Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Micheal Caine
It occurred to me a few days ago that I only write about recently released films or upcoming trailers that are circulating on the internet, and not once have I written a review on a film that was released nearly a year ago and which most people own on DVD or Blu-Ray. However, that is all about to change. I thought I would start off writing about what was one of the most highly anticipated and successful films of the summer in 2010: the film that made many of us excited about going to sleep, and kept most of us awake with its intricate and layered narrative that made us question what is real and what is our imagination. Of course, I am talking about Christopher Nolan’s Inception. For those of you who haven’t seen Inception – in fact who hasn’t seen this film? If you haven’t then where had you been the last few years, seriously? Well for those of you who haven’t seen Inception (apart from me telling you to go and see it), the film’s premise involves the concept of dreaming, and the idea of stealing ideas from people’s minds when they are in the dream state - or what you and I would call sleep. Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) leads an illegal espionage team whose job it is to extract ideas from a subjects mind in dream scenarios, which have specifically constructed by the team in order to obtain whatever information they desire in the safest and simplest way possible: this process is called ‘Extraction’. However, Cobb and his team are approach by Mr Saito (Ken Watanabe) who questions the possibility of ‘Inception’, which involves planting an idea in a subject’s mind rather than stealing one. Their job is to convince Robert Fischer, the business opponent of Saito played by Cillian Murphy, to break up his father’s empire, thus removing the competition from Saito.
From the opening five minutes, this film does not stop. It jumps straight into the action and plot before you even have time to comprehend what is happening. It is only by perseverance and patients that your questions become answered about halfway through the film – well sort of. There is so much detail in this film that you really have to pay attention, with more and more elements of the plot being added every few minutes, Inception is a film you need your thinking-cap on for. This is a film I have been waiting to see for years, the sort that just says to you: ‘this film is confusing, so shut up, listen and pay attention.’ In my opinion this is what cinema should be about: making you think and not just letting you sit there waiting to leave the theatre until you can go home and get into your date's knickers. Whether this was an intention of Nolan’s is unsure, but I think it is just because he is such an extraordinary human being that he considers this normal, which I love. I would be intrigued to know how he came up with this film, as there are so many levels to his film that you begin to believe that there really is a team of extractors diving into people’s subconscious’ and scrambling around with their secrets and memories.
Like I said this film is so dense that it requires a considerable amount of brain work to keep up with. However it’s not a film for the intellectual, and can be appreciated by anyone who dreams - which is basically everyone. So anyone and everyone who dreams can be attracted to this film, and the way in which the dreams states are depicted are simply incredible. The way in which Nolan presents the concepts of a dream within a dream, and they way that your dreams can be influenced by your surroundings when you are asleep is brilliantly portrayed on screen. Some of the scenes when Cobb and his men are fighting with Fisher’s subconscious – particularly in the hotel and the rotating corridor – are some of the best actions scenes that do not rely on CGI that I have seen in a long time. The film just oozed perfection on so many levels. The action sequences in the mountains, in the van and in the hotel each contributed to a staggering third act, one make you almost physically exhausted while watching it - I can’t remember the last time a film did that to me.
Now most of us in the past have been asked the obvious question: ‘what’s the best film you have ever seen?’ Now when people ask this I usually can’t answer, because there are so many films that every time I see them I fall in love with them - I am very fickle in my approach to films. However Inception is one of those films that I adore, and could quite happily watch it over and over again until my eyes bled out of my ears. The way the film gets you thinking, it’s pacing, and the fact that you are confused for about half the time you are watching it are all the elements that make Inception a film that you need to watch again and again, and the more you watch it, the more you appreciate it’s creativity and it’s boldness. Of course I have to mention the ending, which got all of us arguing as to whether the ending of the film was real or whether Cobb finally got to go back and see his family again. The beauty of the concluding scene is that you don’t find out, because as soon as you do the secret or mystery dissipates. It is far better to be left unresolved and leave it to the audience’s imagination, rather than tie it up and disappoint people.
So what was your opinion of Inception? How do you think the film really ended? Do you want to see a sequel in a few years? Feel free to comment below or contact me via twitter.