The Town

Affleck has turned out an accomplished and riveting crime thriller. The Town isn't as hot as Heat, but it's one hell of a scorcher.

The Hole 3D

A proper horror for kids big and small, The Hole is a great relief after The Human Centipede. Friendly fun to freak out the hole (ahem) family.

I'm Still Here

Committed and convincing, I'm Still Here is a brave and unusual piece of cinema. Fascinating.

Winter's Bone

As bleak as Brick, Winter's Bone is a cold modern mystery that should earn Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar. A frostbitten pleasure.

The Other Guys

There are flashes of brilliance in this frantic Ferrell vehicle. The Other Guys never shoots to kill, but it frequently finds your funny bone.

Tamara Drewe

Intelligently titillating, Tamara Drewe hides its smarts under a hedgerow of filth. Unassuming, undeniably fun.

Going the Distance

Drew and Justin make sparks fly in this natural, likeable movie. Unlike most rom-coms this year, Going the Distance is worth making the trip to see.


Mumblecore meets mainstream without making a masterpiece. Painful and heartfelt but rarely funny, Cyrus is good but it's no Greenberg.

The Runaways

A run-of-the-mill rock biopic elevated by its quick script and great cast. Forget mopey Bella: Kristen Stewart rocks.

The Last Exorcism

The Last Exorcism blends belief, doubt and humour to produce some seriously scary cinema. Until the dubious ending.

The Switch

Ill-conceived but entertaining, the year's second sperm donor rom-com leaves no embarrassing stains.

An Education: Cinema's Top Syllabus

With kids back to school and education funding cut, what's the best way to educate your child? Cinema.

Star Ratings

Very Good

Have Your Say

I'm Still Here - Spoof or Truth?


iFlicks on Twitter

Home Reviews Cinema Inception
Inception Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 12 July 2010 08:55
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine
Certificate: 12A

So it's a masterpiece. Right? Right. Ok, that's the hype dealt with - the director easily meets it. It's hard to think of many film-makers who could pull off a twisting tale of dreams-within-dreams. It's even harder to name people who would think to do it in the first place. Inception is a bold concept, deftly woven into a thrilling tale, and cleverly wrapped up as a summer blockbuster. It succeeds on every one of those levels.

From the moment we meet Cobb (DiCaprio), expert stealer of secrets from people's slumbering minds, a buzz sets in. The kind of buzz that you get when you're seeing a truly original idea unfold. And loving every second. Cobb is, of course, haunted by his past - a wife, Mal (Cotillard), and kids he can never see - but businessman Saito (Watanabe) offers him the chance to go back home. The job? Inception. The task of planting an idea in someone's head, not just nicking it.

Assembling a team of forgers and thieves, Cobb turns to the ambiguous Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) and snarky bad-ass Eames (Hardy). But the key to any heist is the architect, the one who builds the world of the dream. Enter Ariadne (Page), new girl of the group, who serves as our eyes and ears. Asking questions and planning out cities, she offers the necessary exposition, explaining the rules of Nolan's warped Russian Doll structure. Then she folds Paris in half. On top of itself.

The visual trickery constantly astounds. So much so that your mind almost filters it out the first time round, just so you can follow the breathtaking events. As soon as they break into the brain of Robert Fischer (Murphy), guns are fired, vehicles destroyed. Turns out he's got subconscious security, a defence against the technical trickery of Cobb's crack ensemble.

As bullets fly around them, they dive one level deeper, switching a blue-grey city for a swanky hotel. Not that this world is any simpler; everything ripples down the rabbit-hole, causing gravity to tumble, buildings to topple, and corridors to rotate. And that's before Cobb's wife pops up in his subconscious, threatening to tear everything apart with a vengeful glare.

Packing each brand new place with pulse-pounding action, Nolan lets rip like never before - off the leash with a budget to play with, he's limited only by his imagination. It turns out he can imagine a lot. Thanks to Wally Pfister's beautiful eye, the cinematography serves the cyclical script as well as Zimmer's score and the exceptional cast.

DiCaprio anchors an emotional story with brilliant gravitas - like Scorsese's Shutter Island, it's impossible to imagine anyone else in his role. Although this role is far better. Gordon-Levitt makes a meaty cipher out of ostensibly being a sidekick, while Ellen Page breaks free from Juno as the fast-thinking, likeable female. Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe pack a punch with fewer lines, topped only by Michael Caine's equally confident cameo. And underneath it all, Marion Cotillard haunts the screen as Cobb's fatal spouse, creating a tragic core to this fast-paced thriller.

But the star of the show is, without a doubt, Tom Hardy, who just gets better with every part he's given. He lies, charms and shoots with a swagger that comes from loving what he's doing - it's especially obvious in a Bond-esque ski sequence, which proves he could be 007 in his sleep. But he's got something even better: a key role in Nolan's own brain-rattling Bond film.

Right up to the riveting house of cards climax, Nolan pelts us with questions of philosophy and guilt. But Inception never gets bogged down by its themes - the plot demands your attention, but that's the genius of Nolan's best work yet. It rewards you for your effort, even when you reflect on it the morning after. Inside the darkened cinema, outside in the bright of day, Inception remains a completely absurd dream. All the depth and scope of Solaris, slotted neatly into some of the best action sequences since the original Matrix. The absurd part? This is even better.


Impossible. Intelligent. Incredible. Inception is a 5 star film that dazzles as much as it boggles.


Your rating 

( 4 Votes ) 

Comments (3)
1 Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:36
Now I GOTTA see it. Some critic for the Times has assured us it won't win any Oscars, but a critic for the Times also said Avatar would win everything. So who knows?
2 Monday, 19 July 2010 11:15
Saw it. A-MAZING. Plus now I'm even more jealous of my friend that accidentally met J G-L in a club in NY. Ellen Page is just awesome. And I was also very amused and interested to note how they chose to use Edith Piaf songs to wake people up....didn't one of the cast win an Oscar for playing her? Coincidence, I highly doubt. Imes was excellent, even that guy from Avatar was pretty good. Couldn't fault it. And it wasn't THAT confusing. Tbh, I had kind of guessed the 'huge' twist.
3 Tuesday, 24 August 2010 14:43
OMG, JGL IAC*? (*in a club) I'm jealous too.

I didn't see what the critic from The Times said. Mainly because my eyes were behind a paywall and I couldn't afford all five of my body's senses that week.

Add your comment

Your name:
Your website:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification: