Inception-The Ghosts in Our Dreams

Hey everyone! It’s only been 16 days since my last post, but the world seems to have been upended on its axis. I’m on an extended spring break and online learning for the rest of the semester, but I plan to just keep watching movies and discussing them, like I always do. Since this month feels like a bad dream, I thought I’d tackle an intriguing dream-centered movie next…Inception.
A while back I wrote a review of The Great Gatsby (2013 dir. Baz Luhrmann) and used the subtitle “One Man’s Mirage”. It appears that Leonardo DiCaprio has a penchant for unstable characters, particularly highlighted in 2010’s Inception.
The movie is quite similar to a show called Stitchers, about extracting memories from the minds of the dead. The main difference is that in Inception, dreamers are still alive. The film follows Dominic Cobb (also called Caleb) as he attempts to plant a life-altering idea in the mind of a grieving son.
The best part about the movie is that one can never be sure if a scene is taking place in reality or in a dream. There are multiple scenes that appear to be real, but turn out to be entirely designed, catching viewers by surprise. The biggest use of this comes in the last frame of the film. All I will say about the controversy is this: I believe in the wobble, I believe in redemption, but I also understand the heartbreaking allure of delusion.
The problem with this movie is that Leo DiCaprio steals every scene. This is not a compliment. Even with such commendable actors as Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Cillian Murphy, Leo’s intense passion pulls focus and no one else can do anything until he is out of frame. I suppose part of this is due to my expectations of a Marvel-like ensemble film, rather than the backdrop of paper characters we see
The only exception to the above grievance is Marion Cotillard. Her intriguing performance as Caleb’s damaged wife is on par with DiCaprio’s and they have palpable tension. The nature of this tension is complex, and both actors understand this.
Although DiCaprio and Cotillard pull most of of the focus, Ellen Page does her best to add depth with her reactions. Her role as the  dream architect Ariadne (could they have made that metaphor any less subtle?) adds a voice of reason and caution to a reckless heist.
In terms of violence, this movie is on par with Marvel-plenty of “bad guys” get shot, but there’s very little blood or gore. There is one scene of a woman jumping off of a hotel balcony, but her body isn’t shown.

Overall I give this movie 9/10 for an intriguing concept, a stellar cast who does their best, and some stellar set design. One point lost because Leo hogged every scene.

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