Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Inception (2010)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer:    Christopher Nolan
Cast:       Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy

A thief who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a dying billionaire mogul's son.

It was I think the first and only English film that I managed to watch very close to its release date (second day) after waiting for it with great anticipation since the inception of its viral campaign. Didn't get tickets at Satyam Cinemas and saw it at Devi which is not a very good theater in Chennai. I again saw it at Satyam the next week and when Escape Cinemas opened in Express Avenue, I saw it for a third time which is my highest for any film in terms of big screen viewing. Some idiots will quip that I saw it multiple times because I didn't understand it but they can do one. The basic story is not very hard to understand if you pay attention but when you see it for the first time you will feel the same way way as the characters do when they wake up in the plane. You kind of understand it but is not entirely sure of it. The multiple viewings help to fill the gaps and appreciate the level of details they have carefully woven into it making a convincing narrative. The ambiguous ending gives us the license to speculate. Some viewers were put off by the ambiguity of it but I didn't think it was disingenuous. The fact that the character Mal is doubtful about the reality of it and the conversation they have at the end about the improbability of the world that Cobb believes to be reality should give the viewer enough amount of doubts to support the ambiguity. 

It can be rightly described as the only block buster big budget film from recent times that demands a lot from the viewer and takes their intelligence for granted. Nolan got the backing from the studio to fulfill his vision based on the strength of the performances of his Batman films. I am kind of ambivalent to Nolan these days because he tend to get very overrated by the fanboys and I don't care much for his Batman films. I just wish he uses his time and clout to make more original films like Memento, The Prestige and Inception. A criticism that one could make at Christopher Nolan is that his films don't have many/any memorable character developments and the only one that I cared much for is Guy Pearce's Leonard in Memento. He is all about big ideas and innovative narrative techniques and creating interesting characters is not his forte. Memento has a DVD extra feature in which you can watch the film in chronological order and it is apparently very lame. That just shows how good the direction was for Memento to make a very ordinary story seem genius by the way it is shown to the audience. That said, Seinfeld kind of did it first without resorting to short term memory loss in the Indian trip episode 'The Betrayal'. 

If I were to rank Nolan films as of now the order would be:

1) Memento
2) Inception
3) The Prestige
4) Following
5)Batman Begins
6) Insomnia
7) Dark Knight
8) Dark Knight Rises

Nolan has indicated that he is open to the idea of making another film in the Inception universe and all the actors are signed on if he eventually plan to make it. I am not too sure about it because the main attraction for it was the big idea of it that he presented and if that element of surprise is not there I don't think it will work out.

Rating: 5/5