Last night I went and saw the film Inception…..I left the theater walking backwards as I dragged my jaw behind me. It was easily the best movie of the year and quite possibly one of the greatest films of all time.
A movie of exceptional quality in special effects, ideology, imagination and depth of detail – Inception has raised the bar to whole new level for the landscape of American cinema.
The relationship between movies and dreams has always been overdetermined (the idea that a single observed effect is determined by multiple causes at once) a term used by none another than Freud himself around the time he was studying Psychoanalysis and working on “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Freud believed that dreams were compounded out of the primal matter of the unconscious and the prosaic events of daily life and these beliefs were strongly replicated through the film creating a vast, perpetually replenishing reservoir of raw material for the fantasies of millions of people.
The director has found a way for us as viewers to jump from one kind of dream to another, almost as disconcertingly as we do in amazing transitions in our own dreams. It is a trip and a puzzle at the same time, because the narrative logic we are trained as viewers to seek is not easily apparent. Every now and then a bit of conventional story jerks you back from the generic flow, like a moment of sobriety once inebriated.
The film begins with a few disconcerting and confusing ideas and I almost ALMOST rolled my eyes; however from the 30 minute in mark till the closing shot of the film I was captivated and riveted to the story, my mind allowing nothing else in as I absorbed each new layer of dreamlike conception, my arms holding me to the edge of my seat.
The ideas were both far reaching into the depths of imagination and spot on in the analysis of dreams; the mythical and significant expressionism of the dreamlike layers as the characters experienced dreams within dreams that coincide with people’s personal subconscious experiences. After all how often to you hit snooze in the morning, fall back to sleep, and proceed to have a dream that spans a time span much longer till you are rudely awoken out of your fitful doze only 7 minutes later?
Our dreams can be terrifying, beautiful and captivating; a place where we hold our deepest secrets and desires which are let free in the openness of our subconscious. The kick that was so clearly and accurately represented in the film is such a common occurrence in everyone’s sleeping pattern that the audience became personally involved.
In our dreams the restrictions of perception are limitless.
The film has a dark, sad emotional puzzle at its core, and the suspense of this held me as much as the planning of the ultimate caper.
The movie’s set-up is necessary for our willing suspension of disbelief; the visual design is equally compelling. Shot primarily in London, Paris, Tokyo, and Morocco, the large sets are impressive, and the integration of computer-generated effects with live action could not be more accomplished.
The most memorable effects involve both action and visions – a cityscape folding onto itself, an environment exploding into fragments around the untroubled characters, an M.C. Escher-inspired impossible staircase, three-dimensional maps, chases and fights that defy the laws that usually govern space, time and motion and so on. It truly was amazing.
If this film proves one thing it’s that our dreams feed the movies. The movies feed our dreams. But somehow, our imaginations are still hungry.
Movies and dreams give society the chance to create things that never existed — that couldn’t exist in the real world.