“You Mustn't Be Afraid To Dream A Little Bigger Darling.”
September 12th, 2012
It is with great ease that I say after my initial viewing Christopher Nolan's "Inception" that I could dream and imagine and think bigger than I could before. Since that time I have watched this movie at least a half a dozen times. And every time the title card appears on my television screen I sit bay and say to myself, "Wow." Never before has there been a movie that has been so engrossing and thought provoking, at least not any others that I have seen. There certainly haven't been very many others that have stuck with me as long as "Inception" has.
The idea behind Inception was this: Dominick "Dom" Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a man with a very uncommon troubled past. He and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) work for a private company, carrying out the rather unusual task of "breaking into" someone's mind to obtain their secrets. After failing to acquire a certain set of secrets from Japanese businessman Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe), but not failing to impress Saito enough to hire the duo, Cobb and Arthur are forced to run from their private employers. However Saito has a proposition of his own: Help him bring down a rival business empire and Saito will help Cobb return home to his children. After assembling a team, composed of graduate student Ariadne (Ellen Page), sharp-tongued forger Eames (Tom Hardy), and chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao). But the job proves more difficult than originally assumed: Cobb is haunted by the memory of his dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), who threatens to shatter Cobb's very sanity... if he lets her.
Now very much like "Snow White and the Huntsman", "The Town", and "127 Hours" after seeing the amazing trailer for this movie I knew I had to see it. Why? Easy, because it claimed to be something different than the run-of-the-mill Summer action flick. And boy did it ever live up to its claim. "Inception" gave us something we haven't ever seen before. A story that is wholly unique and that, in my humble opinion, no one else will ever be able to execute as well and as fluidly as Mr. Christopher Nolan has. The idea of going into another person's dream was something I hadn't ever thought of. Let alone going further into another dream and then another after that. It was insane. At least it could have been.
There are so many ways, areas, and methods that could've proven to have been this movie's downfall had any other director chosen to take on the task of making this. Not to say that there aren't any other capable directors in Hollywood because there are. Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese are two that readily come to mind. No, I think had anyone else attempted this it wouldn't have done as well as it has. Nor received the level of continued attention that it has.
I remember one afternoon reading some random comment here on MovieWeb that there was going to be an "Inception 2". To this day I haven't ever gotten so upset at the apparent announcing of a sequel. My answer back then, and it's still my answer to this day, was that Inception does not nor will it ever need a sequel. It is perfect standing on its own. Of course the images that first came to my mind when I saw the "2" were those horrific pictures of "Transformers: Rise of the Fallen" and "Batman and Robin"... Oh good God I feel myself getting sick just typing those titles out...
But as interesting as it would be for Christopher Nolan to attempt "Inception 2" he has said before that there was no intention on his part to do such a thing. That is something I have come to respect about his character. Instead of taking the paycheck and turning in another crap excuse for a sequel, or handing the reins over to another director to give it a go, he stood firm on his decision. And for that reason, and in some parts not for that reason, Inception has become one of my favorite movies of all time.
Having just finished watching it for what must be the seventh or eight time, so the movie is as fresh as possible in my mind, I can find virtually nothing wrong with Inception. Well that's not strictly speaking true. There were the occasional acting slip or quicker-than-intended cut that caught my eye. I have to be honest, as good as she is Miss Marion Cotillard does have the odd mess up. That isn't to say she's a bad actress, just not as polished as she could be. Despite those minor inconsistencies, I can easily say I will watch Inception another seven or eight times. Hell, most likely even more than that. It's just that damn enjoyable. Never have I seen a movie that has caused so many people to talk about what the ending meant. (If there is such another movie, forgive my lack of acknowledgement.)
I have read dozens of different forums and comments and theories on what Inception's ending meant. While I respect those differing opinions, some a little harder to do so than others, I have to implore my own. Now this marks the very first time I have ever spoiled a movie's ending, so if I have yet to see Inception (and shame on you if so) then skip the following paragraph.
When Cobb reaches his home and what I'm assuming to be his father (played appropriately by Michael Caine) calls out to his two young children, before that Cobb spins his totem on the nearby table but understandably fails to stay and see if it falls or not. As he walks away and the camera closes in on the spinning totem, if you pay very close attention you'll see it start to wobble. It's nothing blatant, but it is there. Now when we saw Cobb's totem while he was dreaming or in someone else's dream, it would spin without wobbling. Had he been dreaming when he sees his children the totem wouldn't have wobbled. At all. Therefore I wholeheartedly think that Cobb was awake and well when he sees his children.
As I type this review my ears hear the tones of the song used to alert Cobb and his team that the kick is coming soon. This is something I try to do with every movie I review; I always try and listen to that movie's soundtrack as I type. It helps me "stay in the experience" so I can better convey my thoughts. The music used in Inception was as unique as the movie itself. Hans Zimmer has cemented himself, again my humble opinion, as one of the best composers in the business today. But of course we must not forget the man who created the sensational music used in Inception's trailer. Zack Hemsey's "Mind Heist" has been hard wired into my brain I've listened to it so many times. As I said earlier, much like those other movies it was the music and the visuals used in each trailer that sold me on seeing that movie. If you haven't heard "Mind Heist" please give it a listen soon. Actually... give it more than one listen.
Something else, or should I say "someone else" that Inception brought into my awareness was one Tom Hardy. I thought the character of Eames was great. His mannerisms, abilities, and especially humor bring a grin to my face. In fact, the scene where he explains what a kick is to Ariadne still makes me laugh out loud. Tom Hardy did as good a job as he could have with a minor role such as this. As did everyone else. Yes even you Marion. Another scene that will stick with me is that of Arthur's zero-gravity hallway fight. That entire sequence was amazing.
Thinking back, there is one track from Inception's score that I particularly love. It's the very last one named "Time". It was the music played during the plane landing, the team disembarking, and Cobb finally being able to see him children. Very few is the number of music tracks that are so good, so thought and emotion provoking that they bring wholly unique situations and scenes to my mind. Many of which I have written down in one way or another so I won't forget them.
As I go over every part of Inception, endeavoring to decide if I've addressed everything I intended to, I find that I have. Inception is a strikingly captivating movie that actually provokes thought and in-depth conversations. It is something that will never be reproduced. At least, not in the same capacity and resonance.
This has been a review by tMG. Thank you very much for reading.