Movie Reviews: Inception

One of the wonderful aspects of Inception is that it takes dreams seriously, enough so that they provide the main architecture of the film. It also very intellectually complex, asking for the viewer to think on many levels about the nature of reality.

Unfortunately, director Chris Nolan filled the movie with too many chase scenes, explosions, gun battles. For about ten minutes during the film (during the action sequence in the fortress in the snow, I thought I was watching a James Bond movie.

The dream scenes also were just to much like reality (compare this to Dali’s dream sequence in Hitchcock’s Spellbound) at times to be believable as dreams; Nolin is confusing dreams and “reality”.

In spite of the above caveats, this film is well worth watching, brilliantly conceived, a movie to puzzle over and talk about, a movie to remember.

INCEPTION: Art, Dream and Reality
A cinematic meditation on the elusive nature of reality.
August 1, 2010
Dr. Stephen Diamond

Inception pays respect to the powerful reality of dreams. In the film, the main infiltrators of the dreamworld (along with the audience) tend to become so confused between outer and inner reality, dreaming and waking, that one of the only means they have of distinguishing between the two is by carrying with them a “totem”: something they can use to tell them whether they are still dreaming or not. For Cobb, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, it is a tiny metal top: if it eventually slows and topples after spinning it, he is presumably awake; if it just kept on turning into perpetuity, he is still asleep. Another problem faced by the “dream team” is how not only to deeply penetrate the dreamer’s unconscious, but how to find their way back from the “underworld” to the outer world of waking reality. This is an archetypal motif found in many myths, including that of Theseus venturing into the labyrinth to meet the Minotaur.(See my previous post.) It is no coincidence that DiCaprio’s female (Ellen Page) co-star’s name is Ariadne: it was Ariadne who, after falling in love with the young Greek hero Theseus, secretly provides him with both a sword and ball of string to help him defeat the Minotaur and find his way back out of the winding, dark, maze-like labyrinth and into the light. Dreams, which Freud famously referred to as the via regia, the royal road into the unconscious, can, like the unconscious itself, be perilous places to dwell too long in, precisely due to their sometimes immensely seductive and convincing reality.
Inception pays respect to the powerful reality of dreams.


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