Well I guess it’s a bad year for Leonardo DiCaprio having nightmares about his wife.
Inception may not quite hit the lofty heights presented. It might not be the transcendent experienced promise. But only just.
There are plenty of critics whose opinions I highly respect who are saying that Inception is nothing more then an above average blockbuster. I can’t help but disagree, Inception is too audacious a film. A blockbuster? Yes. An entertainment? Yes. Small sighted? No. The audacity (the only word that really fits) is just too stunning. Brian DePalma for all his slow motion, for all his motherfuckery, never made a moment so devilishly sustained as that forever moment in time that that van falls. Terry Gilliam for all his seductive visions has never painted a dream like this one, which drags its audience right down to the bottom with it like a millstone tied to someone’s leg then tossed into a lake.
But I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I?
By now you most likely know the plot of Inception. A tale of dream thieves recruited to plant an idea into a subjects mind. Beyond that I will say no more except to say It plays like the ultimate William Gibson novel as envisioned as the ultimate Terry Gilliam film.
What makes Inception so exciting is that it feels, not perhaps like Nolan’s ultimate work, but a kind of final crystallization of said work.
THERE ARE MAJOR MOVIE RUINING SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH
Di Caprio’s character isn’t simply unable to move on from his trauma. His life IS Trauma he’s ensnared by it. Like a fly in amber. The personalities are not merely codependant but literally dependant upon DiCaprio believing that they are real for their survival.
END MAJOR MOVIE RUINING SPOILERS.
It’s a movie from which half of the excitement comes from a filmmaker finding the perfect instrument to say what he wants to say how he wants to say it. The other half of course comes from the sheer audacity (the word that keeps running through my mind) and grace with which he brings that world to life. There’s so many images that sent my mind reeling, things that I have literally never seen before. (Note the way that Nolan even responds to the Kubrickian comparisons with a cheeky Bathroom scene)
And Nolan anchors it all in a broken perfectly human story. Partially due to Nolan’s underrated gift at casting. Ellen Page, as adorable and vulnerable as a wet Puppy. Who is multiplied with Joseph Gordon Levitt for an event horizon of precociousness. Tom Hardy makes a hell of a heavy, Cillian Murphy brings it as always. And even Pete Postlewaith brings it with his limited role. But DiCaprio anchors it, as indeed he must, bringing a real weary soul to the film. Sometimes Leo’s reach exceeds his grasp when it comes to the hardbitten heroes he likes to play. But there’s a doomed romanticism with Cobb (A name Nolan seems to like a lot) that he’s perfect for.
This review is a bit shorter then my usual (“Thank God,” I can hear some muttering). But that is because there is some stuff I’m still genuinely unclear on. What for example to make of the ending? I think its pretty clear what’s happened but for those of you who have seen the film I think its definitely up for debate as to whether Cobb has been in the dreamstate from the beginning or fallen into Limbo.
I want to catch it on my next viewing. And I’m sure that on the viewing after that I’ll be looking for something else. And the one after that. And the one after that. Nolan makes films that don’t give up all their secrets at once, and that makes him rare and valuable.