Inception | A Ten Year Retrospective
10 years ago, Director Christopher Nolan shocked the world with the cinematic marvel known as “Inception”. Having a star studded cast, has a plot that is mind bending to say the least, this film is still beloved by many and is described as one of the best of the past decade. No other film has tackled the concept of dreams with such complexity and magnitude, only the brilliant writing of Christopher Nolan pulled this monumental feat.
I had the privilege of going to a showing of Inception in theaters on its 10 year anniversary and it was just as spectacular as it was when I first saw it. This was also the first time I’d been in a theater this year due to being overseas and then being thrown into a Covid locked-down America. But despite the circumstances and the long wait, it was so great to be back at the cinema. There really isn’t another experience quite like it.
When Inception first came out, many were skeptical and many were immediately entranced. From the director of films like Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, and at the time most notably, Batman Begins. Inception, like all of Nolan’s films, was a big mystery because the trailers could only say so much as to what the film actually was. It was only until its release did film goers understand what Inception really was.
The plot to Inception at its core is very basic. Man does a job to get home to his children. At its base, it’s very simple. But once you go another level deep, another layer becomes uncovered. The job involves infiltrating dreams. To plant an idea in someones mind. That is complex. In a world of corporate espionage, dream-scaping is place where battles are fought in the mind.
So why do people regard this movie as beloved by many and have such a cult following? Of course it has to do with its well crafted story, but it’s also its characters and the actors who play those characters. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, the list goes on. All of these actors are stars who played the characters, written by Nolan, exactly how they were intended to. When you get actors who know how to follow the vision of the director, you get a masterpiece. That’s why Inception is a masterpiece.
When most people think of the “best movies”, they think of spectacle. Large action set pieces, great VFX, and big name actors. When I think about what I call the best movies, I think of more intimate stories. Films like “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”, “Drive”, and “The Revenant”. What Inception does, it blends those two thought processes. It has both spectacle and intimacy. You have rooms spinning with cities turning upside down, but you also have characters who are flawed that carry weight. People who are trying to overcome something. One of the rules of writing characters is to make them both relatable and interesting.
Inception stands as something all cinema should strive for. Spectacle genius with characters that are both relatable and interesting. DiCaprio’s character Cobb, we relate to him because he carries guilt and is a father wanting to come home. That’s relatable. We don’t relate to Cade Yeager in Transformers at all because he’s got nothing about him to relate to and he has no arch as a character.
If you have or haven’t watched Inception, give it a watch. This is a great piece of cinema that 10 years from now, it will still be praised by its achievements of groundbreaking storytelling. Can’t wait to finally see Christopher Nolan’s next film “Tenet” when it hits theaters soon!