Abzee’s review of INCEPTION

16

Due to the word limit of the print edition it appeared in, my review doesn’t really do justice to this rich and layered film. I will try and write a better, longer piece…but until then, this review which appeared in Sakaal Times should suffice.

What dreams are made of 

Inception
Dir- Christopher Nolan
Cast- Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard
Rating- *****

When The Matrix had released, the film’s tagline was oft quoted by those who saw it- “no one can be told what The Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself!” A slew of mind-bending films followed…most aiming for instant notoriety by way of twist-endings, but none were able to perfect an absolute novel experience. Christopher Nolan’s Inception, his cerebral follow-up to the money-spinning Batman sequel The Dark Knight, is a film that matches & betters The Matrix experience, for it does have an open-ending that will be doubtlessly debated, but its beyond description journey to the end is more significant than the actual finish. In fact, one never knows if the film really finishes!   

Inception means planting an idea in someone’s head. In a not-so-distant future, where certain drugs are capable of putting people in an induced state of dream, there exist hackers of a different kind. Called Extractors, these can get into the deepest recesses of a person’s subconscious and steal ideas. In the world of tomorrow, an idea is the most prized commodity. In the world of films where remakes, rehashes and sequels rule the roost, an original idea is an invaluable entity even today. So you know how priceless this concept in itself is.

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an expert Extractor. Hired by his corporate clients to steal ideas, he is employed by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to implant an idea instead. To put an idea into someone’s head and have them believe that it came to them naturally is infinitely more difficult than simply stealing an idea. And so, Cobb assembles a team of the best that there is to pull this off… a team which also has a young college student Ariadne (Ellen Page) to construct dreamscapes, a specialty that Cobb has given up after the puzzling death of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard). Saying anything more would be saying too much, and yet saying nothing at all… liberating this critic from having to summarize the story.

As with all of Nolan’s previous films, Inception is primarily a fantastic and elaborate psychological study. It is a summa of the concerns that Nolan’s earlier films addressed- retribution, denial, regret and complex morality. Inception goes a step further, it broods over nostalgia and accompanying mourning… stating eventually that we cannot and must not inhabit a world recreated from our memories, but instead move on.   

“Always imagine new places”, advises Cobb to Ariadne. Nolan’s been consistently doing that, all the while establishing his own signature. The concept of implanting an idea and making the subject ‘buy’ the dreamscape is similar to the nature of filmmaking and propaganda! Nolan knows this; which is why he furnishes this intelligent film with dazzling special effects as well, giving Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the process the best moment of his career- an outstanding action-sequence set in suspended gravity.

With its dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream structure, things can get difficult to follow, but when was the last time a film made you bring your brains along?

- Abhishek Bandekar

16/07/10