McNeill Mullikin’s review published on Letterboxd:
“They say we only use a fraction of our brain’s true potential. Now that’s when we’re awake. When we’re asleep, we can do almost anything.” - Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio)
Inception is my favorite movie of all time. Christopher Nolan is my favorite director of all time, and he made this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio is my favorite actor of all time, and he stars in this movie. Science-fiction and thriller are my favorite genres, and Inception is both of those. How could I not love this movie? This is a movie I have seen nearly ten times now, and it is a gripping experience every time.
Inception is a science-fiction, action, crime, thriller (it combines a lot of awesome genres) that is centered around the concept of a skilled extractor who is tasked with illegally planting an idea inside of someone’s mind within a dream. This is an extremely well made movie on every level. The script, the acting, the visual effects, and the score are all equally amazing, and collectively it is what makes Inception a monumental film.
The concept of Inception is immensely complex. There are so many intricate details and rules that come with this story, and they enable this plot to be fascinating. Inception is a movie that could have easily fallen flat on its face with plot holes because of how complicated this plot is, but it doesn’t. Christopher Nolan wrote this script meticulously. This script is absolutely brilliant. Every detail in this film matters, and every detail that is brought to attention has some form of payoff by the end of the movie. It is all because Christopher Nolan is a genius.
Dreams play a major role in this plot, and that heavily factors into my natural gravitation towards this film. Dreams are bizarre and mysterious, and that is what makes them so interesting. There are many elements of dreams that are featured in Inception. For instance, there are transitions in this movie that transition like a real life dream would. Sometimes within the dreams in the movie, a location during a conversation might randomly change, and that is exactly how dreams work.
Another example would be the skill of Tom Hardy’s character, Eames. He is a skilled identity forger. In these shared dreams he can make himself appear as if he is somebody else. People changing into somebody else within a dream is something that commonly happens in dreams. The interesting thing though is that Christopher Nolan wrote these abstract concepts into the movie while being backed up with logic for the story. He managed to take a real life concept, that is abstract on an infinite level, find patterns within it and articulately apply rules to it in a way that makes sense logically. I think that’s extremely impressive.
Inception is a movie that is driven by its concepts and its plot, so not every character is thoroughly developed. That makes sense for this movie because it is not a movie that calls for every character to have a satisfying arc. It is the concept that is moving forward and the expansion of the world and ideas of the movie that keeps viewers engaged. However, the acting in this movie is still great, and Leonardo DiCaprio is the standout in this film. DiCaprio was able to showcase his character’s (Dom Cobb) intellect while also expressing his emotional struggles.
Though I really like the character of Dom Cobb, I do not believe this is the best performance of Leonardo DiCaprio’s career, but I do believe he did exactly what he needed to with this role. This is not a movie that calls for a “performance of a life time,” this is a movie that is driven by its concept. Yes, Dom Cobb is the central character, and he has a full character arc, but the convolution of the movie is what is generally discussed. As for the other performances in the film, I think the actors and actresses executed these roles exactly the way this movie called for. The acting in Inception is great.
Without the visual effects and the cinematography in this movie, Inception would not be the same. This movie is stunning for the eyes. The visual effects bring this movie to life. The scene where Ariadne begins messing with the physics of the dream reality during her lessons with Cobb displays unique special effects, especially when she folded the city. Also, the city designed in “Limbo” is intriguing to look at, and the visuals of that scenery are astonishing. I also love the shots of the mountains covered in snow in the final act. Those shots are absolutely breathtaking. Obviously, the zero gravity fight scene is phenomenal as well. There are so many visual aspects of this film that I love, but these specific visual features I think are the most notable. Inception‘s visual effects are some of the best throughout the history of cinema.
Hans Zimmer’s score heightens the thrills in Inception. This distinctly memorable score becomes very intense in the final act of the film. It is a primary reason as to why the final act feels so grand and powerful. Zimmer’s score is exciting, suspenseful, and emotional. It captures all of the emotions it needs to for this film. The score of this movie is amazing. Hans Zimmer is one of the best composers working today, and he was the perfect choice for this film.
The last important quality of Inception is the ending. I will never forget when I first experienced this ending. Instantly, it became my favorite ending of all time. I know there is a lot about this movie that I consider to be my all time favorite, but it is just simply true. The ending is beautifully ambiguous, and it is meant to be that way. It is up for the viewer to decide what the ending means. The reason that Dom Cobb’s character arc is so satisfying is because he chose the reality the movie indicates it concludes with, and he was able to leave his past behind. I think Inception has one of the most rewarding endings ever.
There is a lot about Inception I consider to be my favorite of all time: the movie itself, the director, the lead actor, the ending. The list could go on, and I genuinely believe that Inception is one of the greatest, if not the greatest movie ever made. Inception is the movie that opened my stubborn sixteen year old mind to movies outside of the comic-book genre and Star Wars.
When I first watched Inception, it changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true. I had always been interested in abstract concepts, but when I first watched Inception, it made me realize that movies can explore the intellectual ideas I was interested in. It transformed me into the movie buff I have become, and from that moment, I have always been exploring the world of film and appreciating it as an art form. I will never forget my initial reaction to the ending of this film and how it left my mind stimulated for days. Inception has stuck with me from the first time I watched it, and I do not know how any movie could replace its title as my favorite movie of all time.
“Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” - Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio)