TMG Scale 6.0 (This movie failed to live up to my dreams)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Michael Caine
Think The Wizard of Oz meets Shelter Island and you might enjoy this film. But ‘Blockbuster’ of the summer it is not. It should be a ‘Redbox’ rental soon. TMG gives this film high marks for a great script idea, great special effects and great visuals and sound. Seeing this flick in IMAX is a must. The kudos stop there.
DiCaprio plays a guy named “Cobb” who is otherwise quite unexplained in the movie. Was he a scientist gone mad? A gifted mind reader turned international crook? Or a leftover from Men Who Stare at Goats? It is very unclear. Cobb is financed by a rich Asian guy to use a special machine to share dreams and probe others “inner safes” of information. The concept of knowing when you are dreaming and being able to actively manage that brain function, and then share it with others is provocative, if not literally mind-blowing. But Inception got lost somewhere after conception.
What doesn’t work in this film is DiCaprio’s character. We didn’t buy him as Howard Hughes and not sure TMG can embrace the admittedly talented DiCaprio as any adult figure. He just looks like a kid who still cannot grow a decent mustache. While TMG just loved Ellen Page in Juno, she was totally miscast in this film. She needs more time doing films with Jonah Hill and Michael Cera to take her seriously yet.
Teenagers will likely rejoice coming out of this film with descriptions like “totally awesome” and “I hear Apple is coming out with a machine like that dream thing.” Most adults I observed were more reserved and just worried they may have some weird dreams tonight. While it was fun to contemplate the question “Can I have a dream in a dream?” most had pretty much moved on and were wondering if they should have seen Salt instead? [TMG hears those coming out of Salt were wondering the exact inverse question.]
TMG simply expected something more. Great films often have a simple concept and plot. Hollywood needs to come to grips with the reality that just making an outrageously complex and confusing plot will not not bring all the stars into alignment. TMG advises you to go see Please Give instead and you will sleep better tonight.