Inception: I Wish I had Made This.
Inception is a film that I wish I had written.
It is easily the best film I have seen this millenium.
Future archaeologists will regard this film as Christopher Nolan’s high-water mark. I say this with melancholy and hope that my prediction is misaligned. I don’t know if anything Nolan makes again will be this collected and that fills me with mourning for masterpieces yet to be made.
Inception braids several genres together in a manner most masterful. It is a caper story and a psychological thriller, a romance tale and an action vehicle, a puzzling mystery and a con-artist yarn. I felt a brilliant dizziness watching these plates juggled, breathlessly waiting for breakage.
You see, I wanted the story to implode because I wanted to have written it.
Spoiler: I was denied the satisfaction of schadenfreude. All of the story’s shenanigens pay off in a satisfying manner.
Have I discussed what the meat of the plot yet? I haven’t? Hrm. I’m not sure it’s possible for to do so cogently. You see, Inception is about dreaming. To explain the storyline is to retell your dream from last night. Events only make sense in the context of their own timelines, realities, and dreamers.
The plot of Inception is strong and easy to follow. However, like the dream-stories it spins, Inception is more about the feeling and experience of the dreaming rather than any crude linear timeline. And why would Nolan want to talk about timelines anyway? He already did that.
The movie is filled with small hedges towards its philosophic underpinnings. At one point, the team’s “dream architect” imagines into “reality” two large mirrors facing each other, which then display an infinite number of Ellen Pages and Leonardo DiCaprios receding into the far forever,
None of those are the real versions of the characters. Not even the physical bodies between the mighty marbled mirrors: they, too, are figments within a dream, avatars of their sedated, sleeping selves.
That scene forms the existential seeds of the forbidden apple-of-knowledge within Inception’s Garden of Eden. The idea of disassociated reality repeats through the film, over and over again (turtles all the way down). There are some Deep Core questions concerning the nature of existence and our perception of it: are there dreams within dreams within dreams?
Nolan twists and spins the story back upon itself with this idea, creating a climax that occurs at the same time in four different realities, each running at a different speed – and does so in a way that the audience is never left to wonder “which reality is this scene occuring?”
It’s masterfully done.
I could easily spend several hundred words discussing the film in the context of other existential films (like Dark City, one of my favorites). How the movie is what I had hoped the The Matrix trilogy would have been, or how the film’s final scenes call back to Blade Runner.
However, to do so may very well dilute what Inception really is, and I don’t want to do that.
Dear reader, if you carry even the slightest degree of respect for my opinion about matters such as these, you will see this film.
And do it before someone stupidly spoils it for you.