Case Number 20337


Warner Bros. // 2010 // 148 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 16th, 2010

The Charge

"I specialize in a very specific kind of security."

Opening Statement

So there was this little heist movie that came out earlier in the year. You may have heard of it.

Facts of the Case

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island) just wants to get back to his family. On the run from the authorities, he's taken to a life of illegal mental espionage, where his team infiltrates a mark's dreams to steal information. His latest job may be his ticket home, though, when a powerful CEO (Ken Watanabe, Letters from Iwo Jima) asks him to take a whack at "Inception," the planting of an idea into a target's sub-conscious.

Dom accepts, assembles his team and enacts the most daring and dangerous scheme ever to be attempted in the world of subconscious penetration.

The Evidence

The straight dope: Inception is my favorite movie of the year. I'm not entirely sure it's the best (I'm having trouble seeing anything dethrone Toy Story 3 to be honest with you), but for sheer entertainment and spectacle and brain-churning sexiness, Christopher Nolan's topsy-turvy action epic has no peer.

At its core, Inception is basically a heist movie. You've got a team tasked with a seemingly impossible mission and that mission takes up a huge chunk of the runtime. Nolan peppers this gameplan with some involving character work from DiCaprio (a father trying to let go of the memory of his wife and get back to his kids packs an emotional wallop and Leo sells it), a prime-time brain-humping of a dream mythology and one of the greatest sustained action sequences ever devised.

Now, as ga-ga a Nolan fanboy as I am, and as much as Inception blew my skirt up, I have to admit...upon repeated viewings, the film and its tenuous architecture tends to shudder. It both rewards and confounds. And though the flaws aren't game-breakers (How come Fischer didn't recognize Saito in his dream? Why do those "couple of minutes" Arthur has to work with feel more like 30?), they gnaw a bit. But the rewards are bigger, trumping the weak links, as the complex dream architecture is spelled out clearer and Dom's backstory rings louder.

And as much pretentious fun I can have talking about the themes of reality and loss, for me Inception kicks so much balls thanks to its epic heist sequence. That whole stretch, spread out over four separate dream worlds, pushed with an aggressive Hans Zimmer score, is flat-out exhilarating. From his shaky beginnings as an action director in Batman Begins to this, Nolan has perfected the art of the adrenaline pounding sequence, and what he does here ranks as one of my all time favorites.

The Inception Blu-ray is a winner, sporting a crisp, high-end 1080p 2.40:1 transfer and an active DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. The big action sequences look terrific, especially the snow fort stuff, which pops off the screen. And when the sound gets ratcheted up to coincide with the more kinetic parts -- A/V porn baby!

Extras: The interactive behind-the-scenes Extraction Mode, a featurette on dream research, a comic prologue, 5.1 soundtrack selections from the score, conceptual and promo and BD-Live content, DVD copy, and a digital copy.

Closing Statement

There are smoke and mirrors at work, but Inception is big-ass coolness.

The Verdict

Not Guilty in all realities.

Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 90
Story: 95
Judgment: 92

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 148 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Extraction Mode
* Featurette
* Score Selections
* Comic Book
* Art Gallery
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* BD-Live

* IMDb

* Cinema Verdict Review