Directed by Christopher Nolan
For more than 11 years, writer/director Christopher Nolan has had drones of people contemplating their own self-existence after watching films like Memento, The Prestige, and his latest to date, Inception. Currently, the 31st and 12th (respectively) ranked films on IMDb’s highest-rated list, these movies have been overwhelming successes in the public eye. Inception, a winner of four Oscars, focuses on a world where dreams can be infiltrated for the benefit of yourself or others. Saito (a wonderful Ken Watanabe), a corporate big shot, wants to plant an idea into the mind of a rival, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), in order to crush the competition.
The infallible Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, the leader of this “inception” team. He and a group including Arthur (a dull, uncomfortable performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne (a delightful Ellen Page), and Eames (a charming, amusing Tom Hardy) go three dreams deep (a dream within a dream within a dream) in order to convince Fischer to step down and pursue other business ventures. When the dreams are corrupted, the team must rush their job in order to escape the horrible reality of limbo.
Kudos to Christopher Nolan. Writing this flawless, complicated script must have taken years. Some online research tells me that he took approximately ten years from the “inception” of the idea (pun most definitely intended) to the final script (not including the time used to create both Batman films). Filled with action and suspense, romance and even a touch of wit, Inception’s script is a perfect display of writing.
Since Juno, it seems Ellen Page can do no wrong…okay, so Smart People was kind of lame and I don’t have much desire to see Super, but Whip It was great! Page plays the independent, novice dream weaver, Ariadne, who I’m certain was named after the “most holy” goddess, whose name in Cretan-Greek means “utterly pure,” like her dream world (at least relative to Cobb’s) seems to be.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as I mentioned before, seems less than at ease in his role. He seems much more himself in (500) Days of Summer, which makes me hope that he can find his groove in Nolan’s much-anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, in which Gordon-Levitt will star (it’s worth noting that Inception stars Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, and Michael Cane will also have roles in the film). I will give credit to Levitt for his aerial display in zero gravity, during which he fights a man in one of the film’s most astounding scenes.
With a brilliant cast (they worked together for over 4 months), it’s easy to see why Inception was so critically acclaimed. The film employs a truly ideal amount of complexity, only adding to the invigorating experience. Technically it’s flawless, with seamless editing and a powerful score. Plus, its divisive ending is just begging to be discussed around the figurative water cooler—what do you think about it??
8 thoughts on “‘Inception’ invites us all to dream”
The only problem (and it’s a world-killer) is this: Why should we, as the audience, go along with Saito’s plan to “crush the competition”? Robert Fischer may run a big corporation (and, yes, these days, that’s enough to put someone on any number of “hate lists”), but he’s done nothing, personally, to harm either Saito or Cobb. So what we’re left with is the fact that Cobb– in order to fulfill that flimsiest Hallmark fantasy, the desire to see his kids again (uh, yeah, sure)– is essentially carrying out the mental rape of an innocent man. If we proceed from the idea that the whole setup is a dream, that’s one thing; if we take “Inception” as Nolan presents it, it’s absolutely reprehensible: we’re being asked to cheer for a group of mind-invading ghouls. All the “clever” and “complex” in the world can’t mask the simple fact that “Inception” has no moral core. It’s a puzzle box without a soul.
But many movies are stuck with that same problem. Sometimes it’s okay to root for the bad guys, and there are far worse guys than these. At least Cobb has some sort of motivation, what about the scum he roped in to helping him without question? Nolan’s Memento is the same way, the man is unaware of what he’s doing but the cast does nothing to stop his evil acts. It’s sickening when you see the whole movie a few times. But that’s just how life goes I guess. You gotta make your own morals.
Nice review of one of the better films I have seen lately. I had no problem with Cobb not being a good guy. Does every film have to have a hero?
Exactly, I think some of the most memorable characters were less than perfect guys. How do you justify the acts of Don Corleone? But regardless, we all love The Godfather.
One of my favorite films of 2010 because it was so ambitious, so entertaining, and so perfectly written that I just couldn’t help but think that Nolan out-did The Matrix here. Good review Logan.
I don’t think there’s any doubt he out-did The Matrix. He could have even out-done The Dark Knight, at least on his part.