The year is 2010. The director who recently made one of the most profitable films of all time, kick-started a stuttering superhero franchise and directed one of the best films of the last decade is about to release his seventh feature, a thriller about the subconscious and the ability to extract (or insert) memories from your mind. So far, the background to Christopher Nolan’s Inception sounds like the plot of a bad ’80s B-movie, but we can all attest that this is all, in fact, really happening.
Nolan’s involvement in a movie, from now until the end of his career, will spark mass hysteria. The Dark Knight made more money than any superhero film ever, and was universally applauded for its stylish yet realistic portrayal of life within the Batsuit. However, Inception has about as much in common with Batman as chalk does to cheese or, indeed, extraction to insertion.
The plot follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb, a thief who extracts memories and information from sleeping minds: he’s the ultimate weapon in corporate espionage. Falling under the familiar “one more job” umbrella, Cobb now must insert an idea (or “cause an inception”, giving the film its title) rather than taking one out. From here, only Nolan’s imagination seems to limit where the story can go . . .
The very concept of Nolan and DiCaprio working together would be enough to make this a film worth getting excited about, but the rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either: Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy and Nolan’s “good luck charm” Michael Caine are all set to star in what has long been hyped as one of the summer’s biggest releases.
What makes Inception so darned anticipated for this author, however, stretches beyond the dramatis personae. When Nolan released Memento, his incredibly innovative directorial style and ability to get a career-best performance out of Guy Pearce made him a name on the rise, and he’s shown over the past decade that he has not lost the arthouse flair which first got him noticed. The Batman movies strayed from the family-friendly dross that were the ’90s Bat-flicks and are far closer in tone to some of the more brutal graphic novels of the caped crusader: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke to name but two. Most comic-book films are designed to be suitable for everyone: bright, colourful, enjoyable and generally fairly lightweight. Nolan inverted this equation, and it’s his desire to stay true to his roots which makes the concept of Inception so thrilling.
Inception is going to be released at the height of the summer season – July 16 – but when a film is written and directed by Chris Nolan, you know it won’t be dull, showy fare. Inception may have the blockbuster budget (a reported $200 million), but it’s a thriller about dreams, memories and the subconscious mind starring a generation’s finest actor and helmed by a director who might one day be labelled “visionary”. And this is something that most of us could only dream of.
Luke Grundy is a fervent assimilator of media living amid the bright lights of London, England. If he’s not watching films or listening to music, he’s probably asleep, eating or dead. An aspiring writer, journalist and musician, he is the creator of movie/music blog Odessa & Tucson and lives for epistemology.