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Movie Review | Inception

Ariadne (Ellen Page) wants to learn more about Dom's (Leonardo DiCaprio) past in Inception

Movie summary: A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O. (IMDb)

I hadn't seen Inception for a long, long time before seeing it again last weekend and, while it doesn't quite hold up as well as I remembered, I still enjoyed the hell out of it and actually came away from it with yet another theory about the ending and the movie, which is pretty damn impressive for a film that I didn't think could 'add' any more after all this time.

To avoid spoilers for those who are yet to see the film - and why are you waiting? Go watch it! - let's just say that the ending leaves things vague as to whether how it ends is actually happening or not. Some believe one way, some another, and more believe that it doesn't matter because Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) has accepted how things are and that's enough.

Until this latest viewing, I always thought of the ending as actually happening and only leaving just enough doubt as a tease for the audience - albeit one that I still remember caused groaning in the cinema when I first saw it. However, I've now switched my opinion to the ending not actually happening, mainly due to the biggest criticism I have with Inception.

And that is that the supporting cast are all very well-performed, but there's very little to them other than a particular skill or character type need to fill a particular role in the group. Outside of the actor's adding their own tics and quirks to their performances and line deliveries, there's nothing really to them - other than how they all exist to help Dom.

The only characters we really get any detail or history about is Dom and his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), and none of the others. They are there to either receive or deliver exposition about how everything works, or fulfil some function that can aid Dom in achieving his goal of returning home to his family.

I do get that it would be very tricky to fully flesh out everyone involved without slowing the movie to a crawl, but the fact remains that these supporting roles only work because of the talent and charisma of those involved - especially Tom Hardy's Eames as a particular highlight. This doesn't change the fact that there's not really too much there beyond the role they're filling in the team.

On the other hand, this could be intentional - how the film plays out may have never happened and was simply Dom accepting this make-believe world. If this is the case, then the supporting cast offering little other than what's needed to help him makes sense, as that's the only reason they would be there and serve that particular purpose well.

Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Ariadne (Ellen Page) provide support in the final act of Inception

However, the reason I would claim this still remains an issue despite possibly making sense from a story-perspective is that it doesn't really work all that well for audiences. Honestly, go and ask people who haven't seen Inception for a while what they remember about it; I'm betting Leo; the world-bending VFX; BWAAM!; and memes will be all - not the characters.

While they don't really work, the lack of depth to the secondary and tertiary characters are probably the only real weakness about Inception. It still looks amazing, with the warping of dream worlds still impressive despite Doctor Strange dialling the same effect up to eleven and Hans Zimmer's score is still as incredible today as it was then.

Inception is honestly an audio-visual feast that'll keep your attention focused on the screen no matter what flaws there may be elsewhere. Hell, the final attack on a snowy forest fortress is still a better Bond sequence than anything in the last few James Bond movies - and you'll probably end up wondering why don't already have a Tom Hardy Bond directed by Christopher Nolan.

The movie does lack a certain level of human 'warmth' thanks to ostensibly being an ensemble film that only provides depths and background to two characters, but is otherwise a hell of a ride thanks to the unique premise and the creative scenarios that allows for. But, much like waking from a dream, you won't remember too much about the characters once they're gone.

Inception is a great film thanks to its unique concept and even more unique visuals. It's very plot-heavy, and a lot of the dialogue is simply exposition delivered by thinly-written - although excellently-performed - characters, so you won't be too attached. Still, it's an action 'blockbuster' that'll leave you thinking after it's all over - a rarity these days.


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