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October 17, 2010

Movie Review: Inception (2010)

Review by Hollis Jay

I only heard my father play sax once. The notes draped over me and transformed my environment into a spectacular wilderness of sound. But, in that one playing I could tell that he was a master at music. Déjà vu. It only took me one minute to figure out that the movie Inception was a masterpiece. As the first dream sequence began to turn to rubble, my heart caught into my chest and I could feel something that I rarely feel while viewing a film: anticipation.


First of all, the casting was amazing. John Papsidera performed a fabulous job of balancing out actors in regards to their strengths and weaknesses. He chose actors from all forms of cinema. He chose experienced actors and those who have only performed in a few films. He also chose actors who would give depth to the story, and be able to allow their characters to evolve in a smooth manner. If Marion Cotillard doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for her performance, I would be surprised. Also, all of the actors allowed the story to be the star and didn’t appear to fight over their position in the film regardless of their character. They allowed the story to speak for itself.

Christopher Nolan directed this film beautifully. Like a symphony the film collects itself and positions itself in layers. Their dreams meld with reality. Even at the very beginning, one has to wonder where reality takes over and where the dream ends. The characters follow their cues, like single notes hovering in mid air and waiting for the perfect time to drop into play. The story plays out like a segmented game of dominos, losing a piece or two with every play. Not a bit of story is misused nor is it miscalculated. Nor is any of the story wasted on miscellaneous properties that would contaminate the identity of the movie, and thereby our viewing.

There is a gracefulness about this movie. Even with the special effects, which are properly used and never over take the movie or the story, one never loses focus on the characters and their quest. We follow this delicate balance between construction and creation. In this film, the characters can be their own gods. They can create their own universe. They can create their own past and their own future. There is a certain aspect of freedom in being your own God, but there is also a high price to pay when it comes to accepting your own reality. Perhaps some people would rather live in the dark. As Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) searches for his reality, we search with him. We take on his demons. We encounter his lies. We become Ariadne.

Inevitably, we are left with the question: what is reality? If we can experience a moment with all of our senses, is this considered real? Would you accept a life, if it was everything that you dreamed it would be but it wasn’t real? How important is the idea of sentiment? Can an entire world that evolved from memories fulfill us forever? There are so many questions brought up throughout this movie that I am sure that I will have to watch it again and again.

The ending is a spectacular mixture of suspense and the fantastic notion of the suspension of disbelief. What if the glass is only half empty? Does the totem drop or does it continue to spin? I found it refreshing to finally find a movie that was not only an original premise, but also that allowed me to be able to use my mind for a change. I mean don’t get me wrong. There is a certain time and place for thoughtless television and movies, and if you are looking for this do not see this film-but if you are looking for an intelligent, challenging, brilliant and perfect piece of cinema than by all means GO SEE THIS FILM!!!!

I would be interested to read everyone’s perspective on the ending, so if you want email me at Cinema Head Cheese go right ahead. I look forward to reading what you have proposed! Thank you!

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