Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally - I am proud to announce a film that has achieved the honour of FIVE CHEESES! Blimey, I'm going to have to make a new jpeg, and everything. After months of chewing through fodder, and the occasional almost-but-not-quite-there, I've found a film I can find no fault with, a film that as it stands is my absolute fave of 2010. Something else is going to have to impress me an awful lot to topple the sheer astonishing brilliance of Inception. (And also I might add, a film I've been looking forward to for yonks that actually hasn't let me down! So thank you very much Mr Nolan!)
I'm not going to tackle the intricacies of the plot too much in this review because they are complex, but suffice to say if there was a plot hole you'd have to be looking for one. Christopher Nolan understands perfectly the idea and the world of the dream/subconscious and cleverly anticipates and creatively revels in a multitude of situations and consequences. I was floored and in awe at the attention to detail, and also appreciated the way it was explained within the narrative to us as viewers. I have to admit after the first sequence (a little action before the plot really unfolds) I was a little wary of how hard it was going to be to keep up with it all. But the introduction of new personalities to Cobb's clique - particularly Ellen Page's character - meant we were never in the dark. It was challenging, but then the best films are.
I lovvvvvvved the idea of going into people's dreams and seeing how the unconscious rules. As I have mentioned before on the blog it reminded me a lot of Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y, although instead of it being a vast troposphere where you can jump from person to person, Inception concentrates on the subconscious of just one person, but also further explores the deeper levels of this, the notion of a 'dream within a dream' and also introduces the world of 'limbo' - which wasn't exactly the barren wasteland I had been imagining it to be. It just makes me wonder (again in awe) how Christopher Nolan thought all this through, how long it took him to shape together this idea. There must have been a lot of charts and graphs involved, that much I know!
My favourite scene was probably when Cobb shows Ariadne (hee, I love it! The princess who helped Theseus back through the Minotaur's labyrinth. You can just imagine the character thinking to herself, "wow, what a unique name I have. I shall have to become an architect!") how to manipulate the dream landscape, and the effect this has on his subconscious. The world folding back onto itself it one of those defining images of modern day cinema, just like the lorry flipping in The Dark Knight - it's just incredible to watch. Then following her as she makes bridges rise, and creates new doorways into other worlds - it's so good it makes you want to cry. I really hope Nolan or someone else as skilled and talented can touch upon this concept again because it's crying out for more interpretation and story. Or ideally someone could just secure the film rights to The End of Mr Y....
Really enjoyed all of the cast in this, especially Marion Cotillard who I thought pulled off creepy extraordinarily well - she was excellent as the fragile, emotionally deluded wife and the scene and dynamic between her and Di Caprio when she jumps to her death is enormously powerful to watch. Again, Leo does a solid enough job of leading the ensemble, but as with Shutter Island he's overshadowed by the film. There was some great camaraderie between Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy's characters, but it did feel like Michael Caine's character had just been written in there for the hell of it (whose dad was he supposed to be anyway? They were all different nationalities! /only qualm).
I want to talk a little about the ending because I honestly think people are reading far, far too much into it. When the totem is spinning and the camera settles on it to create the final shot of the film, it distinctly makes the noise that it's about the topple over, while the jaunty music in the background conjours up the image of a cartoon character grinning as he tip-toes exaggeratedly over to his victim. In other words, CHRISTOPER NOLAN IS JUST TEASING US! Of course he would love us to think "oooooh. OOOOOH. It's a dream! Maybe the other world was reality. Maybe everything is a dream!" but then you wander into the realms of being clever for clever's sake. Nolan just cut the final scene short because he can. He's the director. A cheeky one at that!
148 minutes that never drags, filled with story arcs that compel, amaze and sober you: Inception isn't just the film of 2010, but it's an inspirational masterpiece from the mind of one of the finest filmmakers living today. Little wonder it's already ranked number three in the IMDB top 250 films of all time.