We have to trust him that he can lead us through, because much of the time we’re lost and disoriented. Nolan must have rewritten this story time and again, finding that every change had a ripple effect down through the whole fabric.
Watch Inception (2010), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie
A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O., but his tragic past may doom the project and his team to disaster.
Inception is a 2010 science fiction action film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who also produced the film with Emma Thomas, his wife. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a professional thief who steals information by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets. He is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for the implantation of another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious.
The ensemble cast includes Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page,[a] Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.
After the 2002 completion of Insomnia, Nolan presented to Warner Bros. a written 80-page treatment for a horror film envisioning “dream stealers,” based on lucid dreaming. Deciding he needed more experience before tackling a production of this magnitude and complexity, Nolan shelved the project and instead worked on 2005’s Batman Begins, 2006’s The Prestige, and The Dark Knight in 2008.
The treatment was revised over 6 months and was purchased by Warner in February 2009. Inception was filmed in six countries, beginning in Tokyo on June 19 and ending in Canada on November 22. Its official budget was $160 million, split between Warner Bros. and Legendary. Nolan’s reputation and success with The Dark Knight helped secure the film’s US$100 million in advertising expenditure.
Inception‘s premiere was held in London on July 8, 2010; it was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters beginning on July 16, 2010. Inception grossed over $828 million worldwide, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2010. Considered one of the best films of the 2010s, Inception won four Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects) and was nominated for four more: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score.
Inception (2010) Trailer
Inception (2010) Reviews
It’s a breathtaking juggling act, and Nolan may have considered his “Memento” (2000) a warm-up; he apparently started this screenplay while filming that one. It was the story of a man with short-term memory loss, and the story was told backwards.
Like the hero of that film, the viewer of “Inception” is adrift in time and experience. We can never even be quite sure what the relationship between dream time and real time is. The hero explains that you can never remember the beginning of a dream, and that dreams that seem to cover hours may only last a short time. Yes, but you don’t know that when you’re dreaming. And what if you’re inside another man’s dream? How does your dream time synch with his? What do you really know?
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a corporate raider of the highest order. He infiltrates the minds of other men to steal their ideas. Now he is hired by a powerful billionaire to do the opposite: To introduce an idea into a rival’s mind, and do it so well he believes it is his own. This has never been done before; our minds are as alert to foreign ideas as our immune system is to pathogens. The rich man, named Saito (Ken Watanabe), makes him an offer he can’t refuse, an offer that would end Cobb’s forced exile from home and family.
Cobb assembles a team, and here the movie relies on the well-established procedures of all heist movies. We meet the people he will need to work with: Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his longtime associate; Eames (Tom Hardy), a master at deception; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a master chemist. And there is a new recruit, Ariadne (Ellen Page), a brilliant young architect who is a prodigy at creating spaces.
Cobb also goes to touch base with his father-in-law Miles (Michael Caine), who knows what he does and how he does it. These days Michael Caine need only appear on a screen and we assume he’s wiser than any of the other characters. It’s a gift.
Saito wants him to initiate ideas that will lead to the surrender of his rival’s corporation. Cobb needs Ariadne to create a deceptive maze-space in Fischer’s dreams so that (I think) new thoughts can slip in unperceived. Is it a coincidence that Ariadne is named for the woman in Greek mythology who helped Theseus escape from the Minotaur’s labyrinth?
Cobb tutors Ariadne on the world of dream infiltration, the art of controlling dreams and navigating them. Nolan uses this as a device for tutoring us as well. And also as the occasion for some of the movie’s astonishing special effects, which seemed senseless in the trailer but now fit right in. The most impressive to me takes place (or seems to) in Paris, where the city literally rolls back on itself like a roll of linoleum tile.
Protecting Fischer are any number of gun-wielding bodyguards, who may be working like the mental equivalent of antibodies; they seem alternatively real and figurative, but whichever they are, they lead to a great many gunfights, chase scenes and explosions, which is the way movies depict conflict these days. So skilled is Nolan that he actually got me involved in one of his chases, when I thought I was relatively immune to scenes that have become so standard. That was because I cared about who was chasing and being chased.
If you’ve seen any advertising at all for the film, you know that its architecture has a way of disregarding gravity. Buildings tilt. Streets coil. Characters float. This is all explained in the narrative. The movie is a perplexing labyrinth without a simple through-line, and is sure to inspire truly endless analysis on the web.
Nolan helps us with an emotional thread. The reason Cobb is motivated to risk the dangers of inception is because of grief and guilt involving his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), and their two children. More I will not (in a way, cannot) say. Cotillard beautifully embodies the wife in an idealized way. Whether we are seeing Cobb’s memories or his dreams is difficult to say–even, literally, in the last shot. But she makes Mal function as an emotional magnet, and the love between the two provides an emotional constant in Cobb’s world, which is otherwise ceaselessly shifting.
The movies often seem to come from the recycling bin these days: Sequels, remakes, franchises. “Inception” does a difficult thing. It is wholly original, cut from new cloth, and yet structured with action movie basics so it feels like it makes more sense than (quite possibly) it does. I thought there was a hole in “Memento:” How does a man with short-term memory loss remember he has short-term memory loss?
Maybe there’s a hole in “Inception” too, but I can’t find it. Christopher Nolan reinvented “Batman.” This time he isn’t reinventing anything. Yet few directors will attempt to recycle “Inception.” I think when Nolan left the labyrinth, he threw away the map.
Inception (2010) Credits
Michael Caine as Miles
Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer Jr.
Tom Berenger as Browning
Dileep Rao as Yusuf
Marion Cotillard as Mal
Ellen Page as Ariadne
Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur
Tom Hardy as Eames
Pete Postlethwaite as Maurice Fischer
Ken Watanabe as Saito
Written and directed by
- Christopher Nolan
Inception (2010) Plot
Cobb and Arthur are “extractors”; they perform corporate espionage using experimental dream-sharing technology to infiltrate their targets’ subconscious and extract information.
Their latest target, Saito, is impressed with Cobb’s ability to layer multiple dreams within each other and offers to hire Cobb for the supposedly impossible job of implanting an idea into a person’s subconscious; performing “inception” on Robert, the son of Saito’s competitor Maurice Fischer, with the idea to dissolve his father’s company. Saito promises to clear Cobb’s criminal status, allowing him to return home to his children.
Cobb accepts the offer and assembles his team: a forger named Eames, a chemist named Yusuf, and a college student named Ariadne. Ariadne is tasked with designing the dream’s architecture, something Cobb himself cannot do for fear of being sabotaged by a projection of his late wife Mal.
Maurice dies, and the team sedates Robert into a three-layer shared dream on a plane to America. Time on each layer runs slower than the layer above, with one member staying behind on each to perform a music-synchronized “kick” to awaken dreamers on all three levels simultaneously.
The team abducts Robert in a city on the first level but is attacked by his subconscious projections. After Saito is wounded, Cobb reveals that while dying in the dream would normally awaken dreamers, Yusuf’s sedatives will instead send them into “Limbo”: a world of infinite subconscious. Eames impersonates Robert’s godfather, Peter Browning, to introduce the idea of an alternate will to dissolve the company.
Cobb tells Ariadne that he and Mal entered Limbo while experimenting with dream-sharing, experiencing fifty years in one night due to the time dilation with reality. Mal refused to return to reality, and Cobb instead performed inception on her to convince her. After waking up, Mal still believed she was dreaming. Attempting to “wake up”, she committed suicide and framed Cobb to force him to do the same. Cobb fled the U.S., leaving his children behind.
Yusuf drives the team around the first level as they are sedated into the second level, a hotel dreamed by Arthur. Cobb persuades Robert that he has been kidnapped by Browning to stop the dissolution and that Cobb is a defensive projection, leading Robert yet another level deeper as part of a ruse to enter Robert’s subconscious.
In the third level, the team infiltrates an alpine fortress with a projection of Maurice inside, where the inception itself can be performed, however Yusuf performs his kick too soon by driving off a bridge, forcing Arthur and Eames to improvise a new set of kicks synchronized with them hitting the water by rigging an elevator and the fortress respectively with explosives. Mal then appears and kills Robert before he can be subjected to the inception and he and Saito are lost into Limbo, forcing Cobb and Ariadne to rescue them in time for Robert’s inception and Eames’s kick.
Cobb makes peace with Mal’s death. Ariadne kills Mal’s projection and wakes Robert up with a kick. Revived into the third level, he discovers the planted idea: his dying father telling him to create something for himself. While Cobb searches for Saito in Limbo, the others ride the kicks back to reality. Cobb finds an aged Saito and reminds him of their agreement. The dreamers all awaken on the plane, and Saito makes a phone call.
Arriving at L.A., Cobb passes the immigration checkpoint and his father-in-law accompanies him to his home. Cobb uses Mal’s “totem” – a top that spins indefinitely in a dream – to test if he is indeed in the real world, but chooses not to observe the result and instead joins his children.
Inception (2010) Box office
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|United States||North America||International||Worldwide||All-time United States||All-time worldwide|
|Inception||July 2010||US$292,576,195||US$532,956,569||US$825,532,764||No. 80||No. 67||US$160,000,000|
Inception was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on July 16, 2010. The film had its world premiere at Leicester Square in London on July 8, 2010. In the United States and Canada, Inception was released theatrically in 3,792 conventional theaters and 195 IMAX theaters. The film grossed US$21.8 million during its opening day on July 16, 2010, with midnight screenings in 1,500 locations.
Overall the film made US$62.7 million and debuted at No.1 on its opening weekend. Inception‘s opening weekend gross made it the second-highest-grossing debut for a science fiction film that was not a sequel, remake or adaptation, behind Avatar‘s US$77 million opening-weekend gross in 2009. The film held the top spot of the box office rankings in its second and third weekends, with drops of just 32% (US$42.7 million) and 36% (US$27.5 million), respectively, before dropping to second place in its fourth week, behind The Other Guys.
Inception grossed US$292 million in the United States and Canada, US$56 million in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta and US$475 million in other countries for a total of US$823 million worldwide. Its five highest-grossing markets after the US and Canada (US$292 million) were China (US$68 million), the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta (US$56 million), France and the Maghreb region (US$43 million), Japan (US$40 million) and South Korea (US$38 million).
It was the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2010 in North America, and the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2010, behind Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Inception is the third most lucrative production in Christopher Nolan’s career—behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises—and the second most for Leonardo DiCaprio—behind Titanic.
Inception (2010) Critical Response
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 361 reviews, with an average rating of 8.10/10. The website’s critical consensus reads: “Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.” Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “B+” on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called Inception a “wildly ingenious chess game,” and concluded “the result is a knockout.”
Justin Chang of Variety praised the film as “a conceptual tour de force” and wrote, “applying a vivid sense of procedural detail to a fiendishly intricate yarn set in the labyrinth of the unconscious mind, the writer-director has devised a heist thriller for surrealists, a Jungian’s Rififi, that challenges viewers to sift through multiple layers of (un)reality.” Jim Vejvoda of IGN rated the film as perfect, deeming it “a singular accomplishment from a filmmaker who has only gotten better with each film.”
Relevant‘s David Roark called it Nolan’s “greatest accomplishment,” saying, “Visually, intellectually and emotionally, Inception is a masterpiece.”
In its August 2010 issue, Empire magazine gave the film a full five stars and wrote, “it feels like Stanley Kubrick adapting the work of the great sci-fi author William Gibson […] Nolan delivers another true original: welcome to an undiscovered country.”
Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the film a B+ grade and wrote, “It’s a rolling explosion of images as hypnotizing and sharply angled as any in a drawing by M. C. Escher or a state-of-the-biz video game; the backwards splicing of Nolan’s own Memento looks rudimentary by comparison.”
The New York Post‘s Lou Lumenick gave the film a four-star rating and wrote, “DiCaprio, who has never been better as the tortured hero, draws you in with a love story that will appeal even to non-sci-fi fans.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a full four stars and said that Inception “is all about process, about fighting our way through enveloping sheets of reality and dream, reality within dreams, dreams without reality. It’s a breathtaking juggling act.”
Richard Roeper, also of the Sun-Times, gave Inception an “A+” score and called it “one of the best movies of the [21st] century.” BBC Radio 5 Live’s Mark Kermode named Inception as the best film of 2010, stating that “Inception is proof that people are not stupid, that cinema is not trash, and that it is possible for blockbusters and art to be the same thing.”
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, “I found myself wishing Inception were weirder, further out […] the film is Nolan’s labyrinth all the way, and it’s gratifying to experience a summer movie with large visual ambitions and with nothing more or less on its mind than (as Shakespeare said) a dream that hath no bottom.” TIME magazine’s Richard Corliss wrote that the film’s “noble intent is to implant one man’s vision in the mind of a vast audience […] The idea of moviegoing as communal dreaming is a century old.
With Inception, viewers have a chance to see that notion get a state-of-the-art update.” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times felt that Nolan was able to blend “the best of traditional and modern filmmaking. If you’re searching for smart and nervy popular entertainment, this is what it looks like.” USA Today‘s Claudia Puig gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars and felt that Nolan “regards his viewers as possibly smarter than they are—or at least as capable of rising to his inventive level. That’s a tall order.
But it’s refreshing to find a director who makes us stretch, even occasionally struggle, to keep up.”
Not all reviewers gave the film positive reviews. New York magazine’s David Edelstein claimed in his review that he had “no idea what so many people are raving about. It’s as if someone went into their heads while they were sleeping and planted the idea that Inception is a visionary masterpiece and—hold on … Whoa! I think I get it.
The movie is a metaphor for the power of delusional hype—a metaphor for itself.” The New York Observer‘s Rex Reed explained that the film’s development was “pretty much what we’ve come to expect from summer movies in general and Christopher Nolan movies in particular … [it] doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment to me.”
A. O. Scott of The New York Times commented “there is a lot to see in Inception, there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolan’s idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, and too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness.” The New Yorker‘s David Denby considered the film to “not nearly [be] as much fun as Nolan imagined it to be”, concluding that “Inception is a stunning-looking film that gets lost in fabulous intricacies, a movie devoted to its own workings and to little else.”
While some critics have tended to view the film as perfectly straightforward, and even criticize its overarching themes as “the stuff of torpid platitudes,” online discussion has been much more positive. Heated debate has centered on the ambiguity of the ending, with many critics like Devin Faraci making the case that the film is self-referential and tongue-in-cheek, both a film about film-making and a dream about dreams.
Other critics read Inception as Christian allegory and focus on the film’s use of religious and water symbolism. Yet other critics, such as Kristin Thompson, see less value in the ambiguous ending of the film and more in its structure and novel method of storytelling, highlighting Inception as a new form of narrative that revels in “continuous exposition”.
Several critics and scholars have noted the film has many striking similarities to the 2006 anime film Paprika by Satoshi Kon (and Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1993 novel of the same name), including plot similarities, similar scenes, and similar characters, arguing that Inception was influenced by Paprika. Several sources have also noted plot similarities between the film and the 2002 Uncle Scrooge comic The Dream of a Lifetime by Don Rosa. The influence of Tarkovsky’s Solaris on Inception was noted as well.
Inception (2010) Accolades
The film won many awards in technical categories, such as Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects, and the British Academy Film Awards for Best Production Design, Best Special Visual Effects and Best Sound.
In most of its artistic nominations, such as Film, Director, and Screenplay at the Oscars, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, the film was defeated by The Social Network or The King’s Speech. However, the film did win the two highest honors for a science fiction or fantasy film: the 2011 Bradbury Award for best dramatic production and the 2011 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form).
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