Friday, September 17, 2010

Must Watch Friday: Inception

Modern Heat author Heidi Rice gets her head around Leo DiCaprio's new high-concept science-fiction thriller and finds a haunting tale of love and loss lurking inside all the mind-blowing FX and plot contortions.

Okay, Inception is one of those sci-fi thrillers that's so high-concept it could give you a nosebleed. The plot is so fricking complex you have to stay focussed or you'll miss some vital bit of information. In other words, this is not the film to go see with your first boyfriend and snog in the back row, or you'll come up for air and won't know what the heck is going on. But hey, that's not really a problem for me any more, so I'm ok with that. And I've always liked films that make me think.... As long as they don't give me a headache (The Matrix, anyone??).

And Inception is based on a brilliant conceit. The premise being that in the near future industrial espionage is carried out by spies called Extractors who can invade a person's dreams and steal their ideas, or in the case of Leonardo DiCaprio and his top-notch crew of Extractors in the film, plant ideas instead. Cue lots of really quite mesmerising special effects sequences as Leo and his crew - which includes dinky Juno actress Ellen Page and up-and-coming Brit sex symbol Tom Hardy — construct dreams which then disintegrate in spectacular fashion.

Now, I'm not going to elaborate any more on the plot except to say that it's constructed around a series of dreams, within dreams, within dreams as the crew venture deeper and deeper into business tycoon Cillian Murphy's subconcious to bury an idea that will make him dissolve his father's company and thus save the world from corporate meltdown (or something like that, I think I may have been having a quick snog at some point cos I can't quite remember how it works now).

But what makes this film resonate, what makes it worth all the effort of following that labyrinthine plot, isn't the clever concept or the eye-popping special effects, but the characters. It's always the human story which draws me into a film — and without believeable, relatable characters, people whose hopes and (certainly in this case) dreams matter, no amount of pizzazz or razzamatazz is going to make it work for me. And that's where this story triumphs. Because behind all the mind-boggling plotting and mind-blowing FX is the driving force behind the drama - the story of Leo DiCaprio's character and the crushing grief over his dead wife (played by the mesmerisingly beautiful Marion Cottillard) which he carries around with him in both his real and his hyper-real life...

For all it's high-concept sci-fi bells and whistles, ultimately, Inception is a simple, hauntingly beautiful and heart-stoppingly romantic tale of one man's loss and how he learns to come to terms with it. And that's what makes this movie an absolute gem. The Matrix eat your heart out!!

Heidi's latest Presents Extra, Unfinished Business with the Duke, is set to hit shelves in the US next month. Her latest Modern Heat, Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger, is due out in the UK in November, and has one of the swanky new covers (check out that sexy stranger!!). 

Heidi loves to hear from readers on her blog, Facebook and her website, so come have a natter. And she's currently gearing up for her mentoring duties in M&B's New Voices competition. So if you're an aspiring author don't forget to enter for a chance to get your book published.


  1. Great post Heidi! I haven't seen inception yet but I can see why its so highly recommended. I'll definitely have to watch it now :)

  2. Heidi, one word for this film WHAT? I felt as if you could blink and miss something in this story. It also struck me as very similar to the other film Leonardo just made - Can't even remember the name Shutter Island?? or something similar - you get to the end and think EH? I think I can say that without giving the plot away. Good luck with your mentoring for New Voices. You might get a paranormal with a plot almost as complicated as this!

  3. Hi Heidi, really sorry, but I absolutely hated this film. I found it confusing, a triumph of style over substance and I didn't care a jot about poor old Leonardo or any of the other characters. I know I'm in a very tiny minority because many people I've encountered thought it was fab and thought provoking and I know the science fiction officionados won't hear a thing said against it (although actually the idea of manipulating dreams and the subconscious is as old as sci fi writing itself). But no way did it do it for me. There was so much dashing around I felt utterly dizzy by the end and delighted to get out of the cinema into the real world. Just goes to show how differently a story can affect different people and the wonderful thing is that just means the world needs more stories...... Love your blog by the way and your useful and interesting New Voices comments. Good luck with all that!

  4. Lacey I hope you like it but from cara and susan's comments there's a good chance you might hate it too!! All I can say in my defence is that I do have a huge soft spot for Leo, which may have helped my enjoyment somewhat!

  5. Heidi - I haven't seen Inception, but your brilliant review has made me determined to track it down while it's still on the big screen.

  6. I went to see this with the kids. Daughter (who's a romance writer in training) was bored rigid; son (who gets bored easily) absolutely loved it - and so did I.

    I will admit that I'm a scifi fan, and I really liked the premise behind it so I was predisposed to like it; but the characterisation made it even better for me. There were places where I could've wept for LdC's character.

    Agreed, you need to pay attention or you'll be lost :)