10 Years of Christopher Nolan’s special effects masterpiece.
A decade ago in 2010, Christopher Nolan made “Inception,” a full-throttle, popcorn-eating masterpiece, which takes us to a dream world of physical-bending buildings and accessing unconscious minds. Shared dreaming to be exact. It was Number 3 on my list of the best films of that year.
His latest feature “Tenet” has been pushed back, because of you know what, but has found a release date on September 3. So, “Inception” will be re-released in IMAX locations (whatever theater decided to reopen its doors again) to celebrate its 10th anniversary release and the upcoming release of “Tenet.”
I remember viewing this on a big IMAX screen at AMC Lincoln Square 13 in New York City back then, and I remember being dazzled by the buildings and footbridge bending in Paris, as Leonardo DiCaprio’s professional thief character Dom Cobb introduces to Ellen Page’s architect character Ariadne the world she’s dreaming. Of course, he warns her never to recreate places from her memories, only new places, or else she’ll lose grasp on what is real and fantasy.
Let’s not forget the scene when a freight train pushes cars out of the way on a Los Angeles street or the shift in gravity when water turns in a glass and when people are levitating in a hotel. It’s no wonder why it won the Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects.
You know when I saw “Doctor Strange” in 2016, the scene when Doctor Strange is chasing his enemy, and sees the bending buildings, I imagine a comic-relief character (if there was one) saying: “What is this: Inception?” Think about it. Just think about it. That movie’s visual world was inspired by “Inception,” and both these movies allows the effects to give us a sense of awe and a sense of wonder. And if there was a comic relief character who said that, it would have been hilarious.
The story involves Cobb being trapped in a reality that forbids him from ever seeing his children again, but is given a second chance by a Japanese businessman named Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe). He has to make the heir of a business empire Robert Michael Fischer (Cillian Murphy) dissolve his father’s company, by infiltrating his mind, of course.
Normally, when you die in a dream, you wake up alive again. However, because Cobbs, his associates (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy), Ariadne, and Mr. Saito are all sedated on a multi-level dream, if they die in a dream, they could all be trapped in an infinite limbo.
The movie’s all-star cast also features Marion Cotillard as his dead wife who appears in the dreams, Tom Berenger as Fischer’s godfather whom he calls Uncle Peter, the late Pete Postlethwaite as Robert’s terminally ill father, and Michael Caine as Cobb’s mentor and father-in-law.
I was also introduced to Edith Piaf’s classic hit song “Non, je ne regret rien,” which plays in various parts of the movie, as a way of timing the dreams. And we also hear it during the end credits. Hands down, it’s one of the best classic songs I’ve ever heard, and “Inception” uses the song wisely, because it adapts with the mood and tone of the selected scenes.
The performances from DiCaprio, Page, Gordon-Levitt, Watanabe, Cotillard, and Murphy are all astonishing in their own ways of studying their characters, and easing into their tensions. Nolan is a professional filmmaker, who knows what storytelling is, what’s visual effects are, and what profound acting is.
Why has “Inception” lived on for ten years? Because it’s ingenious and dazzling, whether you see it again on the big screen or on your TV or computer. It’s a see-it-twice or countless viewing challenge and a feast for the imagination.
Playing at Select IMAX Locations (Whatever’s Open) This Friday