If it's crap ... We'll tell you
For a lot of people including myself, this has easily been one of the most anticipated films for this year, and for a variety of reasons.
For some, the major success and mastery behind The Dark Knight all but sealed the deal for many, while fans of Nolan’s work Memento have
been looking for another great mind-bender from him for years now. As
for me, I belong to the third group, the ones who are sick and tired of
Hollywood’s consistent degradation into the world of sequels, remakes,
and adaptations. For myself and a number of others, Inception is
a rare sign of hope for the movie world: an original idea brought to
life through the imagination and vision of a creative director. It’s
been something we’ve been waiting for a long time, and after seeing it,
I can say that Christopher Nolan’s Inception has been completely worth the wait.
The film focuses on a man named Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a thief who has the power to thrust himself into other people’s dreams
and steal information from within their own subconscious. Having been
unable to see his children because of his abilities, Cobb is given a
chance to regain entry into the United States to see his family via a
mysterious employer named Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe). In exchange for
being allowed re-entry into the United States, Cobb must enter a
specified target’s mind and perform the act of inception: planting an
idea within the target’s head rather than stealing one. Knowing the
difficulty of the task from past experience, Cobb assembles a group of
talented professionals to assist in his mission including Arthur the
Point Man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne the Architect (Ellen Page),
and Eames the Forger (Tom Hardy). Coming across great opposition from
the target’s subconscious as well as haunts from Cobb’s own past, the
team must race against time to complete the job or risk getting trapped
within the dream world forever.
From the general summary alone, you’re probably thinking that this is a typical heist film with a gimmick, and on the most superficial
level it may seem like that, but this film is more. Immensely more.
Through the plot device of the heist, we find ourselves on two parallel
journeys that ultimately prove exponentially more rewarding than any
action climax delivered by any other summer movie.
On the one hand, we find ourselves tied emotionally to the character of Cobb, who is peeled back layer by layer with a level of complexity
unprecedented in film. He is three-dimensional, has a very detailed
personality, and a huge emotional stake in every action he does. We
want to see him succeed and we want to find out what makes him tick, so
much to the point that even the more mundane sections of his journey
never fail to keep our interest. Cobb is one of the great movie
characters, up there with some of the most iconic protagonists.
On the other hand, the film’s journey within the subconscious world of dreams is particularly fascinating and one that is rewarding both
visually and intellectually. This film doesn’t hold back when it
explores the dream world, surpassing all limits to explore a universe
that doesn’t have a foreseeable one. The perception of the dreamer, the
effect of the outside world upon the dream, and the different levels
and layers a dream can possess are only the tip of the veritable
iceberg that this movie explores. All of this detail and complexity
results in a universe very comparable to the one created by James
Cameron in Avatar: one built from scratch but given a level
of intricacy that only a visionary such as Christopher Nolan is capable
of. It’s a very deep and complex world, one that will most definitely
confuse the less intelligent viewers, but I cannot fault a film for
both trying and succeeding to be an intelligent one.
The story aside, the film succeeds on almost every other conceivable level, making this truly a masterpiece to behold. The acting is
brilliant across the board, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page
standing out in particular. DiCaprio’s Cobb is a mesmerizing figure
whose complexities and mysteries grab our attention and never let us
go. As for Ellen Page, she has really come into her own as an actress,
breaking her type set from Juno and providing an emotional
stability to off-set Cobb’s own uncertainty. The visuals are utterly
fantastic, bringing realism and believability to a world where anything
the mind can dream up is possible. And finally, the score by Hans
Zimmer is a work of such great mastery that it trumps both his earlier
works of The Dark Knight and Sherlock Holmes. Much
like the characters and story, the music demands attention and
constantly obtains it with its bombastic power brilliantly balanced
with soft subtlety. All of these elements combine into a film beyond
impression or praise, but worthy of awe.
Now granted, the film is a highly complex one, and as such the story and editing can be a bit confusing to some viewers. However, I refuse
to knock down any points for a film that not only has an original idea,
but executes it with such vision and creativity. This film deserves to
be nominated for a host of awards, the least of which Best Picture at
the Oscars. It’s easily the best film to come out this year and
possibly one of the best to come out ever. Go see it. That’s not a
recommendation. That’s an order.