Thursday, 8 September 2011


The recent film Inception uses the latest computerised film making wizardry to explore the concept of being able to enter the dreams of other people and the main character uses the process to obtain confidential information for financial and other purposes.

I may have misunderstood the process which concentrates on dreams rather than the mind which continues to operate while sleeping or unconscious and which could be argued was already brilliantly covered in the Robin Williams film What Dreams may come and Vanilla Sky. Both films cover the sub conscious as well as consciousness and the dream conditions. The main focus of the Inception film is the request of a client to implant an idea in the sub conscious of a victim to change behaviour contrary to what is known of the individual. Brainwashing and making people do what is akin to their normal personality, beliefs and outlooks is of course nothing new with the Manchurian Candidate and its recent remake coming immediately to mind,

Unfortunately this means that Inception is no more or less and the opportunity to explore the nature and levels of reality experienced in dreams through using the latest digital software

Leonardo Di Caprio plays the main character who is driven by the suicide of his wife who haunts his own dreams and the wife also plays a destructive role in the dreams of others that he enters by attacking any female who enters the dream with him. He is also haunted by not having contact with his children because of his work and wanted for the murder of his wife and the lawbreaking which his activity involves. It would have been different if he was putting the process to work for the government.

We learn that it is his father, played by Michael Caine who has taken responsibility for the care of the children and who also devised the dream entering process being used. The digital physical device is housed in a comparatively small case with leads attached to participants. The subject is sedated drugged in order for the participants to enter the subject’s level of consciousness.

In this process the participants only enter the dream with their minds and emotions, and they remain physically detached and able to return as planned beforehand or from a sudden happening such as an act of violence directed one of more of those participating. However they are warned that if they enter further state levels, they could become fixed into that situation if for example they were killed and therefore unable to be awoken despite their physical body being outside the mental state of the individual. In effect they would then exist in a coma.

A feature of the particular situation which becomes the focus of the film is the participation of several individuals in the one dream and which arose because of the unique nature of the assignment. Previously the process had been used only to gain information rather than change behaviour by implanting thoughts. (The Inception process). In this instance the assignment is to get the subject to take a course of action when the opportunity arose - the anticipated death of his father, to break up and sell the business empire, something he would not have otherwise considered.

In addition to Mr Di Caprio who is the main dream entrant he wanted someone else to control and create the “labyrinth of dream landscapes” of the dream, that is the physical framework and for this he accepts the recommendation of his father for an architectural student played by Ellen Page. It is when Di Caprio takes the girl on a preliminary dream ride that we experience the special effects which featured in the advertising clips. The third member of the group is an identity forger, that is the ability to create people in the dream that are wanted and who may not arise from the volition of the subject. The fourth subject is a chemist who creates the drug to enter and hold the three layered dream required, together with the person who and commissioned the event. The only other information required beforehand is that in order for participants to know the difference between dream and reality they each carry a small object which they have with them before they enter and which is immediately available when they return to confirm that they back.

They chose the jet plane carrying the body of the father and accompanied by the son, buying up all the other first class seats/seats together with the staff on the plane although the jet looks to be a private one and after spiking a drink and the greater part of the film action takes place. None of this had much interest to me apart from what happened to Ms Page who played the only character which attracted sympathy, I did not care if they achieved their objective or remained locked into the dream world except for the young woman.

The film has a much discussed ambiguous ending with those claiming that in fact the whole film is the dream Di Caprio has on the plane journey caused by his noting the other passengers in the first class compartment, and memories of his wife, his father and his children.

There is no communication between him and the others when he gets off the plane and he is greeted by his father and they go off to greet the children. Although we see him bring out the reality object a metal spinning top, we do not see him take hold of it to confirm this reality as he concentrates on the children. Michael Caine in an off screen comment states that the dream when he left the plane because he is only character who does not appear in the dream sequences, but this is negated if the whole event from start to finish is a dream while on the plane journey and the home sequence at the end.

The visuals are good but not better than others and the sound which won an award has to be turned up loud in order to hear what is being said using the TV monitor. The film also has Marion Collard as the suicide dead wife who attacks any woman coming close to her former husband and the late Pete Postlethwaite plays the victims father. Tom Berenger and Ken Wanabe are also actors who I recognised from previous performances. The film was well marketed and made a lot of money but only picked up technical Oscar which I felt was right.

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