Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Christopher Nolan, 2010 (9.2*)
If you take the paradoxical spacial anomalies of artist M.C. Escher and use that structure to construct a film narrative, you'll get an approximation of the complexity of the plot of Christopher Nolan's amazing science fiction film. Most of the action takes place in a dream state, which means that you get something based in reality, yet one which seems to have some small anomalies that trigger the uneasy feeling that something is not quite right.

Using the idea that the subconscious may be manipulated from this state, an idea they call 'inception', scientist Leonardo Dicaprio has built a small company that attempts corporate espionage for huge fees. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays his assistant, always there to help monitor the dream state, while ex-wife Marion Cotillard, who steals the acting kudos in this, usually shows up in Dicaprio’s sub-conscious state.

In a new assignment, he is hired by Ken Watanabe who has a business agenda involving the late Pete Postlethwaite (who recently died of cancer), plays a dying business tycoon who built a huge congomerate that he’s passing on to son Cillian Murphy. He enlists the aid of an architect, in this case student Ellen Page, to build a false world but one based on the reality of the particular subject's.

There are elements injected by Nolan that the non-scientist wouldn't consider, so this is a well-researched idea that gives reality to the subconscious world through some mind and space-bending special effects. Nolan has managed to create an imaginary world so close to reality that the subject is fooled into thinking he's in a real situation and responds to the manipulation.

The man who gave us the complex backward chronology of the murder mystery Memento has once again used a brain-scrambling narrative that will both intrigue and baffle many viewers. Nolan, who also gave us Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and the Sci-fi magic tale The Prestige, is proving to be able to stand apart from a legion of formulaic filmmakers in making us think while he keeps us riveted with action that threatens to propel his main character over the edge of a cliff at any moment.

Currently ranked #6 all-time on the IMDB 250, it's obvious that Inception has enough action to satisfy that lowest common-denominator of film fans, cloaked in an intellectual puzzle sophisticated enough to intrigue and pique the interest of those of us tired of the standard action formula film of good vs. evil with a fight to the death as a predictable climax. The film is up for four upcoming Golden Globe awards, and 11 Satellite awards, and will certainly be a contender for some Oscars® as well.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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