Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” has penetrated pop-culture’s vein in the 20th Century, creating a suavely paced, intelligent and versatile thriller of the mind. The word Inception is used in culture falsely here-forth, and most people don’t realize that Nolan didn’t invent the word Inception. It means to begin or incite, but in a sense there is a modular meaning to the word now: According to Online dictionaries, the term inception in the realm of science means “the act of instilling an idea into someone’s mind by entering his or her dreams.” And Nolan has incited ideas into many people’s minds: layers of knowledge, of impenetrable realities and uncontrollable human emotions. Though vital, the film could use Fellini as the director of the emotive moments, which consist of long gazes and dream-like stillness, that ultimately seem empty and forced. Without them, the movie would be a structure of constructs, ideas, and tasks; but Nolan at least knows that a movie consisting only of logic like so is not much of a movie at all.
Inception surrounds the circumstance of Dom Cobb, who is an extractor of dreams, performing tasks for corporations against rival companies. He does this with unexplained dream-intervention technology. After a devastating situation of death and sabotage of Cobb’s wife, which he is considered as the main suspect, he must flee from his children and out of the country. Now, after sporadic jobs, he finds a corporate-entity who pronounces shadily that he can return him to his kids for doing one job for him, and this job involves inception, an operation Cobb’s done only once, unsuccessfully. They must incite, meaning actually create an idea instead of removing one, that Robert Fischer wants to break up his father’s empire. To do this, Cobb assembles a mighty team of specialists, Arthur, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) the point-man, who finds out information on all persons involved, Eames (Tom Hardy) who can morph into a new body and pretend to be a close person in the dreamers life, and Ariadna (Ellen Page), the young architect student who designs the dream. The crew conflict with each other and their pasts, especially Cobbs, since it can appear and harm them in a dream, and confront multiple layers of dreaming for the single-goal of an idea.
What is left in the dark, on a cerebral level, is which layer of the dream we are currently watching. Nolan is able to do this without making the viewer frustrated, but I think he fails on the part of human mystery. There is nothing abnormal about the human scenario, only the dream: All that we think or hesitate about before entering the dream is what ultimately does happen: Cobb’s wife, security in Fischers dreams, and the like. But what of the personality of Fischer: What if he was not as easy-going, or melancholy to the point of vulnerability, but instead there was a traumatic shock to the crew. Like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, Fischer could use more subconscious mystery and deceit, maybe with a pinch of Lynchian terror. Yet, this would not compromise to the consistent nature of Nolan’s filmography, which is essentially psychological noir, not abstraction.
On a critical level, the film has flaws. But don’t mistake these as meaning I didn’t or don’t like Inception; I saw it three times when first released and still find it an enticing and unique movie experience. It is truly revolutionary, in fact, as it took in a large gross while still being intelligent and visceral. Filmmakers will hopefully soon realize that people are more capable of understanding what’s on the screen than Hollywood assumes.