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At The Movies with Peter Clease: Inception

"Inception." Waves hurl onto the shore. The gravitational pull of reality is splurged. Surrounded by frosty plains, it contains the remnant fabric of his pinwheel. Inception. Dreams--dreams within dreams.

"Inception." Waves hurl onto the shore. The gravitational pull of reality is splurged. Surrounded by frosty plains, it contains the remnant fabric of his pinwheel. Inception. Dreams--dreams within dreams. The extractor and the point-man; the architect, forger and subject. Awaken. Sleep. Dream. Are they his memories; his reality or his dream--both? A spinning top twirls, and then desists. He and she walk, hand in hand, down the road of their metropolis.

This rattling sense of confusion is ever present in "Inception," as it dextrously slips and criss-crosses through the realms of reality and fantasy; although, each is undefined. Now, the plot--enriched with meticulous detail--is far too complicated to go into here; nor would it be of any point, as it is wholly interpretive. Behind every scene and sequence--and in some cases, shots--there is a query waiting to be answered, twisted or distorted. Yet, as much as "Inception" is an annotative dance, full of deep implications, it is also a skilful entertainment piece; at its centre, there is much emotional gravity; dynamically, it is innovative, nearly seamless, and it radiates intelligence and thematic control.

Despite the film's labyrinthine pull, the direction counters its maze-like structure, and the acting is interesting and apropos to the cinematic mania. Christopher Nolan, director of "Memento," has scored his finest composition; it is a masterwork as a narrative and as a technical tour de force. Besting his work in "The Departed" and "Shutter Island," this is the most complete, nuanced performance from the DiCaprio oeuvre. I am, indeed, ecstatic to see a great, underrated actor like Joseph Gordon-Levitt brought to public attention, and it is no surprise that he is every bit as good as DiCaprio. Ellen Page adds "Juno-like" delight and naiveté to the mix, and Marion Cotillard is demented, strange and emotionally shattering.

"Inception" is a maze, one which flummoxes its audience as much as its characters. In this way, it is akin to Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" (although not as perfect), as it bends the lines of reality--one is never sure of what is real and what is not, only that there is an answer. And while the film is a puzzle, it is a stirring one. There is, in particular, a singular shot, between DiCaprio and Cotillard, who play a married couple, as he and she walk, hand in hand, down the road of their...

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