AWFJ Women On Film – “Inception” – Review by Susan Granger

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Just as James Cameron fashioned a far-distant world in “Avatar,” Christopher Nolan has created an even more intriguing inner world in this terrifying new sci-fi thriller.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a master of extraction. Trained in high-stakes corporate espionage and the use of psychotropic drugs, he steals thoughts that are buried deep in the subconscious when the mind is most vulnerable. Problem is: he’s now an international fugitive, unable to return to his family in the United States. So when a wealthy, mysterious businessman (Ken Watanabe) offers him a way home, Cobb agrees to perform a far more dangerous feat: to implant an idea in the brain of an industrialist heir (Cillian Murphy).

Clever, always inventive writer/director Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight,” “Memento”) is fascinated by the relationship between waking life and dreaming particularly, as he says, by the fact that “everything within a dream – whether frightening or happy or fantastic – is being produced by your own mind, and what that says about the potential of the imagination is quite extraordinary.”

As a result, Nolan’s stylish, illusory dreamscapes defy the laws of time and physics, like an arresting Parisian cityscape folding in upon itself and an eye-popping chase sequence with weightless participants bouncing off walls in zero gravity. While revealing a dazzling myriad of mercurial perils that lurk in the subconscious, Nolan never violates the ingenious internal logic of his complex, sophisticated concept.

Delivering a multi-layered performance, Leonardo DiCaprio (“Shutter Island”) embodies a desperate man, haunted by secrets, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“500 Days of Summer”) as his trusted colleague, handling the high-tech details. Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”) is Cobb’s late wife/the love of his life, and Ellen Page (“Juno”) is a brilliant architecture student who’s intrigued by the opportunity to design and build interlocking, maze-like structures that don’t exist in reality. Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Pete Postlethwaite, Tom Hardy and Dileep Rao add pivotal support.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Inception” is a tantalizing, tension-filled, mind-bending, time-twisting 10. It’s the most exciting thrill-ride of the summer.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.