Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Inception (2010) is a mind-blowing experience – a delicate and beautiful film that is both complex and touching, and will soon become known as Christopher Nolan’s best film.

Christopher Nolan presents us with his first original screenplay in ten years – overwhelming in its narrative and originality – and is being released at a time when the film industry is desperate for sequels, remakes, and endless reboots of franchises, which makes us ask ourselves – are we ready for a cerebral blockbuster?

Inception is set within the world of our dreams and deals with corporate espionage. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief in the art of extraction, whose job is to enter people’s dreams and steal valuable secrets. Cobb soon employs Ariadne (Ellen Page), a graduate student studying architecture, to join his team of experts. This team also consists of Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who researches their potential targets, and Eames (Tom Hardy), whose responsibility is impersonating and forging targets within the dream world.

In the film, Cobb is offered a chance at redemption, which will allow him to earn his life back and give him the chance to return home to reunite with his family. In return, Cobb is asked to deliver the perfect crime – instead of stealing, his team must do the opposite – they must plant an idea within the mind of their victim, which is known as “inception.”

Inception begins by making us scratch our heads, and requires several minutes for us to wrap our minds around the subject matter. Like The Matrix (1999), such a film requires some information about this newfound world before we can explore its possibilities. Cobb begins by discussing the basics to Ariadne, such as the notion of “kicks” – a technique used to wake up a subject from the dream world. Cobb also briefs us on the construction of a dream, and teaches us the rules and ins and outs of this world. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone so wonderfully said, “We’re so used to being treated like idiots.” Christopher Nolan takes his audience seriously and demands their attention, and a major blockbuster is no exception. In Inception, Nolan expects his audience to keep asking questions, instead of providing them with all the answers.

Inception consists of an effective balance between science fiction thriller and a romance drama. Leonardo DiCaprio carries us through the complexities of the film, and becomes the center for the emotional resonance of the story. It’s a film full of action, thrills, and mystery, but is successfully grounded in realism through the heart of the story – and it’s because of this balance that makes this Christopher Nolan’s best film. Hans Zimmer also once again delivers with music that is as haunting as all his previous scores, as he adds his own dimension to the darkness of Inception.

It’s Christopher Nolan’s imagination that is most impressive, as he creates dreams within dreams, and worlds within worlds. In fact, he only relies on CGI when absolutely necessary – so, if it feels real, that’s because it is real. Nolan demands a sense of reality, and when dealing with such a massive film, it’s key to keep your audience within the world you have created. Who else would go to such great lengths?

Leonardo DiCaprio is certainly worthy of any and all praise he receives for this role. Cobb is definitely the emotional driving force of the film, and allows us to invest our emotions into his character. Cobb’s objective is clear from the very beginning, and we are able to sympathize with him.

Inception's final moments are what solidify this as Christopher Nolan's best film, as well emphasizing his growth as a filmmaker. Inception moves a step further from his other films, as Nolan explores the emotional lives of his characters and what fuels their suffering. It’s the spinning top, however, that serves as the recurring visual motif in the film. Its purpose is simple – it’s Cobb’s totem, and his means of testing reality. If the spinning is continuous, the dream is still in effect, but if it stops, he is no longer dreaming.

If nothing else, Christopher Nolan provides us with a glimmer of hope in this ever-changing film industry.

Inception is scheduled for release on July 16, 2010.