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Inception

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I finally went to see Inception. I wish I had gone on its opening night. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Inception is one of the most imaginative and brilliantly plotted movies ever, and it is also one of the most thrilling and emotionally powerful. Think Vertigo meets The Matrix—but that only just begins to describe it. You have to see Inception on the big screen. So stop reading now, and go see this movie before it leaves the theaters.

Inception was directed by Christopher Nolan, who is also the director of a series of increasingly impressive movies: Following (1998), Memento (2000), Insomnia (2002), Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), and The Dark Knight (2008). The Dark Knight is a work of genius—surely the greatest supervillain movie ever. (I say “supervillain” rather than “superhero,” since Heath Ledger’s Joker completely upstages Batman.) But not even The Dark Knight prepared me for Inception. Indeed, one reason I hesitated to see Inception for so long was the conviction that Nolan could never top The Dark Knight. But he has.

The premise of Inception is that a technology has been invented that allows people to share dreams. The active dreamer is called the “architect.” He is the one who constructs the dream space into which the other dreams knowingly or unknowingly enter. (Real architects seem most suited for the job, since their visual-spatial imaginations are so powerful, and dream spaces have to be constructed as labyrinths and Escher-like topological paradoxes.)

This technology, of course, has great potential for abuse, and this is precisely what the protagonist, Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo Di Caprio), and his team are doing. By abducting people into shared dreams, Di Caprio and his team can effect the “extraction” of their most closely-guarded secrets.

Di Caprio’s character is, however, no mere loathsome crook. He is a man haunted by the death of his wife, a former partner in crime, and the loss of his two children. Unable to return to the US because of a warrant for his arrest, he wanders the world extracting the secrets of the rich and powerful for their rich and powerful rivals, until he is offered a job that, if completed successfully, will allow him to return home to his family. He has to perform an “inception.”

One step beyond the extraction of existing ideas is the “inception” of new ideas. How does one put an idea in another person’s mind so that he thinks it is his own? It has apparently never been done before, but Di Caprio promises to do it. He assembles a team and creates a three level dream: a dream within a dream within a dream. With every new level of dreaming, the experienced dream time becomes longer. In the third level, ten years can pass while one sleeps only ten hours in the real world. Below the third level is “limbo”: unstructured unconsciousness where a lifetime can pass in the blink of a terrestrial eye. If a dreamer is killed in his dream, he will fall into limbo.

All this is more than mere science fiction, for Nolan uses it to generate a powerful dramatic conflict. To reclaim his life, Di Caprio must go deeper and deeper in the dream realm, yet with every level he enters, the figure of his dead wife, who is a projection of his own guilty conscience, becomes a stronger and stronger adversary.

The conflict becomes even more exquisite when we learn that the inception that will bring him home is not the first one. He has done it before, and it was ultimately the cause of his downfall and exile.

This storyline gives Inception a tragic dimension and an emotional power that superficially similar movies like The Matrix just cannot touch. Vertigo is the comparison that comes to mind first, and in my book, that is the highest possible praise. I will say no more about the plot, save that the ending is poetic and deeply satisfying.

There is nothing racially, culturally, or politically offensive about Inception. The movie takes place all over the world, so it is natural that the cast contains an Asian and an Indian, but most of the cast is White, and Nordic at that. (The actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks Asian, but he is actually Jewish. Maybe the Khazar hypothesis is not dead.) There is no Hollywood monkey business of racial and ethnic casting against type.

Inception is a movie for smart people. The plot is complex and imaginative, but unlike Memento, it is perfectly coherent and consistent. You have to be clever and focused to follow the story, but if your mind wanders a bit, there are plenty of thrills and stunning images to keep you entertained.

Inception cements Christopher Nolan, at the age of 40, as one of the cinema’s great directors. I know for sure that I will not miss the opening night of his next movie. But why are you still here? See Inception. See it now.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Joe Owens
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Without the ability to reason or deal with fact, we leave ourselves wide open to all sorts of misleading information. The point being that films like this would have been laughed at by previous generations as nonsense and un – realistic. How times have changed. There is too much fantasy (horror, sci – fi, music videos, kid’s superheroes and Buffy vampire nonsense etc) about these days for it all to be just one big coincidence. Infact, the hand of the Frankfurt School will not be too far away in all this. Sadly, many well meaning gentiles are now creating the same poison our enemies laid out decades before. Remember, our enemy creates the format all must follow.

    “The Ego (reality principle) is influenced by perception. “ – Sigmund Freud.

  2. Chubby
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Joe,

    “Inception” is not just a piece of escapist science fiction. The questions of what is reality, how do we know that what we perceive as real actually exists outside of our minds and where does inspiration come from, have long philosophical pedigrees and have fascinated many up to the present, but even if you regard it as pure entertainment, the manner in which the story is told and the unreal is evoked is fascinating. The reviewer compared this with Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, yet there is really no comparison. It is many, many orders of magnitude more skillfully executed, provocative, and developed. I can not say more about the movie now, because I can tell you it left me thinking and I think it will do the same for you as well.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted September 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      The point of comparison between Inception and Vertigo is the theme of losing someone one loves and struggling vainly and self-destructively to get her back. I thought that Inception‘s treatment of that theme was every bit as shattering as Vertigo‘s.

  3. Nugatation
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Being an abstainer from any and all intoxicants, my mind is intolerant of the absurd, unless an applicable Race War moral can be drawn. I walked out of Inception after less than an hour in such a state of annoyance at having wasted my time that I forgot to ask for my money back.

    How about movie reviews and recommendations that matter to us: Gone With the Wind, Birth of a Nation, etc.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted September 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      The fact that a great movie like Inception can be made even in today’s culture, and that it can be free of insidious propaganda, is reason enough to review it here.

      • Nugatation
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t even read past the first paragraph of the review. Having gained so much from Counter Currents, I just took the recommendation with faith-rewarded experience.

        Granted, we should be thrilled at a movie with White actors and lack of “race, class, and gender” confession mandates. I just wish it had been a good movie.

        • Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          Nugatation,

          You are absolutely right. I followed the advice and got extremely disappointed after seeing the film.

          Let me indulge in a little immodesty. I consider myself the foremost expert in Mexico about sci-fi films. When at ten I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey I promised to myself I’d be a film director. Ridley Scott’s Alien and Blade Runner are not so grandiose, and in the present century only A.I. should be considered a profound sci-fi film. But most of what today we see on the big screen and is called science-fiction is absolute rubbish. There’s no question about that.

          We can track the rise and decline of Western civilization through the movies. Frank Capra’s films talk deep into my heart and in the heart of those who believe in family values. Nowadays films are purposely produced to subvert such values. Hollywood’s masters are vicious, and those who have stated it publicly, like Marlon Brando and more recently Oliver Stone, have had to recant.

          My educated guess is that we won’t watch any masterpiece, whether in the sci-fi genre or in other genres, until the West collapses and is reborn.

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