Inception is a 2010 science-fiction heist movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan; best known for The Dark Knight trilogy. Starring Leonardo Di Caprio as Dominick Cobb, the film centers on the latter and his quest to get himself out of an illegal kleptomaniac career which involves infiltrating people’s subconscious with the aid of a special machine and stealing intricate information from them.
a.) Dominick Cobb
Leonardo Di Caprio is a man who certainly needs no introduction; he is otherworldly as far as acting is concerned. Just give him the right material to work with and he will duly deliver. I could think of many of his Hollywood counterparts who would have pulled off this particular character in this film case in point Tom Cruise or even Brad Pitt nonetheless, Leo was undoubtedly perfect casting and it’s evident throughout. Dominick Cobb has rich characterization; a man who wants out of a life he had indulged himself into that made him leave his children behind. He is desperate to get back to them and thus when an opportunity arrives in the form of Saito (Ken Watanabe) for his aspirations to come to fruition, he doesn’t pass up on it even though he is very skeptical of what is needed of him. Saito is basically a businessman who wants Maurice Fischer; the son of an ailing competitor in his space to dissolve the company that rivals him. The best way he can do it is by hiring Dominick to perform inception; a process which involves implanting an idea into Maurice’s mind that he hopes will make the latter seek other business ventures and do away with his current one. Despite the fact that Dominick is best suited to do it, he does face opposition in that it cost him his wife and his chance to be with his two children the first time he did it. I was thus invested in seeing his struggles throughout his mission alongside his liaisons; a mission which should be more possible than plausible given his experience in the concept of the whole thing but somehow isn’t because his past and the mistakes he made then do come to haunt him.
I felt a lot of sympathy for Marion Cotillard’s character; her story is quite heart-breaking and I understood her intentions all the way. She is the deceased wife of Dominick who exists within his subconscious and thus every time the latter goes into dream state, she appears in certain circumstances calling on Dom to be with her and honour his promise of them being able to grow old together. When she was alive, Mal had her husband spent a lot of time in the dream state and when Dom came to the realization that it was time to go back to the real world, she was very reluctant since to her, the dream state had become her reality. I understood that aspect towards her thinking, I understood why she would go to an extent of taking her own life; a situation which leaves Dom distraught and reluctant to seek closure hence the reason why she keeps popping up in Dom’s subconscious. I felt the relatability and depth to Mal as a character and I got why she kept sabotaging Dom’s cerebral missions; all Mal wanted was to be reunited with her beloved husband even though she is just a fabric of his imagination. This whole concept might seem confusing to some people who have seen the film but not understood it and so I’ll take it upon myself to make things simpler for you.
Imagine a marital situation where a couple who are madly in love with each other have been taking trips to the Bahamas for vacations every single month. There comes a time when the husband wants to stop going to the Bahamas because he is tired of it but unfortunately for him, his wife isn’t. The woman is so obsessed with the Bahamas that she is willing to and eventually does take her own life in an attempt to change her husband’s mind. From then on, the man lives with the sheer guilt of being the cause of her wife’s death and thus whenever he goes to sleep, he immerses himself in a subconscious world where his wife exists but doesn’t want to interact with because he simply can’t come to terms with the ‘embodiment’ of his misfortune. The married couple represents Dom and Mal and the Bahamas vacations represents the dream state; I hope my symbolic explanation of the mentioned characters’ subplot makes sense.
The Plot, Boons and Banes.
Christopher Nolan is a director who I draw a lot of inspiration from because he’s the real deal; there’s nothing much to it. The best thing I like about him is that his stories are always rich in intrigue, awe and suspense and that’s what I need as a movie-goer; wow me to a point where I can leave the theatre a different person than I was when I went into it. Another thing I admire about his work particularly in this movie is the fact that he took a simple overlooked aspect of people’s daily lives and made an exquisite cinematic story out of it; a story he formulated as a result of experiences during his University years where he practiced and found fascination in lucid dreaming.
It was always going to be a tough ask to put pen to paper on this astounding concept of an individual having the ability to infiltrate other people’s subconscious and steal secret information from them; I am glad that Nolan was the one who took the initiative to write the script that Inception’s plot is based on. Only he would have more vivid understanding of the dialogue that would fit the story i.e. members of Cobb’s team that includes Eames (Tom Hardy), Ariadne (Ellen Page), Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) engage in very interesting conversations and arguments particularly after they manage to get Fischer Jr to sleep and get into his mind. Only Nolan would have an understanding of the acting needed to engage the audience watching the film; the exemplary onscreen performances by the stellar cast particularly Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard is a clear testament of how good the casting choices he picks for his movies can turn out to be. The visual effects are fascinating as well; that scene where Dominick and Ariadne walk through a city that has folded in on itself while in dream state seemed so realistic and appealing to the eye. The production design is stellar; quite a number of breathtaking locations are featured in this film as the ‘dream team’, pun intended, maneuver through Fischer’s cerebral world. I loved the cinematography as well; the shot angles and shot types used by Nolan were immersive and seamless in selling the tension that was going on. Finally, the score is fantastic; it’s classic Hans Zimmer and I didn’t expect any less.
My only issue with this photoplay is that it doesn’t give a background explanation to these machines that enable consciousness infiltration. The devises play a major role in the lives and operations of the main characters and thus I believe, as an audience member, that we deserved to get a better understanding of them and hence the movie should have taken at least a minute or two to fill us in instead of what it went for.
This film received various accolades in various categories of award ceremonies around the time period it was released and deservedly so. The very approach which Inception is based on and the way it was projected onto the screen in such magnificent fashion was unique and authentic especially from a film-making point of view. Dominick Cobb’s story, though science-fiction, gave me a whole new perspective on matters cerebral and I definitely see myself revisiting this film many more times in future, wouldn’t you agree?