Saturday, July 17, 2010
Inception to Conception through Perception
Inception is a summer film that doesn't condescend to an audience in order to get bums in the seat. It's a thinking person's film, and, I for one, am happy about that. It's the kind of film that challenges you and forces you to pay attention and you can't leave your brain at the door because if you do then you'll be lost in this reality dreambending landscape that Christopher Nolan has so meticulously created.
Leonardo Dicaprio plays Cobb, a man on the run who is a master of extraction, meaning he gets to you in your dreams and steals your secrets and ideas for a price. But what he really wants is to get home to his two children, but he's wanted for murder and that keeps him running. That is until he meets up with Saito, Ken Watanabe, a powerful and wealthy businessman who has a proposition for Cobb. A proposition that he can't pass up because it could lead him back to his family. The plot is complicated and well thought out and twists and turns in a way that keeps you on your toes, so much so that I highly suggest that you go pee before the movie starts and do not leave until it's done.
It's the kind of film where the rules within the world make sense, but if we take our own reality and try to make things logical then it might fall apart. However, our reality shouldn't have any barring on this film's reality as it's built within its own walls and works on that level. There are dreams within dreams within dreams that can lead to limbo. Sometimes, we're not sure what is real and what is a dream. Characters use totems to keep themselves grounded. A totem is a physical device such as loaded dice or a spinning top. Without a totem, one can get lost within their dream and forget that they're dreaming. As an avid moviegoer and sometime reviewer, I think it's a disservice to get into too much of the plot details, so I'll stop here. Go in with fresh eyes and remember to just pay attention and enjoy the mind-bending ride.
Overall, the film is intriguing and makes you think about what's going on or what's not going on. It has an emotional throughline for me via Cobb's love for his wife and his motivation. Without Cobb's personal journey, the film wouldn't have been as satisfying. It's more than just action and science fiction ideas. It's ultimately about love and letting go. Marion Cotillard provides the link to love and family and she does a wonderful job, and Ellen Page does a good job as the voice of reason and Cobb's conscience.
The story keeps you guessing and the visuals are stunning and look very real. The editing is seemless and makes for a film that has it all. I'm glad it's not in 3D and I don't think it needs to be viewed in Imax. A regular cinema does a great job at capturing the world that Nolan has created. Here's hoping that this smart and engaging film becomes a summer blockbuster that forces Hollywood to make more films that challenge us visually and intellectually and also emotionally. A cinematic trinity. I can only dream, can't I?