We’ve all had them. The dream so real we didn’t want to wake up from it. Or, conversely that we couldn’t wait to get out of it. Whether it’s the nightmare that you are in your room where you feel safest, and you hear a noise. It’s your mother being beaten again; only this time he has a gun, and he holding her by her throat to the wall. In your nightmare, you hear him whisper to your mother as he holds her there that first he’ll kill the brats, and then he’ll kill her, but not before she holds your blood limp body in her arms one last time. You swing your legs over the edge of the bed. You’ll take your sister and run, but snakes and spiders, the poisonous kind, are all over the floor. You can’t even reach your sister to save her. You can hear the gun fire, smell the burnt cordite, and feel the warm flower blossom on your chest as you watch the bullet go through her brain. You scream in helplessness as you are bleeding to death, waking up.
I wake weeping and the thought it wasn’t real is a relief so great, my legs won’t hold me. On one hand, I’m right. It did not occur on this physical plane we share, but more and more, studies are proving just how powerful our minds really are. Each dream is real, because my mind made it so. But what if this physical plane we share is the dream? What if I made all of you out there up while I sit somewhere in a dream state? What if you imagined me? What if when we dream, we are really waking to an alternate reality? This is a HUGE theme explored in what I feel to be Christopher Nolan’s best film yet. Inception pushes the boundaries of what we accept as reality, and our taught conceptions of the dream state. Anything can happen in a dream. Paradoxes become reality, and a way to beat your foe. 30 seconds of fee fall becomes 3 minutes of zero gravity.
There are still rules in the dream world and while this cast of characters is usually trying to get ideas and information out, this time they are trying to get information in, to plant an idea, and achieve a final result. To do this the team takes the mark deep into his own subconscious and fools him into hacking his own brain. To come back out the team have set up a series of ‘kicks’ or jolts to wake them from one level to another, but what happens when the rules of the dream world are not obeyed?
Christopher Nolan does a fantastic job getting the necessary performances from his actors. In addition to the two stars, we also have Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy, who are favorites of Mr. Nolan, much like an artist who always goes back to the same shade of red, blue and brown canvas after canvas. If the artist is good, the colors always belong. If the artist is a hack, they stick out. Christopher Nolan, with this film shows he’s a Monet, not a Stephen King, especially as he wrote the script and directed the movie. If this had been on Project Greenlight, there may still be a Project Greenlight.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who we all remember from Growing Pains… or was it Family Ties? Anyway, he did A LOT of teeny-bopper crap, with a few exceptions when he was young. In my opinion those exceptions are What’s Eating Gilbert Grape with Johnny Depp and Basketball Diaries with a young Mark Wahlberg. Then he really stepped in it when he said ‘yes’ to doing Titanic. It’s taken him quite a while to live down that movie. Not that I dislike the film, but immediately following it, no one really took him seriously. Until Aviator (he had done two serious films in a row, both directed by Scorsese). I remember that one because it came out the same year as the first year of Project Runway. Designer Kara Saun was so inspired after seeing the film that her entire line for the finale relates back to it somehow. This was when Leo really made his comeback. I’ve always known he had this level of performance in him, I’m just so glad that he had such a beautiful piece to shine in.
Ellen Page was an unknown actress until Juno a movie about a teenage pregnancy with a quirky soundtrack. It was an iconic movie in 2007. People seemed willing to write her off as a fluke. Hell, even Darryl Hannah gives a good performance now and then, right? All those critics were forced to eat their words when her next film was An American Crime where she portrayed the abused and murdered Sylvia Likens, based on real events that happened in Indianapolis. Ellen has really shown her mettle and chosen all of her films carefully. I personally feel she is the next Myrna Loy, one of the highest complements I can pay any actress.
So go out, buy the movie. Have your mind blown. And next time you lay down to rest ask yourself, are you really going to sleep… or will you be waking up? After all, you are the only one who can truly say which world is real.
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