He believes that ideas are like viruses and will do the mind harm if left to fester, and has been steadily infecting hundreds of people with his ideas since 2007 when he started this page.
You can find the origin of that on my profile page and spread around this site in several other places. It’s an interesting way to look at things as an idea, like a virus, can be spread by exposure to it and infect the minds of others or do some real harm to your mind if you don’t do anything about it. That’s one of the core beliefs that makes up who I am, and it’s also one of the core themes running through Inception, my personal pick for the film of the year.
When Inception begins we find the main character (Dominic Cobb played by Leonardo DiCaprio who has suddenly learned to act and starred in the two best films of the year) washed up on a shore where security guards grab him and take him to see an old man. The man asks if Dom has been sent to kill him to which he replies by putting a small spinning top on the table between them. The man starts to recall many years ago when he met a man who had a similar item and we follow him into his memory. Here we’re very quickly introduced to the concept of extraction, the theft of information from the mind. Dom and his team enter a person’s mind while they’re dreaming and find out secrets that they’ve been hired to find. We’re also introduced to the idea that death is a good escape within the dreamscape as it wakes you up but pain doesn’t. The other thing that can wake you up is a kick (the feeling that you’re falling that causes you to “land” heavily in your bed and wakes you up) which is shown in rather spectacular fashion . The final concept we’re introduced to here is that of dreams within dreams where each layer allows gives the extractors further access to the mind and allows them to confuse the subject as to what is reality and what is a dream. All of these concepts are explained pretty simply and you’ll find that you understand the increasingly complex rules of the film with ease, showing the true genius of the writing. In fact, as the film goes on and more complex ideas are introduced you’ll probably find, like me, that they actually make the world a bit more believable and a little easier to understand.
As the film progresses Dom is hired for the act of inception – placing an idea in another man’s head. Most of his team don’t believe this to be possible as the subject can always trace the idea back and see how it originated, but Dom claims to have done it once before and sets out to find a team who is capable enough to do it. His first find is Ariadne (Ellen Page) a young student who is new to this world and who helpfully has many of the rules explained to her. She is tasked as the “architect” who will be building the world in which the dreams take place and which will be populated by projections of the dreamer’s subconscious. She very quickly learns that disturbing the reality of the dream with too many paradoxical elements causes the dreamer’s projections to home in on her like white blood cells fighting off a virus and they’ll become more and more violent towards her. Other characters picked for the team are Eames (Tom Hardy), a “forger” whose specialty is taking the form of other people in the dreams and Yusef (Dileep Rao) a chemist who specialises in sedatives that can enhance how long the dream lasts in the mind compared to how long the dreamer is asleep. Without Yusef’s sedative dreams normally take an hour of dreamtime for every five minutes that the person is asleep, while his chemical not only expands that by twenty times but exponentially increases it for each dream within a dream that is achieved (meaning that a three level dream would give the team ten years to do what they want). Through Ariadne we also learn the significance of the spinning top as each team member has a totem that they know how it feels and reacts in reality and can use to determine if they are in someone else’s dream. With the team assembled they start the near impossible act of inception, planting different parts of an idea throughout someone’s subconscious on different levels of dreams and hoping that each seed will take root and grow into the idea they were trying to plant. Each level of dream they plan to leave behind a point man who will set off the kick needed to wake them up in that level, and they plan to ride these sychronised kicks up the layers of dream until they hit reality. Sounds simple eh, but I wont go further into the plot so don’t worry about spoilers.
What we are left with is a psychological thriller that plays out like both a disaster movie and an action adventure at the same time. The plot is superbly written (though dialogue is a little stilted sometimes) and every new element introduced merely pulls the watcher further into the world of Inception rather than alienating them as a film like this could so easily do. The action sequences and effects are not only wonderfully realised but perfectly timed as well, with different layers of the dream shown at different speeds in some of the better montage shots, and each external effect having some explosive and subtle effects in the dream layers. Each and every twist can be seen coming a mile off yet it’s somehow not detrimental to the film, even becoming a credit to it several times. Even the ending (which I guarantee many people will mistakenly talk about as a twist ending) is not so much an unforseen twist as something you knew was going to happen and specifically shot in a way that you’ll be discussing it with fans of the film whenever you can, if only to see what they think happened. What you’re left with is a film that should have been an incoherent mess that somehow manages to not only be enjoyable but an absolute delight to watch. Wonderfully acted on all parts, exquisitely plotted and with a large enough budget that you can’t see the joins in the effects, Inception is quite simply the most beautiful film you can see this year on all levels. Sure, some people may wish that the mind were displayed as a more metaphoric landscape and bemoan the fact that it’s displayed as a realistic place bound by rules, but that merely allows the watcher to enjoy the film without struggling to keep up with what is happening in an every changing landscape. Like Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole, Inception keeps just enough reality to keep the watcher comfortable while mixing in fantastic elements to wow it’s audience and generally beating the Matrix at it’s own game.
I’m giving this film the best marks available in this review as I can’t find anything at all wrong with it personally. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the writers put that review score in my head when they stole the core theme of the film from me, but that’s not possible in real life is it?