Beware! Before You Dream
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. -Carl Jung
Not so often, I dream of dreaming. With rapid eye movement for company in the wee hours of morning, my subconscious manifests dreams within dreams — some conscious, others not so. Most, I forget. One ‘dream’ I’ll never forget is Christopher Nolan’s Inception. No, it wasn’t mine but Nolan’s dream I was sharing, yet it felt like my own.
With Inception auteur Nolan forces us to question the indiscernible nature of dreams, reality, fears and anxieties. And man does he want us to dream a little more, a little ‘bigger’. To dream within a dream, within a dream… For reality, as often proclaimed, lies within. And what we see or perceive externally might actually be a dream. Then, is our reality a dream? And our dream a reality? Or maybe both are synonymously identical? We can never know for sure until we ‘wake up’. Inception is Nolan’s wake up call where he raises these questions in a mind-bending inextricable maze of a thriller flick bound to leave you pondering days after watching it. Nolan doesn’t offer the answers on a platter but definitely does raise both — the bar for filmmakers and questions for the inquisitor.
In Inception, a thin line separates dream from reality; so thin it’s impossible to discern the difference between the two. Similarly, a thin line separates a great director from an auteur. Nolan has proved his mettle as a meritorious filmmaker, with Inception he’s entered the league of auteurs such as Kubrick and Scorsese. His cinema has carved a new space in the neo-noir genre. A dark space where our worst existential, neoteric fears turn in to paranoia; and every paranoia turns true.
Your social networking site, blog, browsing preferences, website clicks; your brand new Lamborghini, Armani suit; why, even your underwear brand. Everything is potential data for unscrupulous elements (read capitalist, entrepreneur, et al) to break into your most personal space — YOUR MIND!
Beware! Someone’s toying with your subconscious. And our protagonist Cobb (Leonardo di Caprio in one helluva’ path-finding performance) does exactly that. He breaks in to people’s mind while they daydream and coolly extracts information. One fine day he gets a little creative. Instead of ‘extracting’ information, he is employed to ‘plant’ an idea inside energy magnate Robert Fischer’s (Cillian Murphy) mind — the Inception. What happens next is best left unsaid, lest I spoil the ‘dream’. Suffice to say, this flick is literally made on the stuff of dreams.
It’s one thing to take up a dark subject that delves in to the human subconscious. It’s another to actually successfully merge this subject with a taut screenplay, excellent narrative, element of mystery, stellar performances, heart rendering score (a huge contribution by Hans Zimmer) and other commercial ingredients. It’s never too hard to foresee Nolan perform this tightrope act of balancing an intellectually stimulating script with commercial filmmaking elements with finesse (The Dark Knight, The Prestige, and Memento). What is hard to believe is the brazenness with which Nolan jibes at us, explicitly waking us up to the ‘reality’ we all know yet hate to accept.
One warning though! Inception might leave you cold. Unlike other similar cult offerings, The Matrix for instance, Inception doesn’t draw lines between good or evil; day or night; inside or outside (the matrix). There are no villains. There is only internal conflict. There is no saviour (The One), for each ‘one’ is his own saviour in his own mind. In a way, Inception opens a Pandora ’s Box to the huge potential of the human mind which can create, or destroy, its own reality at will.
Watch it in a dark corner of a theatre near you. Explore it in the darkest recesses of your subconscious: your dreams.
The Inception Chronicles:
- Cobol Job – An interesting comic strip
- The Inception of Dreams – Review by author David H. Schleicher
- The Neo-Noir Renaissance – David’s spin on the neo-noir evolution
- Unraveling The Dream – Explaining the mystery behind the movie