Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Video review: "Inception"

With a few months' distance, "Inception" is looking more and more like the most audacious movies -- and certainly one of the finest -- of 2010.

Writer/director Christopher Nolan's ("The Dark Knight") fever dream of a sci-fi thriller puts together a team of thieves who steal into their victim's subconscious. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), the best in the business, has spent so much time in "dreamspace" that he has trouble discerning it from reality -- especially a projected image of his wife, who has the nasty habit of showing up to sabotage his missions.

Then Cobb receives the ultimate challenge: Tapping into the dreams of a multinational corporation CEO (Cillian Murphy) not to pilfer information, but to plant an idea that he'll think is his own. It's called inception, and it's dangerous and, most experts deem, impossible.

Yes, "Inception" has a plot so labyrinthine that it may require multiple viewings to make sense of it all -- which is why it's the type of movie that's a perfect fit with home video.

As Dom and his crew navigate twisty constructed realities -- lavishly rendered via computer animation -- the stakes keep getting higher the deeper they go.
What a thrill ride for the intellect.

Extra features are a bit scarce in the DVD version, but upgrade considerably with Blu-ray.
The DVD contains just four featurettes on the making of the film, mostly having to do with production design issues like creating the Japanese castle seen in the opening sequence.

The centerpiece of the Blu-ray features is "Extraction Mode" -- a pop-up feature with about 50 minutes of video covering many aspects of production.

Also interesting is "Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious," a 44-minute documentary hosted by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt talking to scientists specializing in dreams. One expert even likens dreaming to the everyday state of psychotic patients.

Other goodies: Art galleries, a 14-minute motion-comic prologue, a digital copy of the film, and the complete musical score by Hans Zimmer.

Movie: 3.5 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars

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