If we’re going to talk about great sci-fi movies, there’s no better place to start than with…
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo diCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and lots of other great people
Inception takes place sometime in the near future, after the invention of a technology that allows people to share each other’s dreams. Thieves known as extractors take advantage of this technology to steal secrets and ideas from the dreamers’ minds. Dom Cobb is an extremely talented extractor who has been on the run ever since he was wrongly accused of his wife’s murder. A mysterious businessman named Saito offers Cobb a way back to his home and children in America if he can pull off a seemingly impossible heist: instead of stealing an idea, he must plant one in the mind of the young man about to inherit Saito’s rival company.
“I’ll tell you a riddle. You’re waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can’t be sure. But it doesn’t matter. How, how can it not matter to you where that train will take you?”
Why I Love It:
When I went to see this movie during its opening weekend, I knew absolutely nothing about it except that it was directed by the same guy who was then in charge of the Batman movies. But as soon as the credits started, with that epic grinding soundtrack, and the opening shot of ocean waves came onto the screen, I knew I was in for something special. It took me about fifteen minutes to figure out what in the heck was going on, but when everything started making sense, I quickly realized this was going to make the short list of my favorite movies ever.
The world of Inception is beautiful and brilliant. I love the atmospheres of all the different dream-levels, from Saito’s luxurious Eastern-style mansions to the snowy mountain fortress, from the physics-defying version of Paris to the ruins of Cobb’s amazing world in Limbo. And the music (one of Hans Zimmer’s few really great soundtracks) brings the viewer completely into that world. Nitpickers may poke holes in the consistency of the dream-levels, but I think they hang together remarkably well considering how complicated dream-within-a-dream plots can get in two hours.
The characters are fascinating, especially Cobb and Mal, and superbly acted, which is essential for such a plot-driven movie. It would be easy to approach Inception simply as a puzzle to be solved, if we weren’t made to care about Cobb and his quest to get back to his children, Robert Fischer and his relationship with his father, and even Arthur and Eames’s rivalry. The characters give this movie its heart.
And talk about entertaining! The action is nonstop, there are plenty of funny moments, and the visual effects are amazing. The hotel fight in shifting gravity is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a film. But what I like most about Inception is the fact that it uses an entertaining, action-packed story to explore some very profound ideas. Cobb’s biggest internal conflict throughout the movie is the fact that he can no longer tell the difference between dream and reality. And the cinematography makes the dream-scenes so similar to the reality-scenes that we, the audience, start to wonder too.
There are all kinds of philosophical implications in this movie: How can we really know anything, when our senses are so easily deceived? Is there one objective truth about the world, or do we just have to choose which reality to accept? Best of all, though Inception makes us care about the answers to those questions, it doesn’t completely resolve them for us, leaving plenty of room for debate. It made me think harder than almost any other movie I’ve seen, and that’s what makes for truly great sci-fi.
If you haven’t seen it, go see it now! Namarie!