Inception (2010): English director Christopher Nolan's Sci-Fi film starring Leonardo DiCaprio

Buñuel meets Kubrick in Nolan's dream Matrix

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews 

inception,  film poster, directed by Christopher Nolan
Inception (2010) - By Christopher Nolan
Our Rating: 8.5
IMDb Ratings: 8.8
Genre: Action | Adventure | Mystery
CastLeonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page 
Language: English 
Country: USA | UK
Runtime: 148 min

Summary: A skilled extractor is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible.

Inception is a 2010 Oscar-winning Sci-Fi movie made by British director Christopher Nolan. Inception is Nolan's follow up to his highly successful The Dark Knight—the second movie in the revamped Batman Franchise—and undoubtedly his most ambitious venture till date in which he ingeniously blends the Sci-Fi elements with the Surrealistic elements. Surrealism can appear to be bizarre or titillating, depending purely on the viewer's intellect. Though the realm of surrealism is highly nebulous and complex, but even a slight attempt at improvisation can often go awry and open a Pandora's Box, making the task nigh impossible. This facet of reality may pose a handicap to the most gifted of movie-makers, but not to the genius of Christopher Nolan, who not only dabbles with the concept of surrealism, but also ingeniously blends it with the elements of Science Fiction in Inception. Nolan created a niche for himself a decade back by unleashing a monster of a movie called Memento. He further substantiated his status by conjuring movies like Insomnia, The Prestige, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. 

Marion Cotillard as Mal and Ken Watanabe as Saitu in Christopher Nolan's Inception
Marion Cotillard (Right) and Ken Watanabe in Inception
Nolan's unremitting desire for innovation and uncanny craving to foray into the unexplored realms of imagination deservedly earned him an auteur tag, which gave him the carte blanche that a story-teller desperately desires. It's highly apparent that Nolan takes every possible advantage of this liberty while filming Inception. Inception is not only dreamlike. With its entwined layers, Inception for the most part serves as an unfathomable riddle and makes multiple viewing extremely essential. Inception incredibly does extremely well on both the humanistic as well as the technical fronts. In fact, the balance between human emotions and the elements of Science Fiction in Inception is so adequate that it's nigh impossible to separate them.

ken watanabe as saitu, joseph-gordon-levitt as aurthur, leonardo dicaprio as cobb in inception
A Still from Inception
Inception is about a futuristic world where the human mind can be intercepted through dream invasion. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an expert in the art of extracting information (stealing valuable secrets) from deep within the subconscious in the dream state. His proficiency in extraction is marred by a turmoil that begins with his wife's untimely death. He is forced to live the life of a fugitive away from his children. His only chance for redemption lies with a Japanese tycoon named Saitu (Kane Watanabe), who wants him to do an inception (planting information into someone's mind). In order to accomplish this unprecedented task, Cobb and his team must overcome a labyrinth of unforeseeable challenges, where even a slight miss could trap them in a perpetual limbo. Any further revelation would be remissness on my part as the plot is filled with such intricacies that even expatiation would be incapable of justifying its profundity.

Leonardo Di Caprio as Cobb in Inception, Directed by Christopher Nolan
Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb in Inception
Leonardo Dicaprio gives a solid performance in the lead role, following his memorable performance in Shutter Island. He has brilliantly depicted the complexities and limitations of Cobb's enigmatic yet pitiable character highlighting his pain and mental trauma. Marion Cotillard is ravishingly scintillating as Cobb's whimsical wife, Mal. The rest of the cast has given a thorough performance with special mention of Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Inception is incredibly brilliant as a movie and is a breakthrough in contemporary cinema. Nolan's creativity and his unparalleled innovative genius definitely make it an object of great cachet, but whether it would become Luis Buñuel's 'Un chien andalou' or Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' and serve as a prototype for the movies to come is for the time to decide.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy in Inception, Airplane Inception Scene
A Still from Inception
After the initial praise, director Christopher Nolan did receive some flak from different sections of critics and movie-makers after noticeable similarities were found in the Inception's conception to Santoshi Kon's Paprika (2006) and David Cronenberg's eXistenZ (1999). Irrespectively, Inception is sine qua non not only for an aficionado, but also for the average viewer, who is willing to delve deep enough to savour the delight. Inception thoroughly deserves a rating of 8.5 on a scale of 10.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!

For more information on the title, Surrealism and Science Fiction in cinema and more, please  click on the following links:

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  1. Inception is indeed brilliant! Though, really surprising to hear about its plot similarities to Paprika... nicely written!!!

  2. Thanks mate! Nolan is undoubtedly at his peak... can't wait to watch The Dark Knight Rises!

  3. Undoubtedly the Best Cinematic Experience of my Life and I really do not care about plot similarities to other movies because I think on its own, it is a very solid movie.

  4. Thanks Shantanu for sharing your valuable opinion. Even I regard Inception to be one of the best movies to have come out in the recent times; perhaps 2001: A Space Odyssey of our times. Now that Nolan is pretty much done with the Batman franchise (though there's still the Superman revamp), I hope that we will get to see more such avant garde works from him.

  5. Subhorup DasguptaJune 11, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    whoa. i loved this film, though i did not get to watch it till almost a year after it was released, but to call it close to bunuel or kubrick is probably stretching it too far. the script is amazing, the performances are brilliant. the technicalities are superb as it is with most of nolan's work. i can see that you really liked this film, murtaza. i did too. but bunuel, no. not this one. 

  6. Jayashree SoundararajanJune 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Saw this movie very recently...but wished I were back home in India where you get English subtitles for English movies on TV and its easier to follow...The movie was very enjoyable nevertheless!

  7. Thanks a ton, Subhorup for sharing your valuable opinion and keeping the interesting debate on Inception alive. The comparison to Bunuel and Kubrick was only symbolic as the movie seemed to effectively club the elements of Sci-Fi and Surrealism -- something that hasn't been done before at such a greater scale. Otherwise, I would be remiss to compare Inception to Bunuel's or Kubrick's oeuvre. It was for this reason, I had mentioned in my review, "But whether it would become Luis Buñuel's 'Un chien andalou' or Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' and serve as a prototype for the movies to come is for the time to decide." The fact of the matter is that sometimes instincts tend to get the better of the viewers: unlike some of the lucky few (in comparison to the billions of global viewers), those who haven't explored much of Kubrick or Bunuel, would find it difficult to choose judiciousness over their instincts. Irrespectively, Inception is a modern masterpiece but obviously it's no way near Kubrick's 2001: Space Odyssey or Bunuel's Andalusian Dog, at least not for the time being!!!


  8. Thanks Jayashree for sharing your thoughts. I was in Chennai on deputation when Inception had released and it was obviously quite difficult to procure the tickets in the very first week itself. Fortunately, I was able to book three tickets in Devi Cinema -- a thousand seater hall. The experience was indeed ineffable but I too regreted the absence of subtitles, for it can be a real handicap in high-ended movies like Inception that involve lots of concepts and jargons. Besides, I believe a second watch is essential to fathom it completely and hence you can freely go about watching it again as per your convenience, but with subtitles this time round   :-P 

  9. Great review:). Do try giving your rating in terms of stars or other some diagrammatic form so that people can see it clearly.Otherwise a superb post:). Keep the good work going friend:).

  10. Thanks Akshay for the great suggestion... appreciate it very much!!! Let me see what I can do :-)


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