Inception Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am,

inception review Inception Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Inception

So where does one start with a movie like Inception? It’s arguably the most anticipated film of this summer, if not the entire year. Without revealing terribly much in the clips and trailers (thankfully!) it’s been one of the most hyped films of the year as well – if not by the studio, then by movie news sites (including this one) and their readers. Following a monster hit like The Dark Knight is a heck of a task for Christopher Nolan, who not only directed Inception but wrote and produced it as well.

Well now that it’s done and hitting theaters, I believe Mr. Nolan can relax – because this film is all kinds of awesome.

This is one of those movies that’s difficult to review without revealing at least some minor spoilers, so be warned. It won’t be anything that will even remotely ruin the film for you, but I do have to bring up a few things in order to describe the story. Let’s start by explaining exactly what “Inception” is in the film: It is the process of imbedding a thought in the mind of a subject in such an incredibly subtle manner, that they end up thinking that they came up with it on their own. No, don’t think hypnotism, this is a much more sophisticated thing. As a matter of fact, Nolan makes a point to get at least one “oh, I know what this is going to be” thought out of your head within the first few minutes of the film: This is much more than the old dream within a dream plot line.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Cobb, a man who works with a team stealing corporate secrets from the minds of executives while they sleep. The 1984 film Dreamscape may come to mind, but things are much more complex here. In order to retrieve what Cobb’s clients want, he can’t just enter the dreamworld of the subject and poke around until he finds it – an “architect” is required to construct a world and settings that will lead the subject where Cobb wants him to go, and there is a backup man who also goes into the dream (Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur) in case something goes wrong or it’s a two man con game.

As the film opens, we find that Cobb has failed in his mission for a client for the first time ever, and for this failure the corporation is out to kill him. Besides the obvious, Cobb has another problem: He is the father of two small children who he has not seen in quite a while yet both of whom he loves very much. Sadly for him, the last place he can go is back to the United States to be with them (there is another major reason as well). However an opportunity to fix all that lies between him and his children presents itself in the form of Asian corporate mogul Saito (Ken Watanabe). If Cobb does an almost impossible job for him, Saito is powerful enough to call the dogs off Cobb and to fix everything so he can return to his family.

The plan involves implanting a thought in the mind of one Robert Fischer Jr (Cillian Murphy), the son of a competitor who is on his deathbed and whose death will make the rival corporation so powerful it will rival that of a government. To carry off this plan, Cobb needs a new architect and an additional partner – so he finds his old teacher (Michael Caine) who despite misgivings points Cobb to a young woman named Ariadne who has inherent skills surpassing those of Cobb himself (Ellen Page). While hesitant at first, she becomes intoxicated with the idea of being able to create worlds as if a god, and signs on for the task at hand.

From there begins the exceedingly complex and multi-layered process of not only building the world in which they will place Fischer Jr, but the script they will have to follow in order to lead him to an initial seed of a subconscious thought that will eventually grow to a major, conscious decision that he would not otherwise make. The story is riveting and will take you through one level after another, until you’re not quite sure where, exactly, you are.

Continue reading our review of Inception

Our Rating:

5 out of 5
(Masterpiece)

« 1 2»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: 5 star movies, inception

269 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. I’m not sure Ken they needed to stay mobile and the bridge drop was part of the kick/plan.
    Plus as we saw in the first dream the projections would use explosives. And even an armored tank would be vulnerable.

    The van taking heavy damage was forgivable but would have been less distracting if it at least had bullet proof glass. Throw me a bone, anyone in production paying attention? Sheesh.

  2. just saw the movie !!
    loved it !!
    very stylish / engaging / epic – as my son says
    anyways.. a very smartly written movie
    characters that draw you in and you want to know more
    dicaprio is gripping – as usual
    the storyline is filled with multi layers
    got to keep on your toes to follow along
    definately one to see again –
    rate it 5 out 5 – must see

  3. Probably the longest I’ve wished that I’d been asleep.

    Rubbish!

  4. Just went to see the movie and i liked it. Probebly one of the best of 2010. Good story, visuals completed the story and where not the story.

    START SPOILER****
    The ending was fun. Many people in the theater yelled at the screen when it turned black. I loved it!
    END SPOILER****

    I was surprised about Gordon Levitt’s preformance. Like the entire cast, acting on a high level. I only know him from third rock, so it was difficult for me to see him acting in this movie. Put he nailed it…

    • Watch 500 Days of Summer and The Lookout. He’s excellent in both. Along with Inception Co-star Tom Hardy (Weams) one of the best young actors working today.

  5. I just saw this last night and I couldn’t have been more happy with it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt knocked my socks off: his two dream sequence antics were my favorite parts of the film.

    I don’t understand the hoopla about the ending. I didn’t read a single spoiler for the end of this movie but found it not surprising at all. It could go one of two ways and that was one of them. I was satisfied and didn’t feel left with a sense of wanting.

    I’m a big movie music person. I believe it can really make or break the movie. There is a scene where shots are being fired as a character or two runs down a hall. You can hear the bullets strike the plaster and the score is still playing in the background – - softly and subtlety. It was the perfect combination.

  6. The movie was outstanding. My mind was blown away.

    • Good movie….but…a bit talkative….much of the movie was spent on actors explaining something or asking why this, why that…also it had some action scenerios (snow mountain fortress) that played like a pc/console shooter game and although this may be enjoyed by shooter game fanatics, I would like to see more imagination….interesting but not one of Nolan’s best…..I would like to mention that Leonardo continues to mature into one of the more interesting/intense actors working today…..

      • The movie’s idea would be hard to grasp for some people, I guess that’s why he used much dialog in it; so “those” people who won’t get it without dialog won’t say it’s “stupid”.

  7. It’s about time we had a sensible reevaluation of this film: http://bit.ly/9xBJSz

    • I certainly hope you don’t actually get paid for espousing this overblown rubbish. Take up something simpler and more suited to your obviously limited abilities…like professional diaper-changer.

  8. The answer to the puzzle of the movie is LIMBO!!! the whole movie is a LIMBO and it shows to us that there is no such thing as reality as there are infinite realities. It is true for our life also, we are all in one LIMBO and whoever realizes it can become the architect of its own reality :) Life is a LIMBO :))) Ok I cracked the puzzle, now take me away, I’m waiting :)

  9. The answer to the puzzle of the movie is LIMBO!!! the whole movie is a LIMBO and it shows to us that there is no such thing as reality as there are infinite realities. It is true for our life also, we are all in one LIMBO and whoever realizes it can become the architect of its own reality :) Life is a LIMBO :))) Ok I cracked the puzzle, now take me away, I am waiting :)

  10. Didn’t anyone else find it peculiar that Ellen Page’s character is the name of the goddess that help a god out of a labyrinth? Cobb dreamed her up. She knew from when she ‘met’ cob that his mind was a labyrinth of sorts and his demons

  11. I think I’m going to go and watch Inception for a second time.totally loved it.

  12. I personally LOVE this movie and will watch it over and over again. About people debating over the ending of the movie, I thought that it wasn’t the end that I’m worried about. I’m more worried that Nolan IS practicing inception with this movie (hence, the title). Most people would have left the theatre thinking…”What is reality?”

    Sorry, it was just for fun :) I just hate it when I got stuck between two extremes of a comment about the ending. One of the best movies I’ve ever watched, hands down.

  13. Amazing spectacle, quite a work of art

  14. the extended trailer you guys edited yourself is incredible. better than the studio trailers. great editing work.

  15. I just finished watching Inception.

    I have always liked the concept of dream minipulation, which isn’t exactly a new concept. Every B film that ever featured a mad hypnotist had him, in some way, employ a variation of dream manipulation, but I have never seen a film that so deliberately set out to utterly confuse the viewer so that the viewer would not realize that what the viewer was seeing made no sense whatsoever. If you are a drug addict and are really high on LSD I’m sure you would say, “Hey man, straight on! Now, that’s the way I see things!”

    I forced myself to see this abomination through so that I may not later have to say, “Hey, maybe it got better after I stopped watching it!” The only way this film could get better is to not watch it at all. I could go on ranting about this horrible excuse for creativity, but if I tried it would take me into late spring. The flaws in this thing are mind boggling.

    Now, I can see the thinking behind this. If the most popular films lately have been based on comic books, the average moviegoing mind must be so childlike that we can give them something they won’t be able to figure out. They will then think the film is so profound that it must be Academy Award material.

    I may be all wet, but my reasoning is just as good, or better, than the reasoning of those who made Inception.

    • Really, your reasoning is not anywhere near as good as ANYONE else’s…This is why:

      You did not reason anything out; all you did was complain…and mildly insulted those of us who DID enjoy the film (“childlike”? REALLY?).

      I hope this was NOT your best effort at commenting.

      • When a movie has to be explained in so many ways by so many different people, who can’t all be right, then something is lacking in its presentation.

        • That is an important distinction you fail to make. It does not HAVE to be; people are enjoying the various explanations and theories as stimulating mental exercises sorely lacking in MOST other movies of the last decade or two. For many people, this film was not merely entertainment (of the highest order, in many cases)…It was relief.

    • If 15-year-old me can easily follow the plot, your claim that inception is only liked because its incomprehensible has nothing to stand on.

  16. the ending of the movie was very rosebud-esk, here is a joke I saw about inception,
    http://ponderingstuff.com/2011/05/15/extractors-inception/

  17. Okay, I’ve finally put away my biases and seen Inception; I imagine it would have been very visually mesmerizing on the Big Screen. I’d say Nolan’s best film. Too much like Shutter Island though in back story — Leo de Caprio’s back story. Comparing the films: they are both good, each director has his pluses but I liked Scorseses’ enough to actually be considering buying a copy.

  18. Dom Cobb was the SUBJECT throughout the whole movie. And at the end of the movie was the only time he was acctually awake. The clues are obvious once you realize that he was the subject and not Fisher.
    Dom Cobb even said in one scene, the only way I can get to see my kids again is if I get back to the real world. At that scene the architect ran into the elevator real fast so he didn’t realize that he was being incepted.
    There was no Cobol or Cobal however you spell it.. This whole plan was a setup to plant an idea in Dom’s head so that he could realize what the real world was. The person behind the idea was Michael Caine’s character, thats why he was at the airport. The real extractor was Saito.
    It’s obvious he was in a dream throughout the whole movie. And they said that the totum was so that you knew that you were never in someone elses dream, not reality. Thats why when he went to the indian guys place he went to sleep and woke up in a someone elses dream. Thats why he never got to spin the totum in the bathroom.
    Another thing.. Dom never got attacked throughout the whole movie, because he was the subject! Everybody else was getting attacked. Especially in the scene when the train came crashing through the middle of the street. Do you remember Dom being attacted in that scene? I didn’t think so.
    There were flashbacks of Dom in the real world, but the Inception started when the so called “cobolt guy” told him that it was now or never, and gave him airplane tickets. Rember, there is no cobolt and that guy was part of the team in performing the inception on Dom. This explains why the kids are in the same spot when he got home wearing the same clothes. Because he was only asleep for a few hours.
    Dom realized they planted the inception on him when he arrived back to find Saito sitting at the table an old man, the Dom says with a bewildered look on his face, I’ve come to remind you something, that this world wasn’t real. Thats when he realized he had the inception done to him. As he awoke on the plane you see everybody sitting there with a smile on their face knowing that they just did it to him, otherwise Fisher would have been like, you were in my dream and you and you were there and you were there! Right?
    Think about all of the clues given to us. Its actually obvious if we pay attention a little harder. And about the top, it clearly started wobbling and no it did not start spinning again before the movie went to black.

  19. Typical Hollywood drivel… all special effects and an almost nonexistent plot. This movie was so bad that I don’t even know where to begin. They introduce all these characters along the way, and yet the audience barely gets to know most of them. The sidekick girl was purely a token character, with her relevance by the end of the film being almost nil. The trite ending involving the wife of the main character was pointless, and like the other female character the writers utterly failed to integrate her into the story.

    The premise of the dream-within-a-dream was so poorly devised that it ended up making no logical sense. For example, the van scene falling off the bridge: only the driver could know that someone was shot behind him in that layer of the dream (since everyone else was within another dream), yet he was too busy driving to see that, making the results of such an event impossible. There was a lot of potential to be drawn from this “dream” concept, yet the writers utterly failed to capitalize on it time and again, leaving the audience with nothing but a cheesy shooter film. I half-expected Bruce Willis to show up as the ultimate ridiculous icing on the cake.

    This movie was total garbage, one of the most overrated in years. But let’s face it, it’s hard to take seriously any movie these days when they rely so heavily on the same cheesy celebrity actors like DiCaprio or Pitt. Give me a break.

    • Ummm, you’re joking, right? You’re not actually expecting anyone to take you seriously based on this drivel, are you? This was truly an amusing read…

  20. I LOVED THIS MOVIE! Judging by the end AND the beginning, I believe Cobb has been dreaming since the beginning of the movie.

  21. Hello there.

    I’ve got a question about Inception I didn’t see around.

    “How Saito and Cobb were kicked through the three levels of dreams after they died in the limbo?”

    Peace.

    • Saem here!! They can kick out from all the three levels by just shooting themselves if it is an ordinary dream but in this they use a different chemical which is used to sedate and even they cant come out even if they die!!

  22. hi guys!!
    i’m bit confused a the ending of inception.. ONE CANNOT WAKE UP EVEN HE GETS KILLED is what they say in the first level of dream wen yusuf is the player.. but at last SAITO takes the gun to come out from dreamshare state since they came to know really world exist.. how come its possible???

  23. I want to suggest something new. I have yet to read an idea like this.
    First, consider these things.
    Leo’s father seldom appears
    Leo wants his children back after his wife went crazy
    It took a while for him to figure out his wife killed them
    Maybe his children are in limbo and he killed his wife
    Is there something beyond limbo?
    Leo does not intentionally ignore the totems result at the end, he finally sees his children’s faces and doesnt need to watch, or doesn’t want to watch. Notice his father is there.

    I suggest his father planted the thought that a totem could prove youre dreamin or awake

    I suggest his father either cared so much for Leo that he pulled inception on Leonardo, to ultimately lead Leo to happiness or save him from reality. The wobble of the totem at the end + the different shoes of the children(which I think was a mistake made by his father who recreated the environment, or on purpose just to make them seem even more real) + his father being content for once+Leo being at peace
    Note that if you are a true con artist, you are pretty innocent in other peoples eyes. His dad could have been a BOSS con artist, and wanted to save his son. His dad was only there in the level that Leo considered reality, which may be the first dream state for leo. which suggests again to me that it’s not a reality. The whole movie was a dream within dreams, and the reality was a bad scenario for Leo so being “under” was his only escape. Maybe that’s why leo thought he could do the same technique to mal. I think the whole movie was a
    Dream in a dream in another, and in another, via his father(secretly) and never revealingly.
    The ultimate inception. And no one has given credit to it because it’s so hard to comprehend.
    It’s hard to word this right but hopefully I sparked something famous. Screw u if u steal my idea
    I think I’m on to something
    ;p

  24. I just have one question. What do you think about the scene where cobb and his team go to find the chemist, or Yusuf, and they put cobb to sleep. When cobb wakes up he goes to try his totem at the bathroom, but it falls down and he was never actually able to see whether he was in reality or in a dream. From that point on he never spined it again until the end. Do you have anything to say about that?

  25. awesome movie.

  26. QUESTION 1 : WHY THE SYNCHRONISED KICK?

    Three Levels of Dreaming

    Level 1: The least deep level.
    Level 2: Deeper
    Level 3: Deepest

    In the movie, the kick in Level 2 and Level 3 has to be synchronized with the kick in level one.

    Why?

    If one wakes up from Level 1, does it not follow that the Level-2 and Level-3 dreams have ended AUTOMATICALLY? When one wakes, one is no longer dreaming!

    QUESTION 2: What happens to people who are killed when they are asleep in a dream?

    In the “audition” dream (two levels of dreaming), level 2 is being dreamed by Cobb. In level 1, Cobb is asleep, because he is the dreamer of Level 2. He can’t dream level 2 unless he is asleep in level 1. What if Cobb got killed by the rioters, when he was still asleep? Would he wake up or would he go into limbo?

    If Cobb got killed after he woke up,

  27. I did not like nice.ption. It is apparently asking for to root for bad people to hurt an honest man.