On being asked about the follow-up to his critically acclaimed film The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan remarked that he would not be able to say as he is a “one movie person”. While forums of fanboys to the franchise quizzed and plotted what the sequel to this film would be, Nolan has apparently offered a consolation gift to cinema fans in the form of Inception.
Based on an indeterminate future not too unlike our own, the story centers on the concept of extractors: espionage specialists who gather information through infiltrating your mind as you dream and taking those valuable secrets within. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Cobb, an extractor who is given a proposition from an executive (Ken Watanabe) to perform what many consider impossible: to plant an idea into the dreamer: an inception. Along the way, a team is built up of people to help, including a chemist (Dileep Rao), a reality-building “architect” (Ellen Page), a shapeshifting “forger” (Tom Hardy), and Cobb’s longtime buddy Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Other veterans most people will recognize include Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Pete Postlethwaite, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Berenger.
With a budget of $160 million dollars, this movie’s incredible budget shows itself with the luxurious effects that run rampant through several exotic locations with some incredible set designs, among them a hallway built into a gyroscope for one of the more spectacular scenes in the movie. While the acting is not as inspiring as you might expect considering the quality of the cast, it is still consistently good. Most noteworthy of the cast is Cillian Murphy, whose role as the son of his father’s conglomerate expresses a tone of hesitation, frustration, and despondency in every look he offers, perhaps only unbelievable by seeming too naïve for his own good.
What may hinder this film’s overall success is its complexity. While I have not been this visually enamored by a film since Tarsem’s The Fall, this film is guaranteed to make a fair number of people scratch their heads at the plot. It has an ambiguity that reminds me of Blade Runner, where you are never sure if the implications of who is human or not was never officially confirmed until stated by the director a few decades later. This is what I consider a good thing, but there will very likely be disagreement on this.
With Hollywood films this year so far catering mostly to franchise fans, adrenaline junkies, and romance films with adrenaline junkie tie-ins, Inception is that daydream cooked up by movie fans longing for something different from the identically-plotted blockbuster film. With this level of filmmaking and marketing push, it would not surprise me to see this film released again come early December where it may earn Best Picture, but that may be this reviewer’s (and likely, Chris Nolan’s) pipe dream.
Inception receives a PARLÉ
Written by Donald Lee