A pink taxi

A pink taxi

August 4, 2010

Inception: Sharing the Dream

I tend to get pushed into viewing movies like Inception. I don't want to be a bad sport, so I go along. I knew it would be better than the chick flicks I often get invited to.

Why do so many movies have a circular narratives with the end at the incipit? It is always a vague beginning, a beginning made blurry with a confusion of languages in this case, few details, and an almost incoherent narrative. Christopher Nolan, the director was probably attempting (and he did this well), to convey the chaos of a dream, the blurry lines between reality and imagination.

It is extraordinary how the public is literally a "captive audience": the director can make the whole public forget the beginning during the turmoil of the middle and then, at the conclusion,we all murmur "oh yes, it started off this way!"

Special effects set aside, the theme of dreams was developed in a  detailed way. All the expected elements such as elevators, trains, loss of gravity, labyrinths, snow, rain, falling from bridges, collapsing buildings, empty streets were brought up. They only left out  the crocodiles!

In my case, I have a recurring dream that I am swimming in the Dubai creek with the dhows passing me by. An example of a personalized dream, with memories involved, which the main protagonist tries to avoid when he snatches other people's dreams by building others for them.

The actors were always asleep, in order to dream, the main subject matter of the film,  and that promoted sleep in the theater. One of my cinema companions (remember I was dragged to this movie, I would never have gone on my own) even fell asleep during "the third layer of dream", the one that was filmed in hazy snow with James Bondesque ski stunts. She woke up for the fourth layer of the dream, when the protagonists find themselves on "the shores of their subconscious". I also got restless watching Di Caprio with his blue eyes concealed by his sleep-acting.

In my opinion, and I am sure this is debatable, the main theme was "sharing the dream". The team of players, working together on a heist to plant an idea into an individual's mind by invading their dream, would collectively take a sleeping aid (also given to the victim) that took them all into the chaotic realms of a united dream. These dreams have layers, and each layer sends them further into the victim's subconscious.  The theme of sharing the dream smacked of political rhetoric.

However, I knew deep down that the shared dream was that of all the spectators in the theater here and elsewhere, some with popcorn or other snacks, others with NO snacks (in artsy theaters where spectators hush each other, they are considered to be noisy), all renting a seat, willing to spend 2 to 3 hours in a dark room, eyes and ears glued to a large screen. These movie buffs are dreamers and they are the ones who "share the same dream" till the lights turn on, and they look at one another startled, yawning, occasionally disappointed, sometimes drying a tear, other times exiting with a contentment that comes from intellectual stimulation or utter entertainment.

All in all, I enjoyed Inception. You leave the movie feeling confused, startled, a little relieved and also pensive, just as you would when you  wake up from a very memorable and active dream. There are many open ended twists and your mind is intellectually stimulated. But some of the acting was average, some aspects too predictable, yet it is a movie that can keep you thinking. I do recommend watching it, but if you have a tendency to nod off, like my movie companion last night, chose the earlier showing. It's a long movie, and you don't want to end up dreaming along with the characters in the film.....You never know who could be planting the seed of an idea in your dream (the act of inception).


  1. Inception is the kind of movie that Mohammed and I would have definitely dragged you to. I am glad that somebody else did. What I liked about the movie is how much it demanded your full attention at all moments. You could not understand 1 scene without relating it to another. Not many movies today can do that. I look forward to dragging you to the next chic flick or blockbuster movie when you're back.

  2. It took me some to comment on this movies.I just watched in the open movies under the infamous prison overlooking the Mediterranean.The weather was cold for this time of the year,so people in their summer attire were using the chair pillows to warm themselves!
    Inception,perception or preimption are the type of movies I dread to watch.The 2 hour plus show tested my restless patience despite the sick thoughts and out of body experience portrayed in the movie.I am started to doubt the transformation of De Caprio from the romantic Titanic to the dreary Shutter Island and the mind sick Inception.
    The blogger certainly made a great effort of an experienced movie critic to unveil some of the quirks in Inception.May be it is the result of reading too much Le Monde and seeing an amalgam of Artie movies at the cinema in Eaux Vives!