Christopher Nolan has made something of a specialty out of making movies as
a giant mind fuck.
his early days with the elegant technical exercise Memento to his
current notoriety for the latest reboot of the Batman series, Nolan’s work
always has a hazy and slightly disorienting nightmare quality.
be his most labyrinthine psychodrama yet, and it is also one of his best.
fittingly, the dreamy state of the auteur’s filmmaking is made
specific. Inception is a film that almost totally treads in the
landscape of dreams.
Little things like logic and reality are not a concern here, simply because
they are not an option in a dream. As one character points out, a dream
feels completely real when you are experiencing it. It is only when you
wake that it somehow feels wrong.
Dream worlds are a dicey proposition for even the most disciplined
filmmaker. French director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep) seems to have come closest to
capturing the trance state, and Tarsem Singh’s The Cell had
fascinating hallucination sequences interspersed with a rather predictable
realistic serial killer plot.
However, Nolan’s Inception comes wonderfully close to capturing the
oddly off-kilter world behind the wall of sleep.
concept behind this very, very high concept film is as complicated and
limitless as it is ultimately simple. A group of futuristic (there is no
exact time frame given, but Inception seems to take place in the near
future) thieves realize that there is no place that human beings are more
vulnerable than in the dream state. Therefore they create a method to
invade people’s dreams, where they can manipulate what is happening and
cause the subconscious to give secrets and information of real world
film that takes place almost entirely in a dream state, of course normal
rules of gravity and logic are out the window. This leads to a series of
arresting visual effects – the most stunning of which are probably the city
of Paris folding in on itself and a desolate beach city crumbling down
into the water.
course, this constant dream state also somewhat saps the action of gravity.
As the characters say several times throughout the film, when you die in a
dream it simply means that you will wake up – though eventually this safety
valve seems to become stuck.
However these incredible scenarios are tethered by a strong set of
performances – including Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Leavitt as two
of the thieves, Ellen Page as one of their new accomplices, Cillian Murphy
as the latest victim and Marion Cotillard as a late wife who becomes a ghost
haunting one of our heroes’ subconscious.
act like this all makes perfect sense and somehow due to the strong
filmmaking and acting, it actually kind of does.
at least it is like a dream. It feels completely realistic when you are
experiencing it. It’s only when you leave the theater that some parts
somehow feel wrong. However, the experience is such an interesting one that
some slight flaws are easy to overlook.
might be one of the most complex films to ever become a box office smash.
For the most part, I think that massive wave of existential viewing is a
very good thing for the world.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: November 27, 2010.