Inception the movie: some thoughts

just watched Inception just now and i would concur with everyone else that it was indeed quite the mindfuck. if you have yet to watch it, go watch! and do not read this post because it contains spoilers, so be warned. for the rest of you that did, scroll down...

So the movie essentially is a Ocean's Eleven + the Matrix combi, with Leonardo DiCaprio leading the group. What is really cool for me though (and a lot of people, judging from the red hot reviews every where), is that this movie is intelligent. Nolan really showcases the complexity of his storytelling through the plot that is supported and executed so elegantly with a perfect cast and action effects. In a landscape littered with brainless Hollywood films and independent films that take themselves too independently, the film is like a much needed open window to a stuffy room. Fresh air, finally!

Although there are flaws to the movie logic (if you watch a 2nd time like my friend, it becomes more obvious), the movie still manages to draw you in. To me, watching a movie or reading a book is actually a parallel to being in a dream, because you are following someone else's stories. It is an entirely constructed world that has rules defined by the scriptwriter, the director, or, the architect. One of my favourite lines in the movie would be, "Well, dreams feel real while we're in them, right? It's only when we wake up we realize something was actually strange." 

Bam! Genius line.

To understand Nolan a little more, here's a quote by him:
"I've been fascinated by dreams my whole life, since I was a kid. I think the relationship between movies and dreams is something that has always interested me and I've liked the idea of trying to portray dreams on film," Nolan explains. "For me the primary interest in dreams and in making this film is this notion that [in] your mind, while you are asleep, you can create an entire world that you are also experiencing without realizing that you're doing that. I think it says a lot about the potential of the human mind, particularly the creative potential. It's something I've found fascinating."
And while the son of the enemy empire goes through a catharsis to reach the end goal of the inception team (to plant an idea in him through his relationship with his father), the same thing happens to Leonardo's character. Through the dreams, the catharsis happens and he realises what he must do with his wife and the guilt that finally frees him to go home. And the spinning top that spins without conclusion before the film cuts -- that was a brilliant 'kicker' by Nolan that wakes you up from the dream-movie that you've been in. It is inconsequential whether or not Cobb is in another dream or not because he finally moved on to beyond not seeing his kids' faces, and that is a new state, reality or not. I loved how Nolan uses the recurring images of his kids appearing everywhere in Cobb's dreams because oft-times people dream about the same things again and again, without knowing why or their significance.

And that, people, is more or less why the film mindfucked me. It actually has layers, in the film and beyond. Not forgetting the Edith Piaf song, "Non, Je ne regrette rien" that was used repeatedly as a siren song to bring people back to reality. Marion Cotillard played Edith Piaf in a Oscar-winning role, yet in this film she is the one that does not believe in reality. Ironic, and i love the intertextuality, whether it is intentional or not!

I have to watch Memento now.

Jul 20, 12:05pm edit: Brilliant blog post. Some points in that article, we discussed it too! (esp. the baggage part). hmm.

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