Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Inception marks a return for Christopher Nolan, as he takes a break from the superhero world of DC comics and jumps back into his comfort zone: the human mind. Anyone following Nolan’s career will be already familiar with Memento. Memento and Inception, conceptually different, are similar in their approach to filmmaking. Above anything else, both are mind blowing experiences with extraordinary concepts that only someone like Nolan, in this visceral blockbuster era, could conceive. I found his Batman output notable, but, of course, he was attempting to give new life to a franchise that for long seemed doomed for light entertainment. Here, he is back in his comfort zone, creating and developing inventive concepts from sketch.
Describing the plot of Inception in such a short space would be both difficult and inadequate. Inception is a journey within the depths of the human mind, via a process named extraction, accessing the most obscure and fascinating concept: dreams. Through the tools at hand, the characters are able to enter the dreams of others and understand the secrets of the subject via their subconscious. However, the subconscious is not only occupied with the subject and the “intruder,” as its limitless scope and design allows for countless different and eclectic additional characters and objects. In addition, some people have been trained against such invasions, and have a particularly strong and proficient defense system.
The protagonist of the tale is Dominic Cobb, played by Leonardo Di Caprio, who is a successful and intelligent extractor. His personal and professional troubles have for a time forced him to live outside of the United States, away from his children. Accepting the fact that he possibly will never see his children, for he would be arrested and jailed for many years if he were to return to the country, he decides to lay low and eventually get work in another country. However, a wealthy man, Saito, whom he is familiar with due to prior extraction missions, offers him a final job. This job, however, is more challenging than any extraction they have ever performed. On this mission, they must incept the mind of Robert Fischer, heir to a wealthy corporation. Robert Fischer’s father is close to death, and Saito wants to make sure that his corporate rival disintegrates the company. As a result, they must incept his mind, and grant him new ideas about his relationship with his father and Godfather, Peter Browning. For the completion of this task, they use sedatives that would grant them to dream within the dreams. They eventually are able to get close enough to Robert to enter his dreams. Unfortunately, even with all their preparation, they experience countless setbacks that endanger the mission and their life outside of the dream world.
If inception failed in character and story development, acting, directing, cinematography, and many other aspects of the film it still would be an undeniably original concept. Though it will be compared to The Matrix, and possibly Dark City, this film is more original in its jargon, while something like the Matrix was largely influenced by countless different schools of philosophy. The concept of the dreams is unique and entirely original, and in years to come it will be imitated but never bettered. Many studies have shown that the vocabulary of British films have for long been more widespread than American films. Inception may be an exception. Instead of focusing on the F word, which films of all genres have for long found an affinity for, Inception actually uses some elaborate terms-at least for a Hollywood film. This is not necessarily an intellectual film, as it is entirely fictional. However, Inception’s pseudo-intellectuality still makes the viewer think and see if Inception’s own rules are logically applied. This is a visceral experience, like Transformers, but our mind is constantly active, trying to interpret all the countless information and new ideas that Nolan throws our way.
As you see, I have quite an affinity for this genuinely inventive films, so, why theseeminglyderogative heading? This film, possibly due its ingenuity, has been compared to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In ways, it is unfair to compare the acclaimed science-fiction film to an exceptional Hollywood blockbuster. Maybe, just as the detractors of 2001 decreased by numbers, Inception’s critic may have to eat their words in the foreseeable future. However, there is a place where the comparison is applicable. Kubrick’s film is possibly the most implicit film ever created, where nearly every segment has countless interpretations and the film rarely shows us its explicit side. In 2001, Kubrick created an entirely implicit experience, unexpected of the director of Spartacus and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Many years after the first film, Arthur C. Clark released a sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two, which was eventually adapted. As much as the earlier film was implicit, 2010 was explicit and Hollywood entertainment. Of course, the magic was lost, as it tried direly to make the audience, possibly the ones who were bored by the first film, understand the points only hinted by 2001. Inception is 2010, while it could have more elegantly become 2001. This film is undeniably complex, proven by the fact that Nolan explains every single detail of extraction and inception. We need some information about this original concept, but every part of the process is so heavily explained that it leaves nothing to the imagination. Nolan explains everything to such a degree that we truly feel like observers and outsiders to these characters world. If it had been suggestive in some areas, our intellect could have been truly engaged and this film would have been a true cerebral experience. Unfortunately, we gaze at the film with fascination, trying to always comprehend its thread of complexity. We may be confused at moments, but rarely are we bewilderingly lost in the picture. Unfortunately, Nolan is trapped in the blockbuster world, where studios demand clarity from the narrative. In other words, there is a much more implicit and majestic film buried from the view of the still powerful Inception.
Inception may be a blockbuster with expected top-notch actors, but it has much more personality, focus, and drive than the average Hollywood product. The fact that Nolan could have created such an original film in such a predictable era is testament to his immense talent as one of the most fascinating directors of recent times, with only Tarantino as his rival. There has been much talk about the final scene and moments of the film, and its implications. On Inception’s Wikipedia page, there appears a solid explanation for the ending but that is unfortunate. If Nolan is not aiming for a sequel, which I hope not, the open-ended ending brilliantly matches, and possibly defines this mystifying film and is proof of the audacity of Nolan’s vision.