2010 Oscars Best Picture Nominee: Inception

Ever have an interest in what happens in your dreams? My dreams fascinate me and I often wake up the next day wondering what the dream I had was about or telling me. It seems like your dreams is the one place where humans can’t have any effect on.  In Inception, it presents a scenario where a con artist is able to steal ideas from a Japanese CEO’s dreams. He is to be dead the next day but the only way to cheat death is to incept an idea in another CEO’s dream. How does that work, especially on screen?

The story opens where we learn about Dom Cobb’s corporate espionage he has performed on a Japanese CEO named Saito. Cobb’s only awareness of knowing where’s he’s in the dream world or in real life is through a ‘totem’ he carries: a metal spin top. Cobb also has the obstacle of his wife’s death interfering with his own espionage efforts. After making a phone call learning he’s arrested, Saito gives him a job to incept an idea into the head of an ailing CEO’s son to clear himself of murder charges surrounding his wife and reunite with his children back in the US.

This is no easy task as he would have to create a shared dream with him, the ailing CEO’s son Robert and part of his team. His team includes his espionage partner Arthur, an identity forger, a chemist who concocts sedatives for the layers of shared dreaming, and an architecture student to design the labyrinth of dreaming. Robert’s estranged CEO father has died and his body is being transported on the plane with Robert riding. He is to be sedated with the other members involved in his layers of dreams. Through the dreams, the identity forger plays the role of Robert’s grandfather, the chemist drives a van to cause dream effects while others remain in one’s dream in a hotel where each level represents the layers of dreams. Complicated, right?

 At first things go rocky as Saito is shot dead and this sends the dreamers into the limbo of the dream. The various dream locations experience friction created by the van’s jerking, Cobb’s deceased wife appears in a dream and shoots Robert dead, thus causing Cobb and the architect to choose to enter limbo to revive the two men. The chemist then sends the van with Cobb’s team falling off a bridge into a river to ‘kick’ the dreamers back to reality. During the time of the fall, Cobb confronts his deceased wife in limbo and confesses responsibility to her suicide: to help her get out of the shared dream-limbo state and wake up. Cobb then searches for Saito and the identity forger revives Robert and has him connect with his estranged father on his deathbed.  Robert swims up from the submerged van and decides to split up his father’s empire. Cobb then meets the elderly Saito and confirms their arrangements.  All of the team then awake as the plane lands. Saito arranges for Cobb to get past US customs and he arrives home to see his children.

One thing about Inception was that this maze of dreams-within-dreams is complicated to understand but works in the end. This does get confusing and would require most audients to see the movie a second time around in order to make better sense. I myself remember that I was confused when I saw it the first time but I saw it a second time intending to map the whole story out as I saw it and it made better sense. That was a smart tactic of creating a movie that made people see it a second time. Hey, anything for moviegoers uninterested in making a TwiHard of themselves.

As I said, Christopher Nolan did an immense job creating a unique movie concept, intertwining multiple dream settings and making it work onscreen. He did a top notch job of writing and an excellent job of directing. Writing and directing a movie that complex was not easy at all and he did an excellent job. Back in the summer when I saw it, I had the feeling it was going to be a top Oscar contender. The acting, from Leonardo di Caprio and his supporting players was also very good. If anyone could steal the movie from Leonard, it was Marion Cotillard who played his wife. The score by Hans Zimmer fit the movie in all its scenes perfectly. The visual effects were excellent, if not the best of the year. Overall it was the best 2 ½ hours you could spend in a movie theatre this summer.

I would have to say that Inception is one of the most deserving Best Picture nominees. It was a unique story that was excellently written, directed, and acted, and still managed to win big at the box office. It gave most of us a sigh of relief that excellent writing, directing and acting can win big at the box office. Very worthy of the Best Picture win, despite a tough rivalry this year.

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