Inception is not just a film, it’s a spiritual awakening! The best writer/director currently working in the Biz, Christopher Nolan, once again, knocks it out of the park delivering a riveting, action packed, brain-f*#k of a film! As with his reinvention of the Batman series (most notably “The Dark Knight”), Nolan crafts a mind-bending, twisty saga with so many multiple layers, that I am sure that each time I see it, it will reveal another level that I missed the first time. Like a conceptual and visual acid trip, it re-opened pathways in my mind and I was having flashbacks of it for days!
Inception is hard to summarize in a few words, as it is a cinematic mash-up of The Matrix, Blade Runner, and a heist film,. There are just so many things going on simultaneously with multiple characters entering in and out of waking and dream states, that the audience was sometimes lost. I talked to a bunch of the other lucky folks, who were at the press preview, and we all had a slightly different interpretation of what we had just seen. (It is kind of like losing your virginity – better to go in without any preconceived notions since each person’s experience of it is unique!)
At the film’s core, is the story of master dream sharer Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). Cobb is expert in the art of extracting ideas from people’s subconscious while they are dreaming. But like the hero of every great film noir, he is a tortured soul with a past. Exiled from America after a tragic occurrence, he hopes to pull off just one more job and return to his kids at home. Except this time, instead of extracting an idea from their mark, Cobb and his team are hired by a powerful business magnate (hottie Ken Watanabe) to plant an idea into Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the heir to a rival business empire. The deal is Faustian and not without special peril to Cobb.
Every aspect of the film is Oscar-worthy. The soundtrack from Academy Award Winner Hans Zimmer is a driven bombastic cacophony of beats and strings, which combined with Wally Pfister‘s cinematography, Guy Hendrix Dyas’ production design, and Jeff Kurland’s sharp costumes further set the unforgettable mood. With DiCaprio in the lead and an all-star cast consisting of Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Tom Hardy and TGATP favorite and Nolan regular, Michael Caine, the casting is flawless.
One of the most amazing features of the film is the use of physically constructed, instead of computerized special effects. Gravity-defying sets were designed to revolve a full 360 degrees and another set was constructed on a giant gimbal that put everything and everyone on tilt! Nolan states, “The material demanded a very large-scale approach. Thus we wound up shooting in six different countries on four different continents, building enormous sets, and really pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved practically as opposed to computer effects.” This is a revolutionary approach and will hopefully spark a return to the era of directorial innovation, rather than computer generated effects, in film making.
I have long been interested in the dream realm as I sometimes experience psychic dreams that warn me of things to come. Unfortunately, they are rarely positive occurrences rather they predict impending breakups, bad business deals, and the like! The last one came five years ago and accurately predicted that USA Networks was not greenlighting my show idea after months of development and turnaround. When the call came, I was sitting in the exact place and had the very same emotions that I had experienced in the dream! That interest was further peaked upon reading Don Miquel Ruiz’ “The Four Agreements”, in which he describes the Dream of the Individual vs. the Dream of the Planet and how we create our own realities through our individual and collective consciousness. In addition, Wayne Dyer, in a recent PBS special, hipped me to the vital importance of preparing for sleep to induce proper dreams that are rooted in positivity, and are not negativity or fear-based, in order to create a more balanced Life. Thus, my experience of the film was rooted in a deep consciousness of the possibilities of the dream realm. Nolan states that “At the heart of the movie is the notion that an idea is indeed the most resilient and powerful parasite. A trace of it will always be there in your mind somewhere.” I guarantee you that Inception and the ideas it explores will definitely stay with you for a very long time. I can’t wait to see it again!
A fun tip: When you come out of the film, view your trip home as if you are dreaming it. Doing so, brings out a heightened awareness of your surroundings and provides some really trippy sensory experiences! I have been doing it for the past few days and it has been barrels of fun and given me a new enlightenment.