Mind The Gap
♦Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk comes out in cinemas this Friday 21 July and so we at Tripwire have decided to rewatch and assess the nine films he has released prior to this just like we did with Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Bros. Next up is Inception, Nolan’s seventh film, which was released back in 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy
Inception was released just two years after The Dark Knight. Thanks to the success of the two Batman films, Nolan was a big deal as a director. So he had carte blanche to do what he wanted. Inception is a high concept sci fi movie about a thief Cobb (DiCaprio), who uses cutting-edge tech to steal secrets from corporate high fliers. But here he is hired by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to plant an idea into the head of a CEO.
Inception is an odd film. It looks wonderful thanks to the cinematography of regular Nolan collaborator and production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas but the script is very flawed. DiCaprio makes for a decent central protagonist, haunted by the death or absence of his wife Mal, played by the magnetic Marion Cotillard. His team of dream thieves consists of Eames (Tom Hardy), Arthur (Gordon-Leavitt) and Ariadne (Ellen Page). Page is the weak link here as her performance is flimsy and one-note and with such a pivotal role, she fails to hold it all together. The rest of the team are pretty good with Hardy’s muscular action work and Gordon-Leavitt’s lithe fight sequences looking very appealing on screen. Cotillard plays Cobb’s wife with haunting emotion. We even get a cameo from regular Nolan staple Michael Caine here too who is nearly always good value these days
Then there is the story and script itself. The central conceit about entering people’s dreams is a clever one and it allows Nolan to indulge in some of his more fanciful visual flourishes like the scene in the snow which is undoubtedly his nod to James Bond: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. However there are moments when the characters could either be in a dream or in a dream within that dream. So it is all well and good to blur the boundaries of reality but this ambiguity makes it difficult at times for the viewer to follow what is happening.
The visual concepts are strong mostly but Inception is let down by a weak script and a substandard performance from Page. It feels a little bit like Nolan is treading water here and there may have been a stronger film fighting to get out. It’s not a poorly made film but it is a film with intriguing concepts and a flawed execution. There is enough here for fans of Nolan but this is recommended with a few reservations.