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Blu-ray Review: Inception
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Inception blu-rayInception
Blu-ray Combo Pack | DVD
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Paige, Marion Cotillard, Michael Cain, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe
Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Release date: December 7, 2010

American Beauty had a tagline that instructed us to “look closer.” Apply this instruction to Inception and see what lurks underneath the myriad of descriptions explaining what inception and extraction actually are. Adhering to a more surgical approach to Christopher Nolan’s film we will be granted what truly drives the movie. Looking closer we are no longer misconstrued by the esoteric explanations of dreams, but are firmly grooved along a rail that is undeviating in its approach of getting to the heart of the film: which is the wounded souls of two men who inhabit an unrelenting atmosphere of ceaseless action.

The true meaning of this film isn’t about penetrating through multiple layers of dreams, nor is it about an espionage heist. Inception, as psychologically brilliant as it is, is even more potent when it reveals that it has a heart; a heart so beaten down to a wounded mass that it is thriving to be resuscitated. It is this kind of heart that takes the film past the esoteric and psychological realms of excessive commotion and into the heights of the masses who can empathize with what it is like to have a heart that feels it cannot be mended. Here is Nolan channeling a universal theme of extreme grief. We are swimming in a pool of grief the entire span of the film (the brooding soundtrack is evidence). Hearts want to mend the past, dissipate the regret pervading its existence and get revenge on things eating away at it. Nolan created a character that had intact these same motivations in his hallmark film Memento. That film and Inception reveal men disconcerted with their current way of living, motivated by past events and regrets that have the potential to drive them mad.

Once we get past the expositional material of dreams that the film so fiercely and desperately clings on to, we can then plunge forward to a more humanly atmosphere that is abundantly full with Man’s primitive instincts; guilt, regret, hate, despair, loss. As Nolan tries to allow us to wrap our heads around the colossal ideas of dreams’ subconscious and unconscious states, he shows an equally colossal amount of emotion of trying to get us to wrap our heads around the wounded hearts of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy).

Dom is an expert extractor and has been intruding individuals’ dreams for some time now. An extractor is able to roam freely in the dreams of an individual who is induced into intense slumbers. Hook the slumbering individual up to Dom or any other extractor and it sends them into the dreams of the subject. Whatever secret the subject holds dearly it is the extractor’s job, along his with his dream team (most notably Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays an extractor and Ellen Page who is responsible for constructing the dream world), to discover where this secret is being hid within the subject’s dream. But once the extractor allows his subconscious to usurp his consciousness all hell can break lose within the dream. This has happened to Dom lately, allowing his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) to pervade his subconscious, putting everyone involved in the process of extraction in jeopardy.

This evokes the image of a consumed man in vindictive pursuit of a whale. His name is Captain Ahab. Ahab is plagued with the indescribable obsession of conquering the whale Moby Dick, allowing nothing into his existence other than the whale itself. Ahab puts his crew in turmoil on a consistent basis while searching the raging seas for this massive enigma. He won’t rest until he encounters it. Dom is Ahab. His crew is continually subjected to near death experiences because of his massive obsession with his wife. It is hard for him to attend to any other matter without her vigorously showing up in his subconscious. He cannot find a method to sedate his irrepressible memories of her.

Dom and his crew face other perils along the way, and another of them is the idea of inception. This idea is unfathomable amongst individuals involved in dream thievery. Its main idea is concerned with planting a foreign idea into an individual’s brain rather than extracting ideas from them. Saito (Ken Watanabe), a ridiculously wealthy business man, proposes that inception be done to Robert, whose father (on his deathbed) is Saito’s biggest rival and competition. If Cobb can place an idea that can ruin Robert, the heir to his father’s business, then Saito will be the most eminent business man left, and it would give Cobb the opportunity to go home, a place he is foreign to.

After all the vexatious discussions of dream architecture, thievery, inducements, jolts and multilayered excursions through the subconscious, “Inception” finds its niche when the wounded souls of Dom and Robert unite. Dom and his crew submerge as far as four layers into the subconscious of Robert. And it is only here where they can confront their personal demons and disambiguate the ambiguity consistent in their lives.

The crew’s initial excursion into Robert’s subconscious for means only pertaining to inception purposes soon takes a back seat when Dom and Robert both find it imperative to mend their wounded relationships and movie on in reality. Watch Dom embody Rick Blaine from Casablanca as he needs to come to a decision of whether to keep around his lover or to let her go. And watch Robert embody Charles Foster Kane as he detects what all the money and fame in the world could never accomplish – at true relationship with his father courtesy of an image from his childhood. Truth is what all these men desire to locate, and they are willing to attain it despite the consequences.

Inception shows just how complicated it is, via dreams, to eradicate guilt, regrets and memories from our minds. Nolan makes this evident in showcasing two men who need to go through multiple layers of the subconscious in order to liberate themselves from the feeling and memories that have played a vital role in shaping who they are.

HIGH-DEF PICTURE: Aesthetically Inception is beautiful. And this Blu-Ray transfer is amongst the best of the year. There isn’t a scene that doesn’t warrant a “whoa,” “wow” or “awwwwe.” In a specific scene when Dom gets dipped into a tub full of water, a drop of water, shown in slow-motion, is somehow brought to life, the blu-ray transfer instilling in it some breath of life. It is purely amazing. Before being called a visionary, Nolan obtains strongly the title of an astute and well respected aesthete. His creation of a multilayered dream world is breathtakingly immense, even usurping the immensity of The Dark Knight. The architecture of a particular dream world is bristling with fascinating detail that, in a cinematic way, proves to be indispensable. When we see Parisian buildings being folded on top of each other, trains traveling recklessly through congested streets and men fist fighting in a hotel corridor where gravity is obsolete, one realizes these miraculous violations of natural law and we dare not question them because we are embedded within a world of no limitations; a world of dreams. It is not impossible for us to revel in this surreal atmosphere.

3-Disc Exclusive Special Features:

Disc 1: Extraction Mode (HD 44mins); An in-movie experience to learn how Nolan, DiCaprio, and the rest of crew made the film a possibility after Nolan had been working on it for over nine years: An immersive experience. This mode works when a certain scene has an extraction mode part of it, making the film stop where it is, taking us into the making of that particular scene. But if you don’t want your film interrupted by this feature the option to “play all segments separately” is also available. This offers as a guide on how specifics were carried out during the film.

Exclusive Special Features: Disc 2: Behind the Story: Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious (HD 45mins); Levitt and leading scientists posit that our dreams are not an altered state of consciousness, but a fully functional parallel reality.

Inception: The Cobol Job (HD 15mins); This is a graphic-novelesque (motion comic) animated prologue to see how Cobb (DiCaprio) and Author(Levitt) came to be enlisted by Cobol Engineering to perform an extraction on Saito (Watanabe).

Project Somnacin: Confidential Files (HD); Log on to BD-Live and experience confidential files surrounding concepts of dreams.

5.1 Inception Soundtrack (HD 39mins); A great feature for those who admire the film’s perfect soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer.

Extras: Conceptual Art Gallery (HD); Detailing specific scenes in the film.

Promotional Art Archive (HD); Film’s posters and advertisements.

Trailers & TV Spots (HD)

Exclusive Special Features: Disc 3: DVD and Digital Copy versions of the film.

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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