Friday, July 16, 2010

"Inception" (2010) - Movie Review

Proclaiming that I understood iotas of plot points with myriad details of “Inception” is cheating Christopher Nolan’s goal out here. He wants his viewers to revisit this feature often to completely get to the labyrinth of this story. And please find a review for this film that does not use the word “labyrinth”. Nolan appears to have been fantasized by the puzzle of the puzzle. Forming a puzzle might be comparatively easy and solving it might be easy too for the author but explaining the process to others should have completed “Inception”. Welcome to one of the best films of this year.

Let me not explain the film. Let me not explain the plots. I shunned away from the possibilities of accidentally discovering the plot or stumbling through a scene and wipe that pleasure of experiencing this film in its virgin state. Granted that it is the best way to enjoy this to its fullest potential but if you have seen out of curiosity, trust me, there is a lot more to it and I mean really, a lot more to it than you could possibly imagine in those dreams of yours.

The idea of dream, realism and the alternate reality brings sigh and deus ex machina along with it. Working on this script for almost a decade and crossing films like “Dark City”, his own “Memento” and the mother of all dream/reality/mind movies, “The Matrix” trilogy, Nolan need to fight all those in this film. But he does not see those as competition or even challenge. He simply puts his trust on his script and does not appear to work under the attempt to impress any one but himself.

I will dive through the story as I have to talk more about it. There is this concept of building your dream, sharing your dream, manipulating your dream and doing several different things with it. The technology of it is there and how of it is insignificant. The real how is the how these things fit in the plot of the film. There is a crash course in this real imaginary world. One goes into sleep and begin dreaming. The dream though is very clear as it will be for the moment of it. Nothing is glossy and everything is the manifestation of your mind. The people in it, the buildings, cars are all something from memory and most from imagination. Cob (Leonardo Di Caprio) is a thief working with reliable partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). They want to unlock the secrecy from Siato (Ken Watanabe) in one of their corporate espionage works and in that we learn some principles of this process. They can enter someone else’s dream and then snoop around while they believe in their dream. There can only be chaos and ugliness in one’s dream but out here it is unperturbed. It though breaks apart when they realize the dream. Keeping it intact comes from skilled workers like Cob and Arthur. Here they not alone put one through the sleep part and intrude their dream but recreate layers of it to extract information. Every one of those temporary real world fantasies have a safe with the secrets these thieves hunt for. But this is just for starters and we get into time variation and the relativity between reality, dream and the dream within the dream with fascination one has to see.

Then we learn a bit more when Siato offers that one last job for Cob’s ticket back to home to his children where he is been accused of a crime. In the process of recruiting his team, we learn some more when he explains this convoluted yet intriguing scientific theories in application to Ariadne (Ellen Page). And we keep on learning new terminologies and bombarded with information that might in any other film would shift the confusometer gauge to red zone in both of our eyes. Yet Nolan’s clarity is crystal and he knows the limitations and the expansions. Everything is a plot device, a tool to operate his screenplay not with precision but with pure ingenuity. Yes, ingenuity cannot be more appropriate to use it out here. There is a constant fascination throughout the film on this vision of this extraordinary director who has literally worked his way through from the scratch. Even in his debut feature “Following” it appears to be unpolished but the storytelling never takes it for granted or succumbs to its complacency of such a unique plot. “Inception” is much more polished and the complacency is still absent. It has such a confidence and there is this praise for itself with a modesty. It is not cockiness but Nolan appear to be a man who admires the beauty and possibilities of his mind and gets fascinated without narcism.

“Inception” in a very broadened dumbed down format of film making can simply be called as an entertainer with full of thrills and a story to move forward with pace you would not have imagined. And it is more than anything intelligent. An intelligence which challenges its audience and even commands to obey because sometimes disciplining is the best way to introduce someone for great appreciation.

The dream world of the film is clear and is modern. Sure it is not the clear form of dream. Another film of such same procedure of diving into a mind visually was “The Cell” and the director of that film Tarsem Singh used it as a tool to paint his imagination and at the same time gave pathos of human mind in disturbing nature. Nolan does not want to use this as a painting board rather use it for his construction of the most complex but well defined building. His dream world is very real and has an industrial feel to it. It is true in every sense but he wants to keep the option of fantasy out there in bending and breaking the rules of physics in his mastered path.

In a film like this where the screenplay and story might put its audience in trouble for stretching their brain muscles, I can only imagine the pain Nolan had to go through in explaining, convincing and arranging his players, studio and whoever one could think of in line to its success. That does not mean in a little bit how much the actors in this film make it easy and believe in this sequences of events. Leonardo Di Caprio is at the age and wisdom of an actor who can carry a character like Cob with experience, trauma, pain, suffering and angst with such an ease. He has to convince those things in a world barely the audience are exposed to within few minutes entering into the story. He gets commanding support from his colleagues in Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao, Cicillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard.

“Inception” is the first film I would call it as this complete film in not alone in satisfaction of a good film making but as a triumphant film in covering genres without wanting to cover those. It leaves a deep sense of its very philosophy of an idea rooting in its audience. By now the reader would have sensed a bias and I do not blame them for thinking so because I entered with high expectation. I did make some effort in making myself love this film and when a film has twist and deus ex machina written all over it, I would not deny that I was scared of this film touching the boundaries of disappointment. Then around midway of the film I could not stop but admire putting together this film with plethora of definitions and creativity. Somewhere before the end wherein there is this great possibility of mind blowing revelation, I told myself, I do not care if it has a disappointing end because this is brilliance in display and I have relished to call it not good but great. I might not be able to explain everything that happens in “Inception” but the feeling has been real in this dreamy world of Christopher Nolan.


Bombay Belle said...

I love this review, maybe because this is one of the few films we BOTH agree upon! Its simply brilliant and Nolan is God.
I didn't know he worked on the script for 10 years?!? Really?! Whoa, good little piece of information there.
I loved the end of the movie, I thought you would say a little bit more about it.
Great review A-dawg!

Ashok said...

Thanks !!