Friday, July 30, 2010

The Layered Labryinth of Inception

It's been a long, long time since I've been to the movie theater. With all the 3D junk and over CGI'ed action films out, it's harder for me to be motivated to see anything this summer. Even Iron Man 2 was a bit of a bore with too much CGI action and not enough of the sleak and snark that Tony Stark brought to it's predecessor. But leave it to Christopher Nolan, our generations Stanley Kubrick, to bring something thought provoking as well as action packed to the summer movie screen. Inception, the highly anticipated and highly talked about psychological thrill ride, is the perfect summer movie. Just as he did with The Dark Knight, Nolan creates a chaotic world filled with gun fights, thrilling chase scenes through Mombasa and textured worlds within worlds that are all at once recognizable yet skewed. But what makes Inception more than a perfect summer movie is it's labyrinthine maze of a story. What lacks in most summer movies is plot and for those in need of a story that is less neanderthal and more stimulating to the mind, Inception is it.

The plot revolves around "extractors" who are hired to steal information from people via their subconscious. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gorden Levitt) are two extractors who are trying to convince Mr. Saito (Ken Wantanabe) into using them for a job. One thing leads to another and instead of extracting information, Saito wants them to plant an idea. From here on out, a team of several different skilled professionals dive into the mind of a high profile banking executive (Cillian Murphy) into splitting up his giant corporation. Sounds pretty straightforward in the sense of a sci-fi heist of sorts, but the layered texture of the dream world is what comes into play here. Going much further into the plot would become tedious and probably be impossible to describe without ruining the movie, so I will stop there.

What makes Inception so great is it's master's voice. Christopher Nolan's screenplay is tight as is his direction. Clues are abounding all over the screen but they are never too heavy handed or in your face. Much like the extractor, the audience must glean evidence and clues within the layers of dreams to figure out what exactly is going down. In the long run, the real heart of the story is the emotional pull of Cobb's subconscious and his wife, Mal (played by the exquisite Marion Cotillard.) These heart wrenching scenes between lovers add an emotional splash to the otherwise somewhat conventional heist plot. Without this caveat, Inception would lack the kind of originality that it does indeed have.

Whether or not Inception is Christopher Nolan's finest film is definitely debatable, however, it is no denying that it is yet another grand achievement from a director who has yet to give us anything sub par (even if Insomnia is uneven and rife with casting errors, it's still a decent movie.)

No comments: