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Inception 10th Anniversary

The most dreaded question you can ask any movie lover is what their favorite film is. Everyone has a list but if you actually only had to commit to one, what would it be? Do you go with nostalgia, a prestigious oscar film, or that guilty pleasure movie you can't help to love?


For me, my answer has always been Inception, and over the last 10 years, it's never changed.


Still to this day, and after millions of rewatches I still discover myself finding new appreciations towards the detail, performances, and technical achievements. There is no end to the analysis and interpretation which is why I love this film.


It's undeniable the impact Inception on the films following and still to this day. The thunderous, bass booming score trend is still around a decade later.

Multi-Genre Christopher Nolan's Inception is the perfect balance of a deep intellectual arthouse film with a blockbuster budget. It truly has something for everyone to enjoy.


It's extremely difficult to balance all genre elements into one complete film without going off the course of the themes and nature of the film. The entire film acts as a large heist film but set in a deeply psychological setting, being the dream space however there are so many other elements found throughout the film.

It's not an empty action thriller, there are so many emotional beats echoed throughout the film, Cobb trying to reunite with his kids. He's haunted by his wife, the horror element. The team's whole mission in the film is to patch the complex relationship between a son and his father, the family drama. The last act of the film is Nolan's version of a Bond action film. It's truly an all-encompassing love letter to cinema.


I love a good multi-genre film, that puts you on a journey. If I'm exhausted after watching a film, I know it resonated. Inception is bursting with hundreds of both large and small mysteries, waiting to be unpacked.


Audience Intelligence

What I appreciate the most out of Nolan's work and more specifically Inception is he never underestimates the intelligence of his audience. Where most people believe it's too prestigious, it's quite the opposite. Whereas most films, spoon-feeds audiences information, Nolan gives you a puzzle cube with all the clues and hints available for you to solve, with no wrong answer.


Don't get me wrong, Nolan is the king of exposition, however, it's smoothly integrated at specific moments. The first 50 minutes of Inception is just explaining how the world operates, to all be fulfilling satisfying by the time you reach the end of the film. It's mentioned in the film, that anything is possible with Inception and I wholeheartedly believe the film was designed to have endless answers.


Cast

Production-wise, all boxes are check but the extremely talented ensemble cast is the cherry on top. Leonardo Dicaprio is his absolute prime, Joesph Gordon Levitt running through spinning hallways, Ellen Page as the glue, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy being Tom Hardy, and Cillian Murphy carrying all the emotional weight of the film. A wicked group of talent.



Sometimes with large ensembles, studios just hire a large cast to fill the screen and attract more viewers, however with this cast, in particular, each character and performance is vital to the overall success of the film. No one is overshadowed, and all have their moment to deliver.


I wholeheartedly believe the film was designed to have about the energy each actor brings to their character and scene that as a viewer makes the experience feel even more real and exciting.


Cinematography

Sleek.

Inception was one of the pioneer films of the 20th century to make action films look truly sleek. Shapes and lines frame the already elegant imagery and the effective use of steady and handle-held shots brings audiences into the action.


Nolan films have a very realistic approach in relation to the camera, he relies on visuals to relay his complex stories to audiences.


In Inception, colour theory plays a huge role in distinguishing, character, and dream-level. Cinematography Wally Pfister uses natural shades and tones, brought out through the production design to ground the shots to have a realistic nature. Shooting on film aided this as well with the layer that 35mm film format brings to the screen.


Again, Nolan's films aren't meant to be unsolvable overcomplicated to a point where you cant find some understanding. The clues are all visibly on the screen and meant for viewers to be an active participant watching the media.


Production Design

The cinematography would not be complete without the effective production design, especially when Inception relies so heavily on visual cues to assist in storytelling.


The concept of mazes is completely embodied in almost every frame of inception. There's an obsession with staircases, long corridors, and hallways which are all tools in explaining the concept of dream building.


The film is an architecture cratur lovers dream, echoed even further with Ellen Paige's character who's hired to build the dreamscape as a complex labyrinth.


Inception uses contrasting and opposition colour that is pleasing to the eye, the production design and lighting use two colours across from one another on the colour wheel to add a familiar contrast. Simplicity and colour all add to the visually appealing element of inception so that audiences can concentrate on piecing together all the visuals to focus on the story.


Orginialty & Screenplay


Inception is an original concept that has been crafted over the course of 10 whole years.


The film proved that audiences crave original films. This also enforced Nolan's reputation of being a true auteur filmmaker, as inception was dropped right in the middle of the Dark Knight Trilogy. Everything doesn't have to be a sequel, and especially in 2020 were starting to see sequel fatigue. Audiences are craving original content, and no one delivers like Nolan.


On-page, the screenplay reads just as the final outcome of the film. It's extremely detailed and written for an audience as the revelations are uncovered at the most precise moments. The film is flooded with the most exquisite quotes and lines of dialogue that can be taken out of complete context and applied to the viewer, isn't that what inception is at it's core?

There's a lot of profoundly conceptual ideas scattered throughout the entire screenplay, with many poetic monologues planting concepts in our mind just as the film does to Fischer. There are riddles and metaphors, all intellectual ideals that can be taken away after the film is completed.


There are literally millions of theories and conspiracies to the analysis of the film which for me is my most favorite aspect of this movie. Is inception a reflection of moviemaking? Cobb as the director, Ariadne the production designer, Fisher the audience. yes. Are they all stuck in the first layer of the dreamscape at the end of the film or did they somehow manage to wait out the projections. There are millions. Will we ever get a definitive answer to any of the theories...no and I don't want to know. The mystery and rabbit hole of thoughts Inception places you in is what makes it so enjoyable to watch 10 years later.


Ending

No doubt, Inception has one of the greatest, most debatable endings of all time. Is it a dream or reality? I myself have changed my mind on multiple occasions with different theories which I've only more recently realized, it doesn't matter.

At the time, the audacity to leave off such a complex puzzle of a film with an open ending was unprecedented.


When that final 5-minute ending sequence begins, from the opening of Cobb's eyes and the infamous Hans Zimmer track of 'Time' slowly grows into goose pimples, hair rising, crescendo I am with that character, wanting that happy ending despite the entire struggle of the film. And when that final shot slowly moves into that spinning top, I still can't help but lean closer to my screen just hoping to catch an extra second before it cuts to black. That's magic.


Social Impact

To deny the social impact this film has on films, social media, and the internet is an understatement. The film not only won four AcademyAwards (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects) but was also nominated for four more: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score, against The Social Network, and The Kings Speech.


There's a cultural consciousness with this film, if you've seen it or not, you can identify its imagery and know what the film is about.

During the peak of social media evolution, Inception memes were absolutely everywhere. Not just your favourite image of Leonardo DiCaprio squinting at Cillian Murphy or walking cheerfully down the street. The most infamous Tumblr quote from at the time 'newcomer' Tom Hardy telling us we mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger. Which I can't deny being my yearbook quote from elementary school to high school.


The most impactful revelation was the infamous trailer bass drop BRAAWWMMM! Every action film, post that trailer incorporated some sort of loud crashing drop, and still in 2020 the fad as not disappeared.

 

A decade later and hundreds of viewings later, Inception still remains to be one of my favourite films of all time. It's undeniable the impact it still holds to this day.


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