping centers, and one of them is the Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA, otherwise known as one of the filming locations for the 2009 comedy “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Now that mall had some changes over the years, but around the early 2000’s, probably around when I was four or something, I always had a dream that I was going into a mall that basically resembled the Burlington Mall, the floor pattern in the mall, at least on the first floor was different to what it looked like back in the day along with how it looks now. In fact, it almost looks similar to a floor pattern that used to be in Roosevelt Field in Garden City, NY, I never went to that mall, I just know about it. As far as the second story’s floor pattern goes, I can’t exactly tell you if it was similar to how it was before its renovation during the 2000s, but I’m not sure. In fact, if you have ever been inside the Burlington Mall, you might walk towards the center and notice a bank of two scenic elevators, not only did they look different in the dream, they looked different from each other. One of them I recall having a single slide door, as opposed to reality in which case both elevators have two-speed doors, and one of them was something I can’t even describe. Partially because it’s hard to remember to the most supreme detail, and it sounds totally impractical. It was like the size of a trampoline, and you could probably see inside the shaft and it was pretty big. Also, I recall multiple times, I went outside the mall in my dreams and there was a McDonald’s or something, I believe I was at the mall with somebody, probably with a stuffed duck I had and actually still have today, #nostalgia. The voice of the person by my side spoke to me saying the McDonald’s was gonna blow away, and the McDonald’s actually blowing away, or at least the roof, one or the other, is something I remember happening. That popping in my head must have been an effect from watching something on TV as a child which a house blows away. I don’t recall what it was, if you ever seen something on TV which a house blows away, can you please leave a comment as to what it is?
One thing I noticed in this movie that I didn’t notice any other time while watching it is something that shocked me to the core. There’s this one scene where Cobb is interacting with Cillian Murphy’s character of Robert Fischer, Robert’s told to give the first six digits that pop in his head. These digits are important to the overall plot of the film. The digits are 5, 2, 8, 4, 9, 1. This movie plays around with those numbers a lot. In fact there are a few Easter eggs I noticed with these numbers I didn’t even realize existed until my recent watch. Just watch the scenes in the hotel and see what I mean.
Like a good chunk of Christopher Nolan films, the score done here was composed by Hans Zimmer. There are so many great themes that are actually stuck in my mind after watching this movie and there wasn’t a bad moment when it came to the movie’s music. In fact, when it came to the finale, the music was almost getting me to the point to making me want to bite my nails. By the way, the finale was not only epic and raised the stakes, I gotta say when it comes to editing, this is one of the best edited finales I’ve ever seen in my life.
One of the biggest motifs I noticed throughout this movie had to do with trains. There’s at least one moment through each of the movie’s acts that a train appears. In fact, one of those moments made the movie suddenly become more of a masterpiece, by the way, I’m not gonna get into it, although if you know what I’m talking about, it has to do with a quote with these words in it: “You’re waiting for a train.” Also, a little sidenote, when I was watching this movie once, there’s one moment in the beginning when Cobb says “I don’t like trains.” I just spoke to my screen saying, “Well you aren’t my friend!”
I’ll be completely honest, when it comes to the movie “Inception,” it’s really hard to talk about everything. Because there are some details that I want to talk about that are in spoiler territory, and when it comes to the characters, I wouldn’t say they are weak, but I would also say when watching this movie, I got more out of Cobb’s character as opposed to anyone else and everyone else is just there for the ride. However, this movie does blow my mind and that’s enough for me to say, this movie in its own way, is a masterpiece.
In the end, I’d say “Inception” is definitely worth a watch. This is definitely some of Christopher Nolan’s finest work. There are definitely occasions which I will find myself watching this movie again and I gotta say on a sidenote, I love the effects in this movie. This movie feels totally original and I believe it may have contributed to maybe some ideas used in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” Yes, that movie’s based on a comic book that came out long before it, but still. I’m gonna give “Inception” a 10/10. I mentioned some of the characters feel like they’re put in the background, although I don’t really think it’s a terrible thing. The overall plot doesn’t entirely revolve around them, they are there experiencing an adventure much like Cobb is. This is a movie that I feel can’t be recreated, and if it ever is recreated, it can’t top what’s shown in this flick. Thanks for reading this review, I’m gonna have my review for “Dunkirk” out pretty soon. If I don’t go see it this weekend, hopefully I can see “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which is based on a graphic novel series of a similar name. Also, I’m not sure when this will happen, but my mother and I have plans to go see Kumail Nanjiani’s new movie, “The Big Sick.” I’m not sure when I’ll see it, but we have agreed to go see it nevertheless. Stay tuned for more upcoming reviews, thanks for sticking with me throughout my series of Christopher Nolan reviews, and I’m super excited for “Dunkirk” right now! Also, remember, stay tuned for more review series if the opportunity comes up to make them. For example, in September, Tom Cruise has a new film coming out called “American Made,” so I might review some Tom Cruise films beforehand. We’ll see what happens! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!