Illustration by Adeline Pericart
We start 2010 by looking back at a few of our favourite films of 2010. Throughout January we’ll be adding to the list. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact email@example.com
Last summer, even if you had no intention of seeing it initially, chances are after hearing so many bang on about it, people who usually would never analyse a film with more then maybe ‘it was so bad, it actually was kinda good’, endlessly trying to decipher what the ending really did mean, you properly did see it at some point. While other films over the year definitely made an impression, The Social Network and Toy Story 3 being two of them, no one can deny that Inception was one of the standouts. I would argue that Inception is perhaps THE film of the year due to it not being a sequel or a prequel or an adaptation of any kind.
It is an exceptional ten years’ work of original material by Christopher Nolan that captivated the audience from the opening sequence to the credits. It is both smart and action-packed, not a combination that features regularly in Hollywood big-budget cinema. Besides it being a visually impressive package for a mainstream audience, I think the innate concept at the root of the film; ‘dreams’ contributes greatly to its potency with multi-dimensional levels. Constructing a film around the dream world, the subconscious of the human mind and the concept that one could steal ideas from there, provides a context with endless possibilities. Dreams will always fascinate us as humans, as in the dreams that we have when we are unconscious and not as in aspirations for the future. As Cobb played by Leonardo DiCaprio says ‘dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.’
The film is comprised of an impressive fusion of actors whose chemistry and acting prowess provide a strong component in the force of the film. The main man Leonardo DiCaprio articulates Cobb, a new kind of mastermind theif. Cobb is essentially an extractor of ideas from the subconscious, Arthur is his sidekick played by Joseph Gorden Levitt, who plays a smooth, charming and effortlessly cool Arthur, who can captivate a dialogue-heavy sequence and an action sequence with the same coolness as shown by his highly memorable, zero-gravity fight sequence, that surely thrilled male audiences everywhere and females also, perhaps in another manner.
Ellen Page of Juno fame is a pleasant delight in the film and makes the transition to a more adult role flawlessly. She makes a change from the usual female thrown into the mix in Hollywood non-chick flicks – understated, witty and offbeat pretty; she has the potential to become a respected name in Hollywood in the future. She plays a young architect, Ariadne, chosen to assist Cobb and his crew and she more then holds her own with these commanding gentleman. The brief moment in the film between Ariadne and Arthur when they briefly kiss is a particular favourite of mine… Her role in the film is vital for the audience as she asks some of the burning questions we have while we are watching the film, so this makes her easily identifiable and she is our projection of sorts. Another vital component of Cobb’s mission team is Eames, who brings expertise and force and the charming actor who plays him, Tom Hardy, delivers some witty lines as when Arthur is in the middle of a gun fight in their induced dream, Eames utters, ‘you mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling!’ as he takes out a grenade launcher diminishing Arthur’s weapons. This line also reminds us that in the dream world anything can happen, both an attractive and frightening concept. The final component of the team is the chemist Yusuf played by Dileep Rao.
The man, who can be seen as the ‘target’ for Cobb’s team, is Robert Fischer Jr., who is played brilliantly by Cillian Murphy. He is the son of an energy baron and the main adversary of a businessman named Saito, played by Ken Watanabe. Saito has hired Cobb and his crew to implement an idea into the target’s (Fischer) mind, in other words ‘inception’, something that has never been done before. Murphy is as elusive and impressive as ever. Marion Cotillard is the beautiful Mal, who functions as a vital plot device haunting Cobb’s dreams, a reminder of what his preoccupation and status as an extractor cost him.
While the potential dream-within-a-dream ending clearly split people, and drove some audiences no doubt to such levels of frustration that they saw it as perhaps the singular but significant negative of the film, there is no doubt that as a piece of work Inception deserves considerable recognition.