Rewatched May 06, 2012
Dominic Cobb is an industrial spy who instead of breaking into a person's home, office, or even computer, gets the information he needs by getting into the person's mind through their dreams. He is a thief for hire but Japanese businessman Mr. Saito has a somewhat different proposition for him. He wants Cobb to enter the mind of Robert Fischer Jr., who is about to inherit his father's massive business empire, to plant a simple notion: to break-up his father's conglomerate and sell it off. In return, Saito will make it possible for Cobb to freely return to the US where he is currently wanted by the police. Cobb accepts and assembles his team with a plan to plant the idea deep in Fisher's mind by generating a series of dreams within dreams so that he eventually thinks he came up with the idea himself.
The first time I watched this film, I watched it from the shallow end of the pool. Looking at the technical aspects of what Nolan and co. were doing.
I hated it. It was lazy. There weren't characters, the story progressed forward at random intervals, characters were in spots they shouldn't be. Flat out: it was lazy.
I gave it a second chance. Nolan deserved it, after every other film I'd seen of his being a class above the rest in most regards. Boy, am I glad I did. Every mistake, every misshaped nuance, every story telling snafu - were purposeful master strokes. Without climbing to far into spoilers range - this film takes a deeper knowledge of film making, story telling, and of people to fully see the brilliance of the film.
So, like the idea of the movie, where layer up on layer are overlapping each other. That's what this movie is in a nut shell. There is the obvious layer of an action film with good acting and incredible visuals. There is the ambiguous layer, where everything is disingenuous to the truth that maybe it is the truth after all. There is the allegory level, where the entire film works for an allegory for a great number of things you can lay over top of it. Then there's the layer that I ultimately think it is. Everyone asks that one question: Was he in a dream? Everything in the movie from the set design, the story, the camera shots, and the characters all point to one answer, that becomes so obvious it's practically hitting you in the face.
So, to make a movie that's so ambiguous and yet so definitive - that is the ultimate in depth.
If you haven't seen this yet, watch it. Then watch it again...