INCEPTION is one of those rare movies you have to see to realise how good it really is. It has been praised so much that it currently holds number 4 of the iMDB Top 250 with a 9.1. So if you are reading this and haven’t seen it yet, tell me why have you not?
O wait you have seen it… right? Good! Then you know that over 180.000 people have voted for this movie in a short period of time. Compare it with the number 3 on the list, which is THE GODFATHER: PART II with over 244.000 votes, not a bad result for director Christopher Nolan.
INCEPTION is a story about dreams, you know the ones you get when you sleep, or staring at the pretty girl (or boy) across the room. This is the very basis of the movie upon which it is built. Now this doesn’t sound as much, but hear me out…
Ever dreamt about dreaming? Waking up in the middle of the night, only to realise you are still dreaming? How about waking up from a dream, realizing this great idea or solution to a problem you have been struggling with for years! Lets go a bit further; create your own world, capable of moving the very fabric of the universe, only because it is in your dream. How about going into the dream of your enemy or competitor trying to figure out their deepest secrets so you can use it against them. Now let us push that last idea beyond bounds; what if you can use a dream to make the dreamer follow an idea or suggestion, like “when I wake up, I am going to …”.
The last example given above is called “inception”. According to the dictionary inception means: “The beginning of something, such as an undertaking; a commencement”. Put it into the perspective of the movie, this means inserting an idea or thought into the dreamers mind, making him or her undertake certain action or to start something.
If you can grasp this idea, you will see that the possibilities are endless. So when you are making such a movie, you have to convince the audience that the possibilities are indeed endless, but you also have to make sure not to lose yourself with too much details and complexity. Nolan created a perfect balance in this and he chose the right people to play the various parts.
INCEPTION tells the story of Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his crew, who specializes in stealing top secret information from people by entering their dreams. I will give an non-movie-related example to explain this.
To steal from a dream you first have to make sure your target falls asleep, you can do this with the help of heavy sedatives. You then make sure someone can create an entire world for the target to walk around in. This can be best done with the help of an architect. Now you will need some deception to convince the target something is happening and he or she has to give sensitive information. This requires some kind of conman or magician like character. You also have to keep in mind that the target will fight back in their dreams and you have to defend yourself against it, so some kind of weapon or demolition expert to go along, is a smart thing to do. And finally you will need people to coordinate everything and to assist in small tasks, like driving around. So you will need at least 4 people to follow the target in his or her dream and you have to make sure someone stays awake to watch over the several sleeping bodies. A lot of organisation required as you can see.
You still with me on this? Good!
To continue with the story; Cobb gets busted in one of his attempts to steal information from a target called Saito (Ken Watanabe). Instead of killing him, Saito makes Cobb an offer he cannot refuse. In exchange for his freedom he has to implement an idea into the mind of Robert Fischer, one of Saito’s competitors (Cillian Murhpy). He reluctantly accepts and assembles his team. The various roles are filled by Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, woohoo, I love this guy!) the demolition expert, Ariadne (Ellen Page) a talented architect student, Eames (Tom Hardy) the conman and Yusuf (Dileep Rao) an heavy sedation specialist.
The freedom Cobb is looking for is all related to Mal (Marion Cotillard), his wife. They both ventured into the dream world once, which made Mal go insane. She commits suicide and Cobb gets the blame for it. However Cobb feels responsible for the death of Mal, because he planned the idea of an ideal world into her mind (his first inception so to speak). It is this guilt, which is a red line through the story. Unstable emotions result in drastic results in a world where everything is possible.
Now combine these various story arches with some dreaming philosophy and you got yourself one intense movie. During the entire 148 minutes of film I was on the edge of my seat and kept me thinking for weeks after I have seen it. Especially the last scene stuck with me, as I was having a MATRIX déjà vu. The acting in every scene was great, the action was hectic and subtle at the same time and the special effects were brilliant. I simply cannot wait to watch this movie again to discover more small details, which Nolan always hides in his movies.