I watched Inception over the weekend and boy was it good. A stellar cast supported by a brilliantly woven script and of course the direction of Christopher Nolan. This director never fails to amaze. A fan of the Batman franchise reboot, I have noticed that Nolan spins a yarn very well. Be it Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige – he has become that master auteur who brings in clever twists unlike the warped finales of a certain M. Night Shyamalan.
Inception deals with dreams – not a single layer, but a series of layers of dreams. The film is fast paced and captures the imagination and the cast justifies the frenetic pace that is set from the word go. It is obvious that the film is set some time in the future, but there are no pre-narratives about how the dream machine came about or about any dystopian setting as such. Leonardo DiCaprio is predictive in performance. He is a good actor, but of late, I find a bit of sameness in the way he pursues his craft, movie after movie. Shutter Island, The Departed, Body of Lies and now Inception, one would notice that there is a pattern in his acting expressions. Beyond this, I have no complains as he carries the movie forward with the necessary zeal (if not the X factor).
I loved the cast. Ellen Page (can’t shake off the sarcastic-in a-nice-way Juno in her, but she’s still the gal), Joseph Gordon Lewitt (who is especially engaging in the corridor sequence of Dream Level 2 – someone said he danced across like Fred Astaire and I would second that – and he definitely has it going for him in Hollywood), Tom Hardy (whom I found entertaining with his Brit cockiness and it would have served the movie well if he had a few more quips thrown in), Michael Caine (cameo of sorts), Dileep Rao (definitely a big leap for this Indian American actor who did quite a good job of it), Cillian Murphy (Nolan gave his scarecrow another run), Pete Postlewaite (Mr. Kobayashi had a powerful Jap to deal with here than in his Usual Suspects name).
For all the brouhaha over people not able to follow the movie, I thought it was pretty simple if you concentrated on the screen. Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is solicited by a Jap businessman (Ken Watanabe, the go-to Jap guy for Hollywood) to plant an idea in a corporate rivals’ mind so that he wakes up and self destructs when it comes to his business empire. You have all sorts of architects, forgers, chemists helping Cobb in this project as they construct a complicated maze of dreams spread across three levels of the sub conscious. As they move from one dream layer to the other, the dreams emerge as a terrifying reality where the real-world people could be placed in limbo if they take a false step.
Inception would definitely make a great video game. The dream layers could represent the different levels in a game and it sure would be a Xbox/Playstation smash considering that the film is raking the big bucks in the theaters. The only blot of Christopher Nolan’s career so far would have to be his ‘convenient’ ending in ‘The Prestige’, but Inception leaves us an open-ended finale that is anything but convenient. Nolan teases the audience, but stops short of calling them stupid and he does it with class.
Any movie that gives me an excuse to watch it a second time (not cause I didn’t understand it the first time) is a great movie in my view. Inception does just that.