An expertly screwed up movie usually begins with an supremely screwed up main character, and Inception is no exception. The funny thing about this film is that it requires your undivided attention but, ironically, the amount of visual detail and precision in the script make it a great movie to fall asleep to – assuming you don’t mind a few unconventional dreams. Inception is a movie on acid because the characters can literally turn the world upside down during an everyday walk in the park.
Inception is a ridiculously smart film and the reason why I’d pick writer/director/producer Christopher Nolan first for any school project. Inception builds upon the mystery of “dreaming” and the theory that outside forces can plant an idea deep within someone’s mind, letting it grow until this simple concept influences their actions in reality. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief who normally infiltrates people’s dreams to extract valuable pieces of information. In this story, however, he isn’t hired for an “extraction” but rather for an “inception”. His job is to plant an idea within the mind of the soon-to-be-successor of an energy company (Cillian Murphy), encouraging him to break up his father’s empire. The tricky part is to make the heir believe that this idea is entirely his own.
To pull off this subconscious mission impossible, Cobb assembles the stealthily ferocious cast of The Dark Knight Rises. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy plan the mission around Cillian Murphy, the target, and avoid interference from the persistent Marion Cotillard.
Inception is not your typical heist/espionage film because “the villain” character is ambiguous. It could be anything from A) complications in the plan, to B) time, or C) Cobb himself. Thankfully the complex plot and theoretical premise are explained in segments to the new Sleep Squad recruit, Ariadne (Ellen Page). Her character gives us a means to learn all about this ridiculous dream-world and the workaholics who call it their office space.
It’s impossible to pay attention to every explanation, however, because the cinematography is too much fun to ignore. Just like how life’s moments infiltrate your nightly dreams, little tidbits of characters’ backstories pop up in deep, subtle, dream-space. It’s really fun to look for. The filming in general, though, is spectacular. It’s nice that in this future of computerized-everything we can still enjoy a bit of movie magic. I haven’t a clue how they filmed the anti-gravity sequences but I feel for Joseph Gordon-Levitt who must have been harnessed and dangled from odd places for a solid few weeks.
There’s also a great deal of planning that went into the set decoration. Each shot has enough detail to make it feel natural but not so much that the surroundings look too real and un-dreamlike. The same goes for the dialogue. There is such meaning in the script that you want to pick it apart, but it also comes with the feeling that if you do, it will no longer make sense.
This movie makes me question reality. There are dreams within dreams within dreams. The way it’s filmed matches the dreaming experience, including how most dreams drop you right in the middle of the action. Inception was a Nolan-family project, with Christopher Nolan’s wife, son, and cousin all taking part in the film. What a family. Inception changes my perspective on life and is backed by good acting with top-notch camera work and design, so I give it a 9.5/10. The lost half point is because I believe if I think too hard about the plot I’ll be able to pick it apart, and that is something I sincerely do not want to do.