>Going in to the summer, there were a couple of movies I was interested in seeing, but if could only see one, my choice would have been Inception.
Ever since Memento, I’ve been intrigued by the path director Christopher Nolan has taken–offering up films that assume the audience can and will follow the story and concepts he’s putting up on screen and that he doesn’t have to necessarily spell out every tiny little detail in order for audiences to watch and appreciate his films. He also puts in a lot of value in re-watching his movies in a way that some directors these days (Michael Bay) just don’t.
Inception is no exception.
And it’s impossible to talk about the movie without SPOILERS. I avoided them like the plague until I saw it and suggest you do also. So if you haven’t seen it, this is a good place to pause, go see the movie and then come back.
At it’s core, it’s a heist movie, but instead of stealing a physical object, what’s being stolen are secrets. From inside the minds of people. Cobb and his crew have the ability to enter people’s dreams, when the mental defenses are lower, and steal out secrets from people. One of the interesting pieces of the world is how time passes at different speeds within various dream levels and how those who enter into the dreams will have a real-world object that is used to help them make sure they’ve come back to reality.
Cobb used to work with his wife, Mol, in exploring the world of dreams. But the two of them got stuck in a kind of limbo dream state, building the world together from memories and dreams of their past. The two eventually discovered it wasn’t real, but Cobb accidentally planted the idea that his wasn’t their real life, something that carried over into her thoughts when she came back to reality. Mol’s doubt led her to a type of insanity and she eventually killed herself, convinced it would bring her back to reality. Cobb is linked to the crime thanks to a letter Mol left, certifying her sanity and saying that Cobb pushed her to this.
In the movie, there are two ways out of a dream–dying in it or falling.
Cobb is hired to go inside a dream and not take out information, but plant an idea. Cobb takes the job because the business man involved can get the charges against Cobb taken away and he’ll be able to go home and see his kids again. Before he went on the run, he desperately wanted to see them turn around for a last memory of their faces, but it didn’t happen.
Cobb takes the job and he and his crew enter the dreamworld to plant an idea, otherwise known as inception.
It sounds a bit complicated when you write it all down and any description of the film isn’t doing it justice. It all makes sense within the world Nolan creates on screen. Visually, the film is a delight to watch as Nolan explores the dreamworld and how the rules of our world don’t necessarily apply there. Watching Ellen Page as a new dream world builder come to grips with what she can do in the world of dreams is fun and if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen some of the various set pieces that Nolan created for the dream universe.
Interestingly, the concept of dreams within dreams is explored. In order to plant the idea, Cobb and company have to go to a third level of dreaming inside the mind of their target. But Cobb is hiding the fact that things can and will get more complicated because of what he’s done with his memory of Mol and that she lurks inside his subconscious waiting to confront him. Watching how time passes at different rates within each level of the dream and how one dream affects the physical laws of the next dream down is a lot of fun.
And the ending…I think it might have been better had there not been such a conversation surrounding the film (it was all in the headlines to stories and so I couldn’t avoid it) that there was a twist and that the movie would reward multiple viewings (it would, but I’m going to wait for DVD). The ending implies that Cobb hasn’t escaped and is still dreaming. But then as I thought about it, I wondered if it could be possible that he’s been dreaming the whole time. The whole ending is very neat and far too happy, signaling that something more is going on. I think Nolan is playing with audiences and using our expectations against us….something I like. It’s an interesting ending and the lingering questions have stayed with him and I’ve thought about them–something you can’t say after having seen something like Avatar, for example.
In short, it’s the best movie of the summer and one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. If you haven’t seen it, go and see it. It’s worth the time and money.