Movie Review: Inception and Udaan



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Film: Inception

Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan

Lead Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watambe, Tom Hardy

Rating: 8.5/10 – A classic in the making

Statutary Warning: If you have never before tried understanding how dreams work, you will have difficulty in understanding the details and nuances in this film. A primer on dream interpretations would help you relish the movie completely. I am serious!

I had become a fan of Christopher Nolan when I had seen The Prestige. Memento’s reputation made me see that also and I was utterly bewildered to see a thriller in reverse chronological order! Only Nolan could have thought of that. Then in The Dark Night, he crafted a villainous icon out of The Joker. And we thought maybe we had seen enough of Nolan.

But how wrong we were! With Inception, Nolan has surpassed his own brilliance! As many people have pointed out, this is one movie which, like Matrix, “rewards intelligence.” It has a story so complex and so multilayered (literally) that if you have the patience to watch and understand what’s going on, you will get the cinematic experience of a lifetime. If you thought Memento was bizarre and a mind teaser, try Inception. Chances are, you won’t get the whole story in one go and like me, would want to get hold of a DVD copy to fill out the missing chunks.

The film is set at a time when corporate espionage has been taken to the psychic level. A time when professional extractors can steal an idea from your mind in your dream. And Dom Cobb (Leonardo) is the best in this extracting business. He and his team are masters at extracting ideas from the mind of their “subject,” a gift that has made Cobb an international fugitive, with a major corporation putting a bounty on his head.

But if you can extract an idea from a subject’s mind can you also plant it? So surreptitiously that the subject thinks of it as his/her own idea? Is inception possible? According to Cobb, yes. Cobb says he has successfully experimented inception before. An experiment that went so horribly wrong that it made him emotionally crippled for life. Cobb is in search of redemption, from the mistakes he had committed earlier, so that he can go back to his family, his kids.

Saito (Ken Watambe) offers Cobb that chance. In return he will have to plant an idea in the mind of a business rival. Cobb takes the assignment and puts together his team. Their plan is to invade the dream of Robert Ficher Jr., the business heir whose mind is to be incepted with an idea. How do they plan to do it? By creating a dream architecture, three levels deep. Yeah, you heard it right! A dream within a dream, which in turn, is within another dream! The rest of the movie is all about this mission. But more than just being a sci fi thriller, this film is also a touching drama of a man emotionally torn apart by the choices he has made.

Nolan has taken script writing to a different level altogether with this film. You have four alternate dream realities running simultaneously and not for a moment do you find anything amiss anywhere. It took Nolan eight years to write this script and you could not have expected a better job than this.

The cinematography, editing and mesmerizing special effects brilliantly showcase the dream world where anything can happen. A world which doesn’t follow traditional laws of physics. What this film will always be remembered for is the scientific and astounding visual depiction of the dream world in all it’s lucidity. A mere “kick” in real world may translate to an avalanche in a dream. A free fall from a bridge in one dream may translate to a zero gravity world in a deeper level dream.

And saying that Di Caprio and the ensemble cast of this film gave phenomenal performances would be an understatement. With inception, Di Caprio has added another diamond to his already star studded oeuvre of stellar performances. Ellen Page (Juno) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer) matched Di Caprio step by step.

Bottomline

Go, watch this movie! Even if that means letting the film makers tease your mind for more than two hours. Even if that means discussing and arguing animatedly about the various “points” which you want clarification on, long after the movie is over. Don’t waste time reading reviews!

Film: Udaan

Director: Vikramaditya Motwane

Lead Cast: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor, Ayan Boradia.

Rating: 8/10 – A coming-of-age story told with heart warming sincerity and compassion

“Choti Choti, Chitrayi Yadein, Bichhi Hui hain lamho ki lau me.

Nange pair upar chalte chalte itne door aa gaye, ki ab bhool gaye hum joote kahan utare the.

Realism in Bollywood is as alien a concept as our song and dance routine is in Hollywood. You do have the occasional exceptions from film makers like Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bharadwaj, Prakash Jha or Mani Ratnam. But even in their efforts drama takes precedence and the subtleties of everyday life get overshadowed by star power.

That’s why Udaan felt like a breath of fresh air. It has no stars and not fancy sets and costumes. What it has is a simple, realistic and touching story of a teenager, struggling to balance his dreams, his inner world of poetry and stories with the harsh realities of his everyday life.

After scripting the success of Dev D, debutante director Vikramaditya Motwane tried his hand at direction. And does a fabulous job. So does the debutante actor Rajat Barmecha as the teenager protagonist Rohan, a poet and writer at heart who has to fend for himself in a world where his own father is his worst nightmare. His father Bhairav (Ronit Roy) is a heartless, self centered, alcoholic martinet who wants his son to be an engineer and work in his factory. Rohan’s dreams mean nothing to him, father son relation mean nothing to him, love and compassion mean nothing to him. It was so easy for the film makers to project Bhairav as the ultimate villain who is out to destroy the life of his own son. But thankfully, they took the trouble of explaining why the man is so heartless and why some people just can’t change, no matter what. In fact, the most striking thing about this movie is the honest characterization.

Sandwitched between the father son tussle is the innocent childhood of Arjun (played brilliantly by Ayan Boradia), Rohan’s six year old, younger brother born from the second wife of Bhairav. For the most part he remains silent. But his adorable gestures and his eyes speak much more than any dialog could ever had. The film is all about how Rohan and Arjun cope up with the tyrannies of their own father, get sympathized by their uncle Jimmy (Ram Kapoor) and how adverse situations finally force Rohan to break free. Udaan is the story of this flight of a teenager into adulthood.

Like in real life, there are genuine comic moments in the film. The dialogs are colloquial and the Hindi spoken by the characters have a distinct Jamshedpuri/Bihari flavor to it, heightening the effect of realism. The poems recited by Rohan, summarise the story in a few lines.

Bottomline:

Udaan is a fine example of what contemporary Indian Cinema strives to be. What it should be. If you loved Tare Zameen Par, you wouldn’t regret watching this one either. It is powered not by stars, but by fine, realistic and bold storytelling.



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6 Comments to “Movie Review: Inception and Udaan”

  1. As always, an awesome review for both the movies.
    I was also waiting for ‘Tere Bin Laden’ heard it is worth a watch 😉

    I am dying to watch Inception as soon as I get time this week.

    Thank you for the review!!

    • Thanks Shahnaz for the comment 🙂 Tere Bin Laden is a good movie from what i heard. But given the glut of good movies released this weekend, I chose the best two from the lot. And I was rewarded with two awesome movie, one extremely cerebral, one extremely emotional.

  2. A very well written review with some finely chosen words and pieces of vocabulary. Really liked going through it … The trailers just added to the FUN ! (I’ll add it to my post as well)

    Have seen “Inception” and I agree with all of your points. BTW, UDAAN might come on my home LCD … 🙂

    Great going for you ….

    Regards,
    H.

    • Thanks Hardik! Yes, videos add to the fun of any movie review. That’s why i always add them in all my reviews. And if Udaan does come on your LCD, trust me, you will not regret it! 🙂

  3. I enjoyed Inception, too. I think I’m going to have to go see it more than once just to clarify a few points, but Christopher Nolan’s films are well worth any extra effort you have to go to, to understand the end product. He really gives you your money’s worth and makes you think. Shiv, when you were watching his earlier films, did you get a chance to see his first feature film, FOLLOWING ? It’s a wonderful, weird film noir piece, all in black and white that he did just before MEMENTO. Here’s a link to the trailer, I think that IFC, the Independent Film Channel is going to rerelease it “on demand” soon, if you can get it, you would really like it! That Nolan just doesn’t like a straight “Point A to Point B” plotline, does he? 🙂 http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi948504089/

    Thanks for the recommendation for Udaan…I’ll check it out even if I can’t see it in the theatres here.

    • Nolan sure doesn’t like straightforward storytelling. Saw the trailer. The premise sounds interesting. Have to see if I can download it from somewhere. Even till past few months I was a movie download freak. I must have downloaded more than 1000 movies, all free and all in DVD quality. 🙂 Searching for sites from where i can download movies used to be my past time. I had seen Prestige completely online. And I had download Hostel 2 for free in DVD quality print even before the movie was released in theaters in US 🙂 But these days don’t get much time because of work. Thanks for the recommendation anyways.

      And yes, watch Udaan if you can get hold of it from somewhere.

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