A mind-bending masterpiece, Inception is a film like no other. Whereas Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is iconic and responsible for changing the way superhero films are made, it’s his original ideas that stand out as his greatest work. As close to perfect as you can get, technically and emotionally; Inception is a rare cinematic experience that offers both a great amount of depth and entertainment. Essentially a heist movie within the sub-conscious, it follows Dom Cobb, a thief for hire who steals corporate secrets through the invasion of dreams. He is approached by Japanese Businessman, Saito, with a job to achieve the seemingly impossible; to plant an idea in someone’s mind as if it were they own, something known as Inception. Offered the chance to finally return home after years on the run, Cobb accepts the offer despite his inability to keep his own tragedy from infiltrating the subjects dreams. A tragedy he must face as he and his team travel deeper into the sub-conscious mind.
A film of higher intelligence, Inception touches upon science, mythology and maths in a fun way. Much like the dreams themselves within the film, it has multiple levels of complexities that even after a number of viewings will still surprise and intrigue you. It’s the type of film where the viewing experience can change with each watch and warrants great analytical depth, but is none the less enjoyable and exciting. This is what separates Christopher Nolan from many directors working today; an ability to create films rich with class, cleverness and thrills both visual and visceral. Here he creates a perfect blending of genres as James Bond-type espionage mixes with sci-fi, thriller and drama to create something all together unique and familiar at the same time. The films biggest achievement however, is that the world Nolan creates, one where people can build dreams in a way where cities can fold in on themselves, feels completely believable and lived in.
This is through the rock solid scriptwriting and investment in the films characters, something that is helped considerably by the performers. Leonardo DiCapro, one of the greatest actors working today, shines as Dom Cobb bringing with him all the slick charm of a world renowned thief and the intensity of a haunted man. His co-players such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy prove equally as charismatic and extremely watchable I’m their respective roles. With the likes of Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard filling out the other roles, the casting makes for one of the greatest on-screen ensembles I’m quite some time.
There’s a great use of music too. Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ is used not only as a recurring plot device but as a reflection of the central theme of regret. Of course, you can’t talk about Inception without mentioning the wondrous score from regular Nolan collaborator, Hans Zimmer. Infamous for it’s blaring, siren-like trombones (which are actually slowed down versions of the trumpets in the aforementioned Piaf song), the score adds a great deal of urgency to the film; especially in it’s final act. Where Zimmer’s music really work though, is in its quieter moments and the piece of music entitled ‘Time’ is simply beautiful; so much so that Nolan lets it do all the talking in the films dialogue-free final few moments.
That final scene may still annoy people with it’s open ended-ness but to me it’s perfect and sums up Nolan’s way of making films. He wants his audience to pay attention and to think as well as be moved and entertained. Inception is certainly a thinking person’s type of film, one in which anybody should be able to find some kind of worth. It’s got action, comedy, romance, drama and above all else a story that will keep you on your toes as well as move you. What more could you want?
Trivia Tidbit: In an interview with ‘Entertainment Weekly’, Christopher Nolan explained that he based roles of the Inception team similar to roles that are used in filmmaking – Cobb is the director, Arthur is the producer, Ariadne is the production designer, Eames is the actor, Saito is the studio, and Fischer is the audience. “In trying to write a team-based creative process, I wrote the one I know,” said Nolan.
Next Week: The Great Escape (1963)
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