The Genius & MADNESS of Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION

It has never been easy for Hollywood to come up with something original. These days nearly every single movie that comes out is an adaptation of a book, graphic novel, play, video game, or a remake of something previously done with the same title. Very rarely are some of these unoriginal films bad, but there are those that are among the conglomeration.

As far as Christopher Nolan is concerned… He has never made more original feature films than he has adaptations. Sure he has a couple short films and his first feature, Following. Momento came around the beginning of the 21st Century and shocked viewers with an unconventional method of storytelling. THAT was original, the plot however was not. The film that won him an Academy Award for Best Screenplay was nothing more than an adaptation to one of his brother’s short stories of the same title.

Despite the negativity that comes with being a director with an eye for storytelling and not creation can be daunting at times, but with Momento came success enough to draw the attention of big-name actors.

A year or two later, Insomnia was released. It was successful, but not awe inspiring and may have been a bit predictable.

Then there was a pause in Nolan’s output. It would be three years until Batman Begins stealthily swept audiences across the world with awe inspiring action, story, and (a rarity in Hollywood) philosophical themes. Who would have thought that Batman could stand for something so powerful, the villains likewise. In 2008 The Dark Knight would do ten times better than its predecessor ever did to begin with, bringing in a heaping load of moral dilemmas that made the audience “think” and feel “smart”. Even M. Night Shaylaman couldn’t make you as a viewer feel smart.

Before he reached his audience encouraging and creative storytelling climax in 2008, The Prestige hit theaters, competing against The Illusionist on the same weekend. Though the latter was a genuinely good emotional tourney Nolan’s story of revenge and redemption between rival magicians was the far superior of the two similar films. When it came to the prestige of the trick Nolan had the better hand. It was another example of film that baffled the audience and gave them the pieces they needed to guess or analyze the ending.

So during the time that he was starting his successful career as a brilliant filmmaker, Nolan had been secretly working on a script that he hoped one day he would make. It was his first original idea since Following. 10 years later, BAM!! Inception hits theaters with a strong “kick”, waking us up from the nightmare that Hollywood has been struggling to keep functioning.

There has been a lot of word of mouth about Nolan’s latest addition, both good and bad reviews. But though there are good perks and bad vices that go along with this movie it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t succeeded.

Regardless of reviews, the advertising campaign, the success at the box office, and the film itself showed Hollywood that it is possible for a movie to succeed when it is completely driven by concept. Granted, the majority of the female audiences were all over DiCaprio being in the movie, but despite the star power behind the movie Concept can be a dominant force. And considering the current trend in audiences today, more are looking at movies that have good ideas to back it up. Nolan has gone beyond pulling off the perfect mind heist, he has performed Conception on the world.

As a film, Inception is surely driven by pure concept, it’s the main engine that trudges it along its plot line, but without character there is no base for the audience to support themselves to. As viewers we need that human connection. The film may have a good many known actors in it, but there really is only one that is the “projection” of Dom Cobb, DiCaprio. Through his character we are grounded to the story, sorry that he cannot be with his family and that his wife is dead. When a chance to reunite with family is presented he jumps at it full force, no matter the consequences. Wouldn’t we do the same for our own families? This is the connection that we find with this film and it keeps on turning the gears of the series of events that eventually leads him and his team to the very foundations of the subconscious. The problem with this connection is that it is solely concerned with one individual. All other characters are nothing but pawns Cobb uses to achieve his goal. The most annoying is Ariadne, played by Ellen Page. She’s an Architect, apparently this is an important facilitating position in the art of Inception, or Extraction. But the only human function she possesses is the ability to let us question Cobb’s own subconscious. The lack of other meaningful human behavior is all too evident in the other characters. We know that they are there, but it doesn’t really matter what they’ve been through. Unfortunately, this is the trademark of any Heist movie.

Aside from the characters, the plot line does not really suffer from this. The only that impairs the film is the audiences lack of care for the characters and the process of Inception itself. If you have not seen this movie don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Another thing that dilutes the film for some people is the complexity of the job itself, or how they pull it off in the end. At that point in the film Nolan filters out the ones that hate to think for their entertainment. If you believe that it’s stupid to ponder things then this is not a movie for you and you may hate to person who takes you to it in the end. Don’t let this happen!

Though there isn’t much characterwise in the movie, there is plenty of action that has to be followed by an audience who is genuinely interested in the concept of the film. Interest in the film depends on an individuals personal taste, so not all will love this movie and some that saw it were some of the those with these other tastes. One of the most affected groups of viewers would be those that don’t like to sit for a few minutes to think, or smell the roses. People who are all about action? Maybe they will enjoy the last hour of the movie, but will be troubled by all the stuff added onto it that is mainly for the film’s ideal audience. Other types of viewers will be disappointed by the amount of action that there is. No matter what your individual tastes are I can assure to you that you should see this movie for the following points:

  • The Visuals
  • How they go about planning for the job
  • The intricacy of pulling off the job (the levels of dreams that they go under, how they affect every other level, and how every level affects the other)
  • Leo is in it, ladies!
  • It’s Christopher Nolan, dude! (for fans of the director)
  • If you like to think when watching a movie
  • If you are entertained by things that make you think
  • If you like to sound smarter than your friends by understanding how Inception (performing it) works
  • If you like Heist movies

One of the things that some of the negative viewers believe is that the movie is trying to be the next best thing since sliced bread. To those of you who think this I have this to say:

The film is not a bad movie, it’s good, better than most original action films out there these past two years, but it is not GREAT! Sure it is a cornerstone for the future of audience interest and special effects. But give Nolan some credit. This is his second original film since Momento. He’s kind of out of practice. Plus, who knows how long the script was sitting under a layer of dust? Of all the ORIGINAL action movies out there it is good.

A comment from a critic was that it was like the Matrix meeting James Bond. IT IS NOT!!! This is because Inception is far more realistic than the Matrix franchise ever was. Lucid dreaming is possible, shared dreaming? not so much, but the potential for controlling our dreams is real. It’s not a computer simulation, it is a dreamscape! This is something that most people DO NOT UNDERSTAND! There is no Chosen One who can bend forks and fly, Cobb is not a secret agent, he’s a thief, and he does not sleep with every woman he lays his eyes on. If you want to take it further, Inception and the Matrix have their origins as well. Go back far enough and you reach Philip K. Dick’s Ubik. Even further and you hit Jorge Luis Borges which was what Nolan was reading during the time he was writing the script for this film.

Though its origins may not be original, how the many pieces that make up Inception are put together are. Bash it all you want. This movie was good. Again, I stress, not GREAT!


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