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Movie Review: Inception

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In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am biased in favor of Christopher Nolan and his body of work. That having been said, I had my reasons for skepticism before watching his latest film, Inception.

The questions swirled in my mind: Usually Nolan either co-writes or uses source materials like a novel, comic or other screenplay; can he deliver a successful film that is all his own? This particular film looks ultra-confusing; can he manage to explain his vision coherently? How will he handle branching out with different actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt?

However, my fears were ultimately laid to rest as I watched Nolan’s story unfold. When I heard his initial description of Inception as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller “set within the architecture of the mind,” I had trouble wrapping my own mind around that concept. But Nolan manages to delicately describe this notion with surprising ease.

Not to give away too much, but essentially DiCaprio’s character is a thief who makes a living stealing ideas while inside his victims’ dreams… or dreams that someone has created for them. But his greatest challenge comes when he is given the task of placing an idea inside someone’s head, also known as inception.

Before I saw the film, I read an initial review that speaks of a specific scene that will become iconic for years to come. The problem is that I couldn’t identify such a scene; the film contains too many of them to narrow down. To give you an idea of the type of scenes I’m talking about, think The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or even Equilibrium. For Nolan fans like myself, Inception is similar to Nolan’s last non-Batman venture, The Prestige. It’s a thinker, it’s riveting, it’s suspenseful, and it’s a thriller to the end.

As one would expect with this high caliber of a cast, the acting is superb. Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt branch out from their recent indie-style films into Nolan’s universe of visionary blockbusters. Marion Cotillard is hauntingly brilliant in this film. Until I watched The Aviator, I was not a fan of DiCaprio. To me, he would always be that kid from Titanic and Romeo & Juliet. But building on his performances in The Aviator, The Departed, and Shutter Island, he delivers a fantastic performance with the lead role in Inception.

If I were to rate this one, it would be five stars out of five. It’s that good. Nolan has yet to disappoint me as a director. Upon hearing about Inception, I did not expect it to be worth putting off the third Batman film for. I was dead wrong. If you’re going to make a film like this, “Batman 3″ can wait.

Note: Inception is adequately rated PG-13. So many PG-13 movies these days flirt with the line between PG-13 and R, but I believe I can safely say that this one does not. If you’ve seen Nolan’s previous films, specifically The Dark Knight and The Prestige, you can use those as a gauge as to whether or not your kid should see it.

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