Saturday, July 17, 2010

Christopher Nolan's Inception

When it comes to Christopher Nolan I can't offer enough praise. There is a film maker who has, time and again, amazed, puzzled, and impressed from film to film in a crescendo of quality. Films such as Dark Knight, The Prestige, and Memento display this man's genius in the film medium, and they come with my highest recommendation to any who have not yet had the opportunity to watch them.

Then there is his most recent film Inception. From the first scene to the final, it is a film experience like no other. The splendid acting, the amazing writing, and the powerful score, composed by Hans Zimmer, combined to wrap the viewer in the action and story of this cinematic wonder.

The film deals with dreams, to put it plainly, and how through the invasion of dreams one can not only steal ideas but plant them, changing the nature of the individual whose dreams were subject to the trespass. It also addresses the life we may have in dreams and the ability to hold tightly to the things we dare not release. Those things we hold to, though, could damn us in the end as we eventually see.

The cast consisted of what I consider, in no disrespect whatsoever, to be Nolan's stable of actors, with obvious additions. Once again we see Michael Caine, a Nolan favorite apparently, Ken Watanabe, and Cillian Murphy whose role and character story would alone make an interesting film apart from the dream business. Leonardo DiCaprio has been an impressive fixture in the film industry rising above the years of being considered a base heartthrob to becoming a meaningful, inspiring actor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave a grand performance in consistency with his usual brilliance as an actor. Ellen Paige impressed me in her role as the architect of the dream world and the mediator for Leonardo's character's inner conflict. Then there's Tom Hardy who I haven't seen since his appearance in Star Trek Nemesis which he's apparently not only outgrown but surpassed in so many ways. I hope to see him in many future films. These actors along with the layers of wonder present in the world of the film kept the action moving, driving the viewer to the typical, rewarding Nolan finish.

There are some things about Christoper Nolan that I have noticed in watching this and his many other films. One thing is, and perhaps I'm reading too far into this, that it seems in most of his movies the story, after whatever exposition is offered, ends up in a garage or warehouse where plans are laid and the characters base themselves in preparation for whatever it is they hope to achieve. In Batman Begins and in Dark Knight we see Bruce Wayne in the Batcave or Fortress observing the story occurring beyond the room he's in and formulating plans to deal with the events he must inevitably join. In the Prestige we see the workshops of two magicians who must use their places of solitude to design their contraptions and illusions to better their acts and meet out revenge on one another. In Inception we see the team of dream specialists designing their assault on the consciousness of their mark in a warehouse where all their techniques and methods are developed. I know, having watched the special features available through Nolan's films, that he tends to develop all of his movie concepts and stories in his garage. Perhaps this isn't the case all the time, but I thought it would be an interesting connection between his view of a workspace/planning area that acts also as a fortress of solitude and his character's areas of planning and design. From both locations stories are built, plans are made, and the rest of the film progresses forth.

To conclude, I find Christopher Nolan to be my favorite director above all others. It is in the areas I've mentioned above and in the respect for his work that I base this assessment of the man. I highly recommend viewing his library of film when you get the chance!

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