Sunday, July 18, 2010
Writer/director: Christopher Nolan
Producer: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
Cast : Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger, Pete Postlethwaite, Lukas Haas
Sci-fi action-thriller, PG-13
2 hours 28 minutes
It was all a dream.
For decades, this has been the lamest way to end a story. What may have been original ages past became had become a silly cliché. But with one brilliant stroke, writer/director Christopher Nolan has found a way with his latest film Inception to take the tired subject of dreams and create a work of breathtaking originality.
Undoubtedly, not everyone will agree. There has already been a vocal backlash to Inception and some critics have responded very negatively to it, at least initially. This is to be expected and almost proves its ingeniousness, since many daring works are polarizing and will lose people along the way. They may require revisiting to better appreciate it. But for those willing to go along with the ride, it's an intriguing and enjoyable journey.
After you see it, if you like it then you'll love it and you'll want to see it again. There is a lot going on here, and lots worth exploring if you're so inclined. It's a very smart movie that will have you asking a lot of questions. Cinema Blend has a good page where they've tried to answer a good number of them. It's definitely worth checking out, but only after you've seen the film.
I think a certain ambiguity is part of the enjoyment and appeal. As with Total Recall, you can't be quite sure where you are and it works with varying explanations. The layered approach to dreams reminds me of reading Wuthering Heights and the layered approach that Emily Brontë took with the narration - the narrator tells stories of people telling stories about others telling stories and so forth. You end up being somewhat intentionally confused and uncertain about the veracity of the information.
My only complaint with the film would be the constant yet uninspired music of Hans Zimmer. Otherwise, the film could hardly be improved. It manages to take some heady ideas and make them engrossing and dramatic. You can safely ignore the naysayers who dismiss Inception as a ripoff of The Matrix, Dark City or other such predecessors, as if those films were created in a vacuum. This film stands alone, and is without a doubt one of the best films of the year. It is a wondrous shared dream between Nolan and us viewers in the audience.