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SheWired's Unlikely Reviews: 'Inception,' Dreaming with Ellen Page

SheWired's Unlikely Reviews: 'Inception,' Dreaming with Ellen Page

In nearly two and a half hours, "Inception" manages to be many things, but boring is never one of them. Directed as well as written by Christopher Nolan, "Inception" is dark, intense, beautiful, and mind-bogglingly captivating. I have to put great emphasis on “mind boggling,” as the plot revolves around the inner workings of the human mind during its dreaming state. 'Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and little lesbian favorite Ellen Page.

In nearly two and a half hours, Inception manages to be many things, but boring is never one of them. Directed as well as written by Christopher Nolan (remember a little film called The Dark Knight, anyone?), Inception is dark, intense, beautiful, and mind-bogglingly captivating. I have to put great emphasis on “mind boggling,” as the plot revolves around the inner workings of the human mind during its dreaming state. It’s jumbled business and exactly what’s going on is often blurred, but what else can one expect from a dream? The fact that Inception manages to remain clear enough to maintain a steady, mostly comprehensible plot is in itself impressive. 

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Cobb, a deeply troubled man whose job is to create a dreamworld for a particular subject, then try to uncover that subject’s deepest secrets from within the dream. Unfortunately, He’s haunted by Mal, his dead ex-wife, who’s dream-self has a tendency to show up at remarkably inconvenient times and wreak havoc. Marion Cotillard is chilling in her portrayal of Mal, who is forever trapped alone in a nightmare. She is both the beauty and the beast, a violently desperate woman who is just as confused about her own existence as the audience is. Marion glows with innocence while tearing worlds apart -- a job that’s not easy to master. 

The majority of the film focuses on Cobb’s last job, which he believes will finally take him home to his family. His masterful team includes indie regular Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his straight-laced partner; Ken Watanabe the bad guy/good guy who hired Cobb for the job; Tom Hardy as the charming muscle; Dileep Rao as the chemist who keeps the group sleeping; and Ellen Page as a prodigy architect who gets into much more than she ever dreamed of. Together the motley crew must achieve something new -- “inception”, or implanting an idea into someone’s head rather than taking one out. Trying to follow this plot step-by-step will only lead to unnecessary confusion. Personally, I could only enjoy the film fully once I accepted plot holes and filled them in with my own inferences. 

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Inception is truly a unique, visually stunning film. Some of the abundant fight scenes seem to go on a bit too long, but just when they get boring, the dream setting kicks in and the action becomes breathtaking. Kudos to cinematographer Wally Pfister, who should earn an Oscar nomination at the least. Still, Inception could never have come alive without the dedication of the extremely talented cast. I have to applaud Leonardo DiCaprio, who especially after Shutter Island, has perfected his “What the HELL is going on here?!?” look. He carries the movie powerfully, making sense of a character who is so painfully flawed that he can’t even keep his own team safe anymore. However, while Leo may be great, and a surprise cameo by gorgeous Brit Tallulah Riley is deeply appreciated, I must say the biggest Inception draw for me since it was first announced is Ellen Page, and she does not disappoint.

It would be easy for Ellen’s character Ariadne to get lost in the fray, but she stays strong, even becoming the driving force of the group’s entire survival. Ariadne’s the youngest and by far the most precocious of the group, sticking her nose into anything and everything that could get her in trouble (and thankfully so, as it gets Ellen much more screen time). For those who argued that Ellen would always be perceived as the fast-talking hipster Juno, Inception is yet more proof that Ellen is a enormously versatile talent who deserves every ounce of recognition she receives and more. Ariadne could easily have been an irritating annoyance, but Ellen gives her a mature depth that makes the character a hero rather than just another youthfully naive brainiac. 

It is particularly refreshing to see that Ellen is able to star in massive summer blockbusters while keeping to her indie roots. Her other most recent film, Peacock, starring Cillian Murphy as a schizophrenic man who happens to be his own wife, was just released on DVD. It’s a slow, baffling film and Ellen is underused, but it’s good to know she’s still out there rocking the indie scene. As for her upcoming projects, Ellen will be co-starring in Super along with Rainn Wilson and Liv Tyler. She is also listed in 2011’s Freeheld, based on the true story of Stacie Andree and Laurel Hester, girlfriends whose fight for pension benefits following Hester’s diagnosis of terminal cancer has already been turned into an Oscar-winning documentary. 

For those of you who just aren’t satisfied with waiting around for Ellen’s next big-screen venture, check out some of her lesser-known projects. I recommend The Tracey Fragments, a gritty, low-budget indie with a plot that makes Inception look like Goodnight Moon. Ellen’s in her element though, and it’s a must-see for any fan. And if you haven’t already, check out the nail-bitingly intense indie Hard Candy, in which a much younger Ellen takes down a supposed pedophile with stomach-churning bluntness. Still, while these films may be fantastic, it's good to know that Ellen is alive and well in theaters across the nation. Ellen Page is no ordinary actresses, Inception is no ordinary movie, and together they make for one brilliant cinematic experience. 

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