This was the movie that changed everything. I knew I adored film before (committing to a degree in the subject is surely an adequate indicator), but when I left the cinema after seeing Inception something inside me had been altered. For the first time in my adult life I wanted to drop all my plans for that night (of which there was one: going to the pub) and go straight back into the cinema and watch the movie again.
Inception is like a huge onion. Negotiating the story first time round is almost impossible due to its layered, science fiction nature. Cobb (Di Caprio), a dream navigator, is blacklisted from the United States and can no longer see his children. In one last effort to get home he enlists the help of an expert dream team (Joe Gordon-Levitt, Juno, Ken Watanabe and Tom Hardy) to pull off the ultimate heist: entering the mind of a VIP (Cillian Murphy) and planting an idea that will change the course of the world.
Christopher Nolan has created something here that will take some serious creativity to match. In terms of story it has many layers, and, on the third viewing, I found the initial scenes quite heavy with exposition. Nevertheless, there is something so exciting about how the dream heist is developed and how each character and their skills are introduced to the story; Cobb is troubled by his subconscious in dreams as well as reality, Arthur (JGL) is his calm partner, and there are moments of comic relief from the magnificently English, Tom Hardy. There are stellar performances by the whole ensemble, and Cillian Murphy portrays the son of a wealthy energy mogul brilliantly.
A huge factor in my falling in love with Inception was the groundbreaking camerawork and cinematography by Wally Pfister; he won the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography in 2010. Be it rotating corridors in hotels with floating cameras, or achieving the perfect film grain and hues of blue during the rainy Dream Level 1, everything looks so original.
The editing (the slow-mo, amazing) matches the pace of the action and the active camera, and there isn’t a silent scene thanks to Hans Zimmer’s epic score. We have mentioned this in a previous post, but the song Time is one of the most emotional pieces of cinematic music since the Gladiator score, which was also developed by Zimmer! We get a raw pace throughout that isn’t the result of each individual element of filmmaking piled on top of each other, but a complete whole experience where nothing stands out and everything works in synergy.
It’s very rare we are treated to a summer blockbuster that isn’t scared to challenge its audience. Inception presents some serious ideas of dream states and what is considered reality, as well as being a very strong example of technical filmmaking. However, despite having such big ambitions, it worked for a large majority. I’m not scared to say I am a huge fanboy of this movie, and regardless of some of the expository scenes at the beginning, it doesn’t matter because Inception picks you up from the first second and takes you on a relentless, thrilling rollercoaster of emotions.