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Inception (****)
directed by Christopher Nolan
written by Christopher Nolan
Principal Cast
Leonardo DiCaprio -- Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt -- Arthur
Ellen Page -- Ariadne
Tom Hardy -- Eames
Ken Watanabe -- Saito
Dileep Rao -- Yusuf
Cillian Murphy -- Robert Fischer
Tom Berenger -- Peter Browning
Marion Cotillard -- Mal
Pete Postlethwaite -- Maurice Fischer
Michael Caine -- Miles
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

It's so nice to see an intelligent movie for a change. I can enjoy a dumb action flick or a sentimental tear-jerker as much as the next slob, but smart movies are so rare that this one calls for a celebration.

Critical reaction has been mixed. Some critics didn't understand it, others didn't like having to think so hard, others sincerely believe that the only purpose of art is to reveal human character, and that cleverness detracts from the purity of film. And some critics liked it. I'm more of a reviewer than a critic, but I liked it.

Inception is not the kind of nonsense I feared it would be when I first heard about it. I was afraid it would be another movie where you're dreaming and then you wake up but you're really still dreaming and only dreamed you woke up, but then you really wake up, but no, really you're still dreaming, ad infinitem. There is a little bit of that in the movie, but most of the story challenges the audience to follow a very complex plot, rather than trying to trick the audience into falling for special-effects razzle-dazzle. There are dreams within dreams, but most of the time the audience knows when that is happening.

So, does Inception make sense? I'm not sure. It makes more sense than most action films. It is not stupid. But it is complicated, and I'll have to see it a couple more times before I decide if it plays fair.

On the other hand, any screenwriter who knows enough physics to understand that inside an elevator you can't tell gravity from acceleration has my respect.

This is not Leonardo DiCaprio's best work but there are excellent actors in smaller parts, especially Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy.

And Inception is popular, proving wrong the conventional wisdom that nobody wants to see films that make you think. It is already #3 on the IMDB all time greats -- a little too soon, but a good sign for the future of smart science fiction films.

Imagine Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan.

Copyright © 2010 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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