Best Picture Profile: Inception

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Written by: Christopher Nolan

Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Syncopy

Runtime: 148 minutes


The film is about Dom Cobb, a man wanted for arrest in his home country because of his job, extraction, a job involving stealth where a person enters other person’s subconscious in his dreams. He wanted to go home, but because he is on the blacklist of passengers entering his home country, he cannot go home. An offer from Saito, a rich businessman who wanted to do inception in his business, forced him to do something that he did not really want to do, but he did, guaranteed that Saito will be in-charge of his return to home.

In this task, he is joined by Arthur, his partner, Ariadne, an architecture graduate, Eames, an associate, and Yusuf, the chemist. Their subject is Robert Fishcer, the heir of a business magnate who is having some issues with his father. To implement the plan, they subjected Robert and themselves to heavy sedation. In the execution of the job, some things go wrong, complicating things.

This is why movies are made.

The direction is as great as you can get. Christopher Nolan – what kind of brain does he have? He holds the whole film right from the start until the last second of with with such immense glory and pulling force that it is simply remarkable. You can see the intelligence through the display of  stunning bedazzlement that only a master filmmaker can do. It’s overwhelming, it’s astounding. The moviemaking process itself is a big mystical puzzle that Nolan was able to accomplish with the cinematic power that results to a majestic experience.

It was indeed an experience, an experience like no other. It was a rousing roller-coaster ride that brought filmmaking to new heights. It was able to push the boundary between reality and magic. And there is also the very wise usage in capturing the right pace for this movie. A lot of time in the first part was used for introductions and plot developments. It may seem tedious to go through in paper, but Nolan is a genius. He was able to sustain a dynamic stream that continues throughout the parts of development until we reach the action scenes where we see more of his directorial prowess.

And then come the final act of the film. It’s a breathtaking, earth-shattering part of the film where we all see the peak of the film. This part is unlike anything that I have ever seen before. It’s an indescribable part of this already unforgettable film, and this is where we just let the director take charge in all of the events that unfold.

The screenplay is as original as you can get. It’s almost flawless. You can say things about the characters being used as plot devices, but who cares? The story is puzzling, but when you rewatch it, the genius of the screenplay unfolds like magic. There is a big amount of complexity in it that you can’t get with just one time of watching. Truth be told, I watched this like four to seven times before I fully got this movie. And when you already understand the whole, you can only reckon the high level of intelligence contained in this movie. It’s mindblowing.

The cinematography was fantastic. Looking back, there were very few stylized shots in this film, but the function that it served in the film was indeed vital. It is quite noticeable that the film used a fair amount of handheld shots, quite unusual for a big movie like this. Anyway, putting  the big shots aside, the cinematography was able to bring the story and the characters closer to the audience. In this massive story of epic proportions, it is quite hard to channel these characters who are almost of second importance to the plot, but somehow, the angles, the shots, the colors, the shades, were able to actually absorb us to the film.

The editing is superb. When I watch the film, I know that I’m always into something that I should watch out. Even the simple exchange of words, there is the feeling that something is about to happen in about a few moments. There’s always this on-the-edge feeling throughout the film, and that’s mainly due to the film. The actions scenes are composed in a way that’s quite different than the normal action scenes from standard action films. The dramatic scenes never felt out-of-place, and always affecting. The final third act is the editing’s crowning glory, bringing all the skills that the editor has. By the end of the film, I felt that I went one big roller-coaster ride. And wow, was it that thrilling.

The sound must be heard to be believed. This may seem to be the least evident component of the filmmaking process, but in this film, it was so important. It created the world aside from the visuals. The whole move felt like you were really in the place, and that says a lot in a film like this. It’s as if you are inside this whole movie and it’s as exhilarating as movies can be. It’s so detailed, yet it never gets annoying. And how it gave emphasis to each sound but all of those still feel like it’s one, not separate from each other.

The musical score is GREAT! What could I say? Right from the start, it already was able to set the film to a higher degree of truth. You know you are up to something, but the music never abused itself to drown to film to its strong power. And with the start of the first action scene, what comes next is the film’s majestic prowess unleashed, adding a lot to the film’s already atmospheric milieu. The power of the music lies on the fact that it went so well with the visuals. It’s breathtaking, but it’s so because of the visuals.

Impeccable the production design is. There is nothing in everything that you see in the film that you may think is not well-thought of. The rooms present in the dream scenes are beautifully designed, but some very small details in it provide the air of surrealism in it. It could have been that it’s too beautiful, but it’s never obvious. It underlines every single thing that it wants to tell, bu the message it suggests is present. The different levels of dream give a big challenge on the designers because it should be defined from the other levels of dream. And with some of the most surprising sets (fortress, hallway), and knowing that they’re all real, I’m just impressed.

The visual effects are high class. There is no visual effect shot in the film that looked fake. None whatsoever. It’s so real. Of course, you know that the shot was CGI because you know it’s very much impossible to do (the glacial style of collapse of the buildings), but there are also shots where you expect that CGI will take over, but when you watch the process, it’s surprising that it was an on-set effect. Take the collapse of the fortress. I was pretty much sure that it was CGI, until I found out that it wasn’t. It’s just so confusing if you’re watching CGI or completely on-set effects. Either way, it was enchanting.

What do you have if you have a big ensemble cast with this high caliber of actors giving top-notch performances?

Leonardo DiCaprio is good and surprisingly touching as Dom Cobb. I felt for his confusions, for his desperation, for his affliction. Not to mention that the grief part of his performance is beautifully understated.

Cillian Murphy is heartbreaking as Robert Fischer, Jr. He’s got a lot of conflict in him, and he does not have the biggest amount of time to channel that to us, but in this one small bit of a performance, he was able to give us the film’s most touching scene – his farewell to his father. It just gave a sudden eruption of emotions from me. Anyway, moving on.

Marion Cotillard is excitingly dangerous as the film’s heart, Mal. There is this breeze of fatality whenever she appears on screen. She’s the most unpredictable of all the characters because she does not have a mind of her own. She is the product of Dom’s dark past. She can kill you with one sharp stare, but she can also break your heart with that same eye. And only a skillful actress like Cotillard could handle that tricky job.

Ellen Page – there’s nothing wrong with her, actually. I can’t see anything wrong with her performance. Actually, she was fine with her role. Not in the same caiber as Cotillard, but she did fine.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger,  and Dileep Rao provide strong supporting work in their roles.

But in the end of the journey with this film, it’s Christopher Nolan. He is the star of this film, and all the praises of this film should be unto him. Without Nolan, this film’s nothing. This is his crown, and this year’s crown. When we look back at this year twenty years from now or so, we’ll still remember this film. I’m pretty much sure on that.

For this, the movie gets:

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or not?

2 thoughts on “Best Picture Profile: Inception

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