I went to see inception this Saturday. I was happy to get out and enjoy a film in a theater. Let me say that the audience in the theater was very silent, which can be a rare thing. The movie was Inception, dir Chistopher Nolan. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard,Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine.
There’s a lot going on in this film, but at its heart we’re treated to a story where people are able to enter your dreams and steal your thoughts. The term “inception” does include entering dreams, however, the goal is to plant ideas in one’s head. We start with a dream heist gone bad to planting a dream in a wealthy heir’s (Cillian Murphy) head. Nothing goes 100% as planned.
What I noticed immediately was a comparison to The Matrix. After all we have a film where technology allows people to enter an alternate world inside the human brain. He have some zero gravity combat, some shoot em outs and in fact some brain hacking. Several of the people are even able to alter the dream world in some fashion like Neo.
Mind you, The Matrix isn’t the first film to deal with alternate states. It certainly should not be the last. I’m allowing myself a moment where I accept this fact. I think of how the film shows the inner world which reminds me of Expressionist films, but the dreams are larger, and the advances in technology make the dreamscapes look amazing. One look at the crumbling buildings near the seashore in Cobbs’ dream world tells us the story of a lonely man and his guilt.
What I noticed a lot in Inception is the use of diagetic and non-diagetic sounds. When dealing with alternate worlds, one must keep in mind what is within the story world and what is outside the story world. Let me say the soundtrack for this film (by composer Hans Zimmer) was very moving. Somewhat dark and excitable. If I may say as contagious as placing a thought in one’s head. The fact that music is used in the film as a diagetic aspect to wake several people works interestingly. After all only certain characters within the film can hear the songs.
This is a bit of a caper film, so we do see a heist going on. I like the fact that there is a clear mission, and some unusual math in here. Dream world time is different from real world time. With the sub-levels of dreams seconds become years.
What kind of took me out of the story a few times was that it sometimes resembled video games. I was thinking “Metal gear” when the cast stormed a fortress to break into the target’s mind. There were several gunfire scenes that gave me pauses. Mind you we have DiCaprio’s character Cobb losing his mind here. He projects his dead wife, Mal into many dreamscapes, and she is pissed! She is hostile and willing to inflict pain and death on anyone she comes across.
The ending is very ambiguous, in spite of having a happy ending where Cobb returns to his children. What we are left to infer is that he is still within a dream. The rest of the cast fades away and the only thing that really matters is Cobb’s world.