I wake up late realizing I have totally overslept and missed a meeting with friends, wondering how this has happened and why the alarm on my cell phone didn’t go off after I had repeatedly checked it before sleeping, I begin to realize I’m dreaming and wake up, I’m back home, the whole previous time was a dream or some distant past memory or thought. Suddenly I realize again that it’s impossible at this moment for me to be home. I have woken into a dream. Finally the alarm goes off for real and I wake up in Hong Kong. I feel relieved to have not missed the meeting with my friends and so began a day much like a dream where I discussed Inception with them.
There’s something about this film I like. I know there are many mixed reactions to it. But there is still something traditional about how Nolan makes films, it’s comforting that it feels like a real movie made to entertain and make us wonder at the same time rather than try to blow our mind away with action and visuals alone. This is still a film that a wider audience can watch in my view because it’s a film made for people who like to watch films and not targeted at any specific group. It’s excites me that I can talk with almost anyone about it.
At it’s edges, this film is a heist movie. A rather different and fascinating one at that. I think Nolan wanted to make this his “Blade Runner”. By that I mean a film that left us wondering the big questions presented in the movie. What lies in inception is a greater mystery that sticks with us after the movie, a movie that answers all our questions is easy to get away from, but a movie like inception is one we need to talk to others abouts. We need some solution or peace of mind provided outside the movie theatre. In my view these type of movies that don’t answer everything stick with us far longer.
I’m not the biggest fan of DiCaprio but I genuinely feel he puts in a worthy performance of a very season actor. Tom Hardy too is unrecognizable from his other role which I remember him for (Picard’s clone Shinzon in Star Trek Nemesis). Great to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this too taking on more serious roles and always a massive delight for me to see the great Sir Michael Caine. Ken Watanabe I’d like to see him have bigger roles in American movies.
Scenes I felt very impressed with were the different levels of the dreams, as if it were, the next level of the dream is like going deeper down into a hell and the dream seems to becomes more violent and destructive the further they go. Having each dream’s action effecting the other is a great concept that is executed so well, it adds that extra dimension to the action sequences.
I’m glad they did not feel it necessary to make up some kind of Technobabble as to how the device to enter other people’s dreams works. It’s enough to know that what the box does, not how it does it, it’s not required to make up ways for it to sound plausible. The focus is on the dreams themselves and our subconscious mind within the dream, the characters interaction and the rules in that world is the focus.
Maybe people have speculated on the ending and on what it really is based on what is shown in the movie. But the truth is there is no answer as to what the end means. Christopher Nolan might know but it’s his idea. There’s a line near the end of the movie that says it’s not about what you know but what you believe. He left this film ending open thereby making us the final architects of the dream, do we want it to be real or not. As the architects of our dreams we may choose whatever ending we like and believe whatever we want to believe.
Of course I can’t let this review end with my own thoughts of the ending. I kinda saw it coming. Nolan is know for his surprising/twist ending in some of his movies. Since the focus of the movie is dreams it’s possible to think that he might do something about that, pulling the reality from under our feet and making us question if it’s real or not. Love that. Some people say the kids haven’t aged, others say they did. There’s no hard evidence in either case to give a right answer here. For me the Totem begins to wobble. I think it was reality. I asked the same question to a friend in Hong Kong, he said it rather represents life itself being a dream. I like that.
Favorite Quote: “But I can’t imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection. Look at you. You are just a shade of my real wife. You’re the best I can do; but I’m sorry, you are just not good enough.” – Cobb