Saturday, July 31, 2010

Inception - Dream or Reality?

Inception was a movie which I never heard of prior to its release, but hubby and I watched it in the end due to all the buzz it has generated.

The story revolves around a mind thief name Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) who has to perform inception (planting an idea instead of stealing one) as a chance to redeem himself and go back to his family. Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off what has not been done before. If they succeed it could be the perfect crime. However, none was prepared for the enemy who seemed to ruining their plans. Especially if came from Dom's own memories.

Visually it was a feast for the eyes. From the folding Paris city scene to the awesome zero gravity fighting scenes in the hotel, I simply could not take my eyes off the screen. I don't think it's CGI overdose, but enough to keep us wondering if these feats were really possible.

The concept of dreaming within a dream is real. I had come across a couple of occasions of waking up to a dream to find myself still dreaming. Complicated? Definitely. Also, an interesting observation made by one of the characters in the movie - You always ended up in a middle of a dream. When did it start? One will never know. On stealing an idea within a dream? Not sure how feasible is that but the theory is certainly interesting.

I'm surprised to see Leonardo Dicaprio has grown so much from his Titanic days. Gone are the days he was associated with pin-up boy image, replaced by a much cooler but also more mature actor, with an impressive portfolio to date, most notably his collaboration with Martin Scorsese. I last saw Ellen Page from Juno, having falling in love with that movie. Here I thought she was quite a good match with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which played out their relationship briefly in the movie. Speaking of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he looked mighty fine as Arthur, especially in the dream sequence at the hotel when he was smartly dressed in a jacket and suit vest. Such a difference as compared to his days in 3rd Rock from the Sun.

The most intriguing part of this movie has to be the plot itself. In the early stage of the movie, we see how Dom was so obsessed with drawing the line between dreams and reality to the extend he became paranoid. He (and presumably the rest) carried a totem - an object with a specific weight known only to the owner that exists in the real world in order to ground oneself in the real world or dream world. Confused? In the real world the totem is supposed to fall after being spun. If it doesn't, chances are you are still dreaming. At the end of the movie, after going through many layers of dreams and back, we are shown a supposedly happy ending for Cobb. But not before he spun his totem one last time. Cobb never got the chance to see if the totem falls or not as his mind was already with his children. However, we as the audience never got to see it too, as the scene was cut to black just when the totem began to wobble.

That last scene kept me wondering - So did Cobb really get his happy ending? Or was he already in limbo? I surfed the internet for some answers and opinions. Obviously no one has the answer, but many people have different theories. I thought two of the better discussion posts can be found here and here.

In the end, perhaps the conclusion can simply be this - reality is relative to each individual.

Given the chance, I'll definitely be watching this movie again :)

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