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Inception: A Dream Within A Dream

In Film on July 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm

The resilience of science fiction in film making is revealed.


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After directing The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan had an idea for another film. It wasn’t original, in fact it was – as what many have suspected – inspired by earlier films like The Matrix. The idea was “What if you can share someone’s dream – and steal ideas while you’re at it?” The premise of the film is two-fold. One, that a technology exists which allows one to share someone else’s dream; and two, that this technology is abused to steal ideas from someone through that dream.

The result is Inception, a sci-fi heist thriller that satisfies an audience visually, intellectually and emotionally. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a dream extractor who claims to protect his clients – but then steals their ideas in the process. He is presented as an outlaw haunted by an ugly past, ready to redeem himself by doing one last job. Ken Watanabe plays Saito, the businessman who offered the job in exchange for clearing Cobb all pending criminal liabilities. Saito, however, did not want Cobb to extract an idea. On the contrary, he wanted inception. To plant an idea inside a business rival’s mind by sharing his dream. Cobb then assembles his team: The Point Man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), The Architect (Ellen Page), The Chemist (Dileep Rao) and The Forger (Tom Hardy). The heist begins and the audience might find it a challenging task of keeping up. With multiple events on layers of (un)reality, it’s hard not to get confused. This is where reactions to the film might differ. The complexity may entertain the viewer, or may simply be too much.

As fascinating the idea of being in a dream state and battling someone’s subconscious is, the film invests on basic human emotions to drive characters forward. Guilt, love, longing – all these create an unexpected level of connection to the characters that anyone could relate to. It is fascinating how the human race, with all its technological advancements, will forever be motivated by emotion. Inception is a contrast of innovation and human nature. A contradiction of technological advancement and man’s susceptible frailty towards the most resilient parasite – an idea.

rating-4_0 4 out of 5 stars

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  1. The way Nolan constructed the universe around the “dream sharing” was totally original. Comparisons to “The Matrix” over-simplify things.

    You hit on many good points here – especially on how we connect to the feelings of the characters. I don’t understand those critics who are saying the film is devoid of emotion.

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