Inception is like...

Inception isn’t impossible. It has been done effectively by filmmakers and novelists for ages and now it has been done by Nolan. Modus Operandi is quite simple. Be an architect, construct an elaborate dream world with certain rules. Be a dreamer, let your subconscious project your imagination and tell a story. Be the forger and create believable characters by stealing from the collective or individual psyche. Be the point man and see that your task is carried out and you don’t get interrupted during your work. Now steal the show in the mind of the audience. The visuals and words are just your tools.
Nolan does exactly that. He seeded a fascinating idea into the minds of the millions of people and wowed them with extraordinary storytelling, breathtaking visuals and spine chilling thrills while feeding rich material into their grey matter. Now they are all raving about it; calling it the best movie in a decade, his best work and putting it (collectively) in the top 5 movies of all time.
Inception is a spectacular film which had me captivated for all its 148 minutes. It had all that can be expected from a summer blockbuster and because of all the points I made above made a compelling and brilliant film but it isn’t so brilliant that it deserves all the unparalleled praise. Inception is actually like several other films we have seen in the past in the emotions it evokes and ideas it plants. But then it is not.

Inception is like… Matrix: While watching the movie, I felt a déjà vu. Havent I been exposed to something like this before?  The constant doubt over reality, the viral nature of ideas and how they cant be contained were all reminiscent of Matrix. Also the susceptibility of characters dealing with duality of worlds were similar. For example, people began to spend their lives in the dreams instead of facing reality just like Cipher in Matrix preferred the life in Matrix to real world. Inception was similar to Matrix with the complex plot of underlying worlds with their own rules. However Inception was not like Matrix when it is seen how the plot was explained. Here Nolan took quite a few measures in explaining to the audiences what they were about to see or had just seen, something Wachowskis’ had left to the viewer to decrypt and interpret. 

Inception is like… Avatar:  Avatar was an elaborate physical world created from scratch by James Cameron. Nolan does the same only an elaborate construct within the mind. They are both mega Hollywood blockbuster material put out with huge production and marketing budgets to wow audiences worldwide. Hence they came with an imperative to appeal to large audiences (and rake in huge moolah at the BO). Hence the audiences are explained everything in detail.  What happens here is, understanding the plot gives the viewer a kick (No not the same kick as in the movie but as in immense rush). He has been challenged, he struggles and then he has been let in on the secret. This trick captures more minds than when left with the puzzle to be figured on one’s own or with the puzzle being too simple to solve. Avatar too does that with environmental concerns metaphor which is accessible to a much wider audience (hence much larger collections). However Inception is unlike Avatar being more cerebral and visceral with ideas than in actions. 

Inception is like… The Dark Knight:  There was the immense hype and then there was meeting the hype and surpassing it.  The way Mr Cameron has the propensity to bring in the big bucks, Mr Nolan has the tricks to charm the critics and the mature audiences and just wow them with brilliant multi layered scripts and extraordinary story telling packed with all the elements of a blockbuster but without the cheese.  In that way Inception is much like the Dark Knight in the way Nolan delivers with all the grandiosity and jumps to the very top of IMDB charts and captivates the minds and hearts of film buff; a clan hard to unite and voice an unanimous verdict. There are several among these who find Cameron’s works underwhelming but hardly anyone who is disappointed with Nolan. Coming back to Dark Knight, Inception is actually not as strong as The Dark Knight in terms of characterization. The characters in Inception are very one dimensional and hardly evolve as the story progresses. In any brilliant story characters evolve with the progression of events but that doesn’t happen so much here. The Dark Knight was exceptional in that respect.

Also the unidimensional characters resulted in limited scope for acting for the cast. Leonardo Di Caprio plays the typical deeply troubled anti hero, something he has been doing in almost every film these days. Ellen Page has it easy too by being, as my friend puts it, the FAQ section of the movie and also the guardian for Cobb (Di Caprio). Joseph Gordon Levitt sizzles as the point man and thankfully the world will now wake up and realize his phenomenal talent. Tom Hardy was suave as the forger makes excellent use of his screen time by being the welcome comic relief of the film. Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, Cilian Murphy and everyone else in the cast are just there executing their watertight roles with ease. As others have noted Marion Cotillard is the one who brings the emotional depth to the movie and she performs well.

What Nolan did was, he took a complex idea and kept it simple for the audience. It is quite the antithesis of his true masterpiece Memento. Not that it made the movie any inferior but I didn’t find it as much as challenge as I would expect from a movie of such material.  The visuals are quite restrained for the dream world but I guess that is the architect doing his job well by creating a believable environment. I might have many more points to make but I shall stop now. Rest assured it is as magnificent as movies can get and am in awe with the elaborate world Nolan has constructed.


Share/Save/Bookmark Share


Shreyasi said...

I managed to watch it this weekend coz I missed it the last. I agree a 100% with what you said. But it is a little disappointing that he gave everything away at the end. I would love to think about the movie once it stopped playing, but I just took back a complete yet wonderful experience. Would love for it to not be so complete.