It’s Monday which means it is time for my first Must-See movie review. This Friday sees the release of Christopher Nolan’s new movie, DUNKIRK, which I will be reviewing on Friday so look for my review then. Because of that movie (and because Nolan went to my university- name drop!), I have decided that every Must-See Monday I will be reviewing a new Nolan movie which this week will be the amazing INCEPTION.
A little while ago, my girlfriend found that Hans Zimmer (composer for Inception, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean and Gladiator, to name just a few) was performing in London again this year after a successful tour last year. We both could not wait to get tickets and luckily, there were a couple left. We went just over a month now and it was incredible. The music from all of his major movie scores was performed, and it was one of the greatest experiences I have had in London. However, we had purchased a programme and noticed that Inception was noticeably missing from the performances. We were shocked that he would not have performed what could arguably be described as his most famous work. But we need not have worried. After the quiet music of Interstellar had stopped, those memorable Inception horns began. Hearing Hans Zimmer play the wonderful score himself alongside an entire orchestra made me reflect on something I had felt when watching the movie for the first time.
In my eyes, this movie is damn-near perfect.
The concept of this movie alone is enough to have almost anybody completely hooked; the idea that people can share dreams together and willingly create anything of their desire in these worlds. It is easy to see why people within the movie are addicted to delving into the realms created in their dreams and that is because the concept is so enticing to us in the real world. But what could Nolan feasibly do with infinite possibility to turn it into a movie? He made it into a heist movie of course. Genius.
Nolan had worked on this movie since before his first film, Memento, was even released. He had approached Warner Bros about making it as early as 2001. The studio and he both realised it needed a big budget though, to fully realise the potential of the human mind in dreams. So he set about directing bigger budget movies to earn the experience he needed to bring this film to life. The knowledge he gained from working on those big budget movies like The Dark Knight really shows. Nolan is a big fan of using practical effects in his movies, only resorting to CGI if absolutely necessary. Of course, certain shots in this movie required visual effects, which look absolutely incredible, but the scenes such as the inverted corridor fight sequence really show a director who has a firm grasp on his vision and how he wants it executed. A vision and execution which, to us as an audience, come together to create a stunning visual and narrative tour de force. He was certainly robbed of a Best Director nomination at that year’s Oscars.
The performances are ridiculously incredible too with a cast filled to the brim with A-list Hollywood talent: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger AND Michael Caine. Actors all famous in their own right who come together in this crazy ensemble cast. To me, however, four performances are the driving force behind the movie with those of DiCaprio, Watanabe, Cotillard and Page. There is the husband and psychotic wife relationship of DiCaprio and Cotillard, akin to that of Michael Douglas and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, except dialled up to 11 because she gets inside his head and can drive a train through his life (literally! Well, not literally but… you get me). Then there is the mentoring role that DiCaprio has with Page which is fantastic because she does not play the typical naïve student and frequently challenges him so brilliantly. And finally, and a personal favourite of mine, is the relationship between DiCaprio and Watanabe; more than simply the relationship between a paying client and his dream thief (never thought I would say that), they share a great understanding of one another alongside a deep respect which bookmarks the movie and gives DiCaprio’s struggle such authenticity.
But, at the end of the day, this movie is more than about authenticity. It is about pushing your mind to the edge of what it can truly believe and making a leap of faith. The reality of doing this is all so perfectly brought together by the technical achievements of the production team. The editing is exquisite, best shown when the kicks must all be initiated simultaneously (with Best Film Editing another robbed Oscar from the movie). The cinematography is sublime, the sound so hard hitting, the stunt work so intense. And then all brought together by that amazing score by Zimmer. A true masterclass in film making and thankfully, some of these were honoured by Oscar nominations!
Most of you, I hope, will have already seen this movie and of course, if you haven’t, you should definitely check it out. If you have seen it, get on Spotify or similar and get the score up. It is beautiful music to get up in the background or even to fully immerse yourself in. The track Time is a personal favourite of mine. Hopefully it will bring back your thoughts on this movie and how it made you feel the first time you saw it. Emotional with DiCaprio’s story? Confused by that ending? Regardless, there is one way I’m sure that you felt- absolutely amazed. One of the greatest movies ever made. Get watching!