Nolan’s Inception Is A Waking Dream

John Montagno

The dream is real.
Your mind is the scene of the crime.

On July 16th, the new mind-bending vision of the critically acclaimed director of the Batman sequel, Christopher Nolan, got planted in the collective unconscious of the world on IMAX and standard theatre screens. Inception is a psychologically thrilling espionage science fiction film set within the architecture of the mind in the future where the technology exists to enter the sleeping human mind through dream invasion. The main character is Cobb, portrayed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, a highly skilled thief on the run who will do anything to see his children again. He is given a final chance at redemption by a powerful Japanese businessman Satio, portrayed by actor Ken Watanabe. Cobb must execute his most challenging task to date, to implant a revolutionary idea to destroy his father’s empire in the mind of the son of a powerful corporation’s CEO Robert Fischer, portrayed by actor Cillian Murphy. Cobb recruits several allies to aid him on his mission, including: Eames, portrayed by Tom Hardy, a forger who can change appearance inside dreams, Yusuf, portrayed by actor Dileep Rao, a sedative chemist, and Ariadne, portrayed by actress Ellen Page, a student whom he and his pointman Arthur, portrayed by Joseph Goron-Levitt, train as their new architect. This film contains a colorful set of characters, each with their own quirks and vulnerabilities.

The colorful cast of Inception.
The colorful cast of Inception.

The feature of Inception that the audience will first notice are the surrealist visuals. They are absolutely stunning as the audience expects from previous films directed by Nolan and although they may actually distract from following the plot at times, the plot is in no way compromised. This film requires several viewings to fully understand its intricate plot line, which includes several parallel dreams-within-dreams, that occur simultaneously like a series of dominoes. The themes are very somber and philosophical. The audience is forced to consider questions very familiar to anyone who has seen the Matrix trilogy – is this life a lucid dream, a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming? This an age-old philosophical question that maddens anyone who thinks about it for too long, as seen in the film. Anyone who wants an easy simple minded and easy to follow experience may be frustrated and may not be able to appreciate the story which is, again, a psychological thriller. The film ends with an open question further emphasizing the profound philosophical undercurrent. The viewer may feel very confused and disoriented, but that seems to be the point of the film and if it is, it is an overwhelming success.
Watch the trailer.