Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)
I finally got to see the film of this Summer and as many said and/or wrote the film of the year; Inception. When a movie has such praise and buzz about it always makes me want and or not want to see it. For example, Titanic and Avatar had such a "fucking" buzz about them that I haven't seen any of them yet. Yes it's true I've seen the first films of David W. Griffith but I haven't seen the biggest blockbusters of the planet Earth. Phew, I don't really care about those two but I can say that Griffith is the creator, the father, the genitor of Cinema, its grammar and the way films have been shot for more than a hundred years. Unlike James Cameron's gigantism complexes, I was really looking forward to see Chris Nolan's last achievement.
I loved all of his films some more, some less but I enjoyed them all, except Following which I haven't seen yet. His two Batman refreshed a style that has been overexploited lately and rebooted the franchise. Insomnia is an interesting, yet complex remake of a Norwegian crime drama. The Prestige suffered from being released back-to-back with The Illusionnist but was far superior than its precedent. And Memento, a successful film on every level, it put Nolan on the map as a more than decent director.
Inception took eight years in the making because studios and producers were afraid that the public would not follow a film multi layered about dreams. Well, who has never had dreams in his life? This is an universal theme that can be used without any boundaries.
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a professionnal who's job is to steal industrial secrets from the minds of important heads of multinational companies. But his past is haunting him and he can not return in the USA and see his children. He accepts one last job that will let him return home to his family. With long time partner Arthur (Joseph-Gordon Levitt), his employer Saito (Ken Watanabe), their new architect Ariane (Ellen Page), impersonator Eames (Tom Hardy), and chimist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) they will enter in the dreams Saito's rival to make an inception. This last character is played by the Batman Begins vilain Cillian Murphy. There is another Nolan regular on board, Michael Caine as the father figure. And finally, Mal, Cobb's wife played by the always intriguying Marion Cotillard. Since I've seen her in Michael Mann's Public Enemies I think her face is somewhat always weird and she always has a strange look. Always on the verge of a breakdown...
Well, with this all-star cast Nolan had the "dream" team any director would have loved to direct. The strenght of the plot is the many sub-levels of it and the personal issues of the lead, Cobb, are so well exploited that it takes us into his deep mind. Every character has an important role to play in the story and is used for his strenghts. Chris Nolan's script is very entertaining and we easily agree to fall into his story of dreams. Nolan's tour de force is to make us believe that it is possible to enter in the dreams of someone and control his mind. The whole idea is a gamble, because the principle could have been very Science-fictionnal and hard to follow but it's used as a psychologial thriller. The thriller genre is maybe the easiest genre to get into, there is always a tension and the film has a goal to achieve. It reads like that An Objective - The Chase(s) - The Finish Line (Goal/Achievement). Nolan is playing wth the boundaries of the genres and he is reinventing them without throwing everything by the window. He refines the limits of the thriller and mix it up with sci-fi to make his own kind of film; a Chris Nolan picture.
I've read somewhere that Nolan is the new Stanley Kubrick. Well, I couldn't disagree more with this affirmation. In my opinion, I think he is more the Alfred Hitchcock of his generation, you have to think back, Kubrick's films never have been this accessible to the public and many disagree and many hated his films. Hitchcock, always had wide audiences and even if his films were not as praised by the critics they were appreciated by the crowds filling the theaters. I'm not saying that Nolan is the new Alfred Hitchcock, there won't be another Hitchcock, has there won't be another Stanley Kubrick I'm saying that Nolan is his generation's Hitchcock.
To conclude, so far this year I don't think Inception is the best film of the year. To me, Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island still has the pole position. Let's see if it will stay like that until the end of the year.