Nolan’s magnum opus – a complex, cerebral and utterly riveting Hollywood blockbuster of the highest order.
Dir. Christopher Nolan
2010 | USA/UK | Action/Sci-Fi | 148 mins | 2.39:1 | English
PG (passed clean) for sequences of violence and action throughout
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine
Plot: A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.
Awards: Won 4 Oscars – Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects; Nom. for 4 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score
Distributor: Warner Bros
Subject Matter: Moderate – Time, Dream, Technology
Narrative Style: Complex
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream
Viewed: GV Vivo Max
First Published: 5 Jul 2010
Only Christopher Nolan could have dreamed up of something like Inception. Bold, ambitious, and meticulously told, Inception is, I daresay, the greatest science-fiction film of our contemporary age.
Just like Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. (2001), Inception explores dreams and reality with nothing in between except perpetual murkiness. While Lynch’s film was a surreal and hallucinatory experience, Nolan’s is a cerebral, thrilling tale of one man’s incapability to let go of the past.
That man is Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a world-class thief specializing in invading a subject’s subconscious when he is asleep to steal secrets from his mind when it is at its most vulnerable.
In a final mission, Cobb and his team set forth together in an attempt to pull off the perfect crime – inception. What is inception? It is the planting of the seed of an idea so deep into a subject’s subconscious such that when he wakes up from his dream, it is as if that idea was his all along.
“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”
Nolan’s preference to use practical sets pays dividends as action sequences are conceived as realistically as the film’s context allows it to be. So even though action happens in “dreams”, logic still applies, either naturally or metaphysically.
In one technically tricky sequence, two men fight out in a corridor devoid of gravity. Nolan does not film it because it looks cool, but because it is a logical consequential effect of a circumstance that has happened prior to it.
Nolan rarely uses CGI unless it is integral to his story. In Inception, he integrates it into a number of shots, most notably and astoundingly, a scene that shows the city of Paris folding onto itself. If that is not the most awe-inspiring moment in all of 2010 cinema, then what is?
Nolan has become the Spielberg of our generation. And maybe someone more. He is only 40, and barring something tragic, he has many more decades ahead of him to rewrite cinema as it is.
If Nolan continues in this trajectory, alternating between populist fare and original mind-bending works, and fusing them with his unique brand of storytelling and realist visuals, it would be one of the most awesome dreams any cinemagoer could possibly ever wish for. The best part? It is real.